Airports are never fun, it wouldn’t surprise you if you saw one of the destinations on the departure screens listed as Hell, boarding at gate 26.
But you appreciate all an airport has to offer when you rock up at one that doesn’t cater for travellers, Taba in Egypt is one such airport, just a strip in the desert from what appears to be a military area. It consists of one room and you are herded through it in a similar vein to POW’s in many a war movie as they bark orders at you, and snap their fingers in your face to hurry you along. I don’t know about you but there is no better way to start a holiday than imagine you are going to Guantanamo.
Whilst in line for what I expected was for my head to be shaved and be deloused before being given my prison clothes, I was stuck behind some painted ladies, painted in the sense that their make-up had been applied with a shotgun. They were already bright orange, either they had just flown from one holiday to this one or they sleep coffin like under a sunbed at night. You could smell the botulism coming from them as their tightly stretched faces were immobile as they spoke through pursed lips.
They originated from the county of Essex, much fabled in the UK, home to many alien species you don’t find in other parts of the country. I delighted in listening to them brag of knowing people from the hideous TV show, The Only Way is Essex. One foolishly claimed “They show Essex people as stupid, but we ain’t stupid” a feeble attempt to convince anyone who would listen. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard they were not staying at the same resort as me.
Most people from my flight were not on my resort as I saw them trudge onto a coach laden with way too much luggage for a week. I spotted my name on my private minibus transfer and we sped off down dusty trails for all of 5 minutes before we came to a perimeter fence. Armed guards kept us waiting in the van for 30 minutes as they smoked and laughed between them. This was the point when you read about tourists being kidnapped, and I dreaded how I would look in the YouTube hostage video after that exhausting flight.
Eventually we arrived at the hotel, a purpose-built complex of 5 hotels, I stayed at the Intercontinental. Eventually I found my room in this huge complex after being given no direction from the reception staff. I noted where the bar was where I would proceed to unburden myself after unburdening myself of my bags.
The next day I checked out the buffet dining room where we would be forced to eat every meal at scheduled times. It was airy, and by airy it was so airy that it allowed little birds to flit across the dining room throughout your meal, it was a process of elimination to find a seat that hadn’t got bird poop on the back of it. During dinner I glanced at the dessert counter and saw one little chirpy fellow hopping over the cake selection. I was relieved I don’t care much for dessert.
The rest of the day was spent by the pool until the over enthusiastic animation team tried leading everyone in some water aerobics. I ventured back to my room to observe proceedings from the safety of my terrace.
After a couple of days of the same routine I was tragically struck down along with my partner of the most violent vomiting and diarrhea. It lasted 3 days.
Forced to spend this time in our room, we watched many 80’s movies that were on the TV, the adverts were more entertaining though. After decades of our washing powder ads bragging to get your whites, whiter than white. It was with complete contrast that the ads here were boasting they can get your burka’s blacker than black. They showed by a graph how your burka fades over time, eventually taking on a washed out grey look, which in fairness is likely to result in you being stoned. So it was with great relief that this new improved product was launched to prevent your untimely death from the embarrassment of a faded burka.
Most holidays I dread returning home, but we craved our house and seeing my cat again. We boarded the plane and endured another bout with THE MOTHER amongst other familiar faces. We landed in the early hours at Gatwick Airport expecting to see my name emblazoned across the sign of a pre-booked taxi driver, which was of course in vain as he hadn’t turned up.
So you see survival was apt for this holiday, at least I learnt never to select a resort again, I should have known really. The best part of travelling is experiencing different cultures and food, so the idea of being transported to a secure resort surrounding yourself with the same people and food everyday is in complete contrast to that. You simply can’t go for a stroll outside the resort, I prefer staying in a villa, with my own pool and venturing out to explore, or renting an apartment in a foreign city so I get the slightest feel of what it is like to live there.
Sorry Egypt, but you sucked.