Cairo to the Red Sea

I wasn’t sure what I expected on the journey down but what I saw was roads, construction, industrial areas interspersed with long periods of nothing. Well not literally nothing but you know what I mean. For a small section of the road there were areas between the two carriageways (central reservation) that had staircases to nowhere, large pots decorated with patterned mosaics, antelopes and at the entrance to the toll road a huge lion welcomed us along with a man in a suit who was very effusive in his greeting to our driver and ML. Maybe a politician or local official, whoever he was he made us feel very welcome.

I would have liked to have been able to get photographs but we were either travelling too fast or ML had told me that I must be careful what and who I photographed so I erred on the side of caution.

We eventually pulled off the main road through a security check point and where a mirror was used underneath the car and the back of the Frontera opened up so they could check inside. Last time I think I had lived anywhere where this happened was in Jordan when we were on the banks of the Dead Sea in the late 1970s. The buildings that I could see looked very run down with bits of plaster fallen off and a definite need for a paint job

But the further in to the site we went the better the condition of the buildings and there was evidence of gardeners having been at work. There was also a proliferation of golf buggies parked up on various driveways. When I checked the area on Google Maps it turned out that the houses lined the boundary of an eighteen-hole golf course. They are probably second homes and holiday lets so that might account for their less than pristine appearance.

More security and finally the hotel was in front of us, luggage and us went through yet another security scanner and into the mainly glass lobby of the hotel. Two large vases of pink flowers were the first thing I saw and at the far end of the lobby another huge display echoed the pink mixed with dark purple and white flowers and delicate sprays of purple edged orchids.

The overriding impression is of light, the walls which are mainly glass stretch up three floors and the floor is very shiny cream marble or ceramic tiles, I’m not sure which. The space is broken at the halfway point by open balustraded walkways on each of the floors. The front half is open with just a couple of groupings of squishy sofas and chairs.

This is the business end of the lobby including the reception desk, the porters station and luggage area. Porters criss-cross the floor with the shiny brass domed baggage carriers in their smart uniforms of beige knife-edge creased trousers, long navy jackets with a mandarin collar, shiny brass buttons down the front and three stripes on the ends of the sleeves in dull gold and more brass buttons to finish the embellishment.

At the other end of the lobby, there are six large groupings of chairs and sofas in textured green material which is soft to the touch and patterned cushions and pouffes or footstools not sure what you call them. The colours range from the green of the sofas, deep red and terracotta.

Copy of my passport and sight of my marriage certificate and we can head up to our room, ML has been using it for the last ten days but it will not be our final room. When ML has his day off we are going to have a look with the Housekeeping Manager to find a room that we would like. Unluckily for us the area that ML wants to be in with balconies with sight of the sunrise haven’t been refurbished yet.

I was introduced to the hotel manager who is a silver-haired Italian and has in the short time I have been here a penchant for blue shirts and his iPhone, he seems very fond of both. The only thing with changing rooms in the not too distant future is it seems pointless to empty my suitcase so I am living out of it which doesn’t help with the settling in process but it is hopefully a short-term annoyance.

The room is like all hotel rooms, a bed big enough to sleep a family of four, opposite a mirror above a unit consisting of 3 drawers, a dressing table section with chair and a cupboard containing a small fridge. In the space closest to the patio doors is a small marble topped table and two further chairs. To the other side of the unit is a large padded stool on which my case has been placed. Either side of the bed are two wide bedside cabinets. There is a small double wardrobe of which half is shelved leaving very little hanging space, and the few hangers that it contains are too wide for the available space.

There is a small round table and two wooden chairs with padded seats. At first I thought the wood of the furniture was peeling and flaking. It turns out that the wood has had a lime treatment on it. Can’t say it would be my first choice of effect, personally I think it is more shabby than chic. The floors are tiled and every time a piece of furniture is moved there is a long scrapping sound, I try to remember to pick them up but more often than not I forget. All I can say is I am glad that there is nobody above us. When the cleaners are working from room to room you can hear a constant chorus of differing scraping sounds as they pull beds out to make them and then push furniture back as it should be.

The bathroom contains a bath with a fitted shower screen that when closed sets my claustrophobia off big time so will have to see if I can get away with closing only one of the doors without flooding the floor. A large sink set into marble with a mirror above. To the left-hand side is a hotel hair dryer and an extendable magnifying mirror which is so loose that unless I wish to sit on the floor to use isn’t going to be of much use at the moment. The list of things that need sorting is growing and I guess most people only stay in these rooms for a short period of time so things get missed maintenance wise.

The patio doors open to a balcony that overlooks the garden and if I peer through the palm fronds I can just see the tops of the white umbrellas that line the beach and the sea. I was to find out a couple of days later that we were in a perfect place to observe the changing colours of the sunrise.

So, this was going to be my new home for the next however many months.


If you have enjoyed this blog you may want to read the blogs I kept when I lived in Vietnam and Costa Rica.

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