Archive for August, 2013

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Iberotel Mercato, probably one of the biggest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. It sits in “El Mercato” the Old Market of Sharm El Sheik. My new husband (:D) and I are both exploiting the “free wifi” in the lobby whilst the majority of the rest of the occupants of the chairs and tables are getting stuck into the free cocktails and local spirits that come with our “all inclusive” wristbands (which we were tagged with the minute we arrived).

When you step outside the marbled lobby into the fresh air the desert heat hits you like the exhaust from a bus – although it smells better – even at night, the heat is relentless, draping a heavy blanket over your shoulders as you promenade down the main drag. Past neon lit stores selling perfume, parchment, fridge magnets, snorkel gear, herbs, watches.. you name it. Prices cheaper than Asda. Looking is free.

A tall white camel named Charlie slowly swaggers up the main street. Blue and white taxis weave by, beeping and beckoning. Puppies run up and tangle in our ankles, the owners follow, bar staff, “come in for a drink, you can keep the puppy”. We head back to the cool lobby, a free refreshing lemonade beckons, and the wifi.

Every night there are two types of entertainment – one on the roof bar – this one more lively, the younger crowd hang out here. Karaoke and dancing intermingle with the call to prayer.

The downstairs lobby is more old-school. Every night a crooner, singing power ballads, the classics and some Aerosmith.

This is a new experience for us – a double culture shock – one (the smaller) of Egypt. The heat, the hassle, the time it takes to do anything. But all of these things I’ve seen before and i easily grow accustomed. The second that of the package holiday. A large, All Inclusive hotel, full of Brits, and I haven’t heard a Southern accent yet. Despite all the warnings on the FCO site, the Brits are still coming to Egypt. Russians, Scandanavians, French, Germans, all pulled their tours out due to the recent troubles. But we kept coming, and I’m glad. The tourist trade is taking a battering. They’re delighted we’re still coming.

It’s like living in a strange community. There’s the morning land grab with towels on the sunbeds – to get the best spot around the adult pool (with a parasol) – we’re always late to that party. There are the three times daily huge buffets with all manner of meats, salads, tapas, luminous desserts…

And then, every night everyone gets dolled up in their finest highest heels and smallest dresses (or tightest shirts) to hit the lobby or the roof bar and start consuming the “local cocktails” and toking on a water pipe. It’s fascinating.

After a couple of days of not really knowing how things worked and generally adjusting to this unusual double-culture shock we’re starting to fit in. There is a real charm to this type of holiday, you start to recognise people and nod and smile, and there is definitely something interesting about being the only nation who are in the resort at the moment. Today we went on a snorkelling and diving trip on a boat full of Egyptian tourists – we were the only English people on the boat! It felt like we were travellers again!

OK, I’m being beckoned to move away from the tablet. It’s not cool to be typing when I could be drinking and enjoying the version of “Land Down Under” that’s currently being crooned over the microphone…


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I’ve been gone (abssent from blogging) for a month. A final month (as it’s been more like a year) of planning, spreadsheets, diagrams, calls, texts, emails, meetings with suppliers, sketches of cakes, visions of decor, coordination of activities, choreographing of the dance.

And now I’m ready.

Today was exhausting. I ran through speeches, had nails painted, filled helium balloons, constructed table plans, shredded rose petals, stuffed bags with silver almonds, stacked glasses… and then my brilliant mates in an old school orange camper van swept me up and took my vision and all it’s props over to Jimmy’s farm to leave it there, with express instructions.

As we drove away I felt an exhaustion creep over me. A comforting exhaustion, almost a relief, there is now nothing more I can do. Tomorrow will unfold as it is meant to. I will no longer obsessively check the weather, I will no longer tweak the table decorations, I will no longer worry.

I came home. I ate, I bathed, I sharpened eyeliners. I tried on my shoes, and I put my tissues in my tiny handbag.

And now I’m going to crawl into bed. Never has the lure of the duvet been so strong. I know my future husband is lying in his delicious duvet in our hotel room just 9 miles from me tonight. I hope his speech isn’t whirling in his head. I hope he sleeps well as I hope will I, for tomorrow will be over in a blink of an eye, but it promises to be the best of our lives…


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