So, here it is. What will be, most probably, the last blog entry before we fly home. I very much doubt that I’ll write anything tomorrow, even if I had the time to do so [I have A Game of Thrones to read that I am determined to finish before my holiday is up – at on the plus side of 75 per cent that isn’t doing too badly as it’s over 800 Kindle pages long – it is really good].
It’s sad that we are going to be leaving, but at the same time I think it would be far too much to stay out here any longer than the two weeks that we have had. I have managed to procure a slight tan, perhaps a shade or two darker according the to the Dulux colour chart, which is more impressive than my normal shade of white anyhow. I think I mentioned before that there are people here that simply sit at the same place by the pool each and every day and don’t do anything but work on their skin colour. I have factor 50’d my way through the whole holiday, and feel much better for it. Plus, I don’t think the tanned look would really suit me anyways.
So, things to mention in this blog. We have actually had a really busy few days.
There are three main shopping districts in Sharm el Sheikh, the Old Market, a more traditional shopping area, Soho Square, hassle free and more pleasant, and Neama Bay which is where the main night life of Sharm is situated with clubs, bars and all sorts going on. I have already told you about the experiences of the Old Market in a previous blog entry. It was a place I didn’t like so much because of all the hassling that you get walking around [it was also here that we discovered the small camera had a broken screen].
In my previous entry I mentioned Soho Square and the Ice Bar. Soho Square was a really pleasant place for me as there was quite literally no hassling. Because it is owned by one of the Al Fyed’s [the one that owned Harrods’s in London], and because it is part of the Savoy group, it was not only pleasant because of the lack of hassle, it was also beautiful. And probably the most Westernised part of Egypt that I’ve seen. There was a bowling alley, ice rink, a cinema, lots of restaurants, a live singer/band and a funky water fountain. And, of course, the Ice Bar – the only one in Africa. [Except, technically, we are in Asia…].
Before we went to the Ice Bar we went to a restaurant called Mai Thai – which I am sure you can figure out by the name, was a Thai restaurant. It was a really good experience for the both of us as we haven’t actually eaten outside of the hotel restaurants until this point. I think we’d forgotten what really good food tasted like. Plus, at the tail end of the holiday we realised that we had a bit more money left than we anticipated so we thought we would treat ourselves. The food here was really good. Before this point I’d never tried Thai food, and this was lovely. I had a hot Thai Green Curry, with rice, and Alex got his hands on the beef versions of every dish he had. I think he’s missing the beef more than he thought he would. Originally he wanted to eat at a steak house here, but I veto’d the idea when I saw the price of the dished – something like £L460 for one dish, where at the Mai Thai it was £L550 for the pair of us for the whole meal. Not a chance in hell was I going to pay that amount.
So, after the dinner we moved on to the Ice Bar. Alex was really looking forwards to this more than I was as you know he was struggling with the heat more than me. Before you enter you have to put on these really long, thick, slightly smelly, coats. Alex didn’t want one, but he was told he had to have one, and that he could take it off inside the Bar. The entry fee covered one free drink too, so I thought I would try a Vanilla vodka and coke. Didn’t like it, so gave it over to Alex who did. Me and alcohol don’t get along taste wise, which is strange. All the waiters and servers out here struggle to believe that I don’t like alcohol. [I suppose, being that sometimes this feels like a prime setting for Benidorm they are used to people drinking from when the bars open at 10:00 to late at night].
The Ice Bar itself was small. For some reason I thought it would be much bigger than it was. I guess the best way to explain it is that felt like a very large freezer, which I guess that was just what it was. All the surfaces, and the seat blocks were made of ice, except the cushions they provide as covers to the ice. There are ice sculptures all around in the forms of various animals and sea waves, the word “Soho” on the wall in ice [there is no mistaking the amount of stuff in here, it was all just very cramped]. I’m sure we were supposed to have a glass made of ice as well, but it wasn’t, not that it put a dampener on it or anything. Alex didn’t wear his coat the whole time we were in there, which all the other people that came in afterwards were a bit amazed at the fact that he really didn’t need a coat.
After leaving the Bar we had a wonder around for a bit before heading back to the taxi. There wasn’t as much at Soho Square as I thought there would be, but it was a pleasant enough place, and the two and a half hours that we had booked the taxi for was more than enough time without rushing to see everything that it had to offer.
The next day, Tuesday, was our last excursion out of the hotel. Again this was through Thompson, and we both sort of felt that this day was a bit of a letdown. Advertised as the “Mega day” out at a water park, you would think that it would be quite a big place to visit, but it really wasn’t. There were about 8 water slides [and to be fair I didn’t go on two of them], a kids area [which was the coolest part of the park to be in], and a pool with a wave machine. I would have thought that there would have been at least a normal pool to lounge in, and maybe some rides like a log flume ride or something like that. Something to make it slightly more interesting. This was more of a family place rather than adults I guess. Although there was still the fair share of women and men lounging around getting their sun tan by each of the pools.
On the first ride that we went on, and bearing in mind that this is a water park, the water stopped working. Yes, you read that right. We had to wait about 10 minutes before it was working again. Luckily we weren’t the couple that were stuck in the actual slide when the water cut out. There were a couple of slides we went on twice, but seriously this was a disappointing day, and we are both agreed that we were glad that this wasn’t our first excursion with Thompson, or at all really, as it was truly the one that we both didn’t enjoy as much as we hoped too.
After we finished at the water park, we returned to the hotel, and literally walked back out again after getting changed and having a quick drink. We decided to ensure that we went to all the shopping areas as it would have sucked to have missed out on one just because we were tired, so to Neama Bay we went – which it turned out was pretty close to Old Market anyways.
This place was a mixture of both Soho Square and Old Market. You got hassled, but not as much as when we were at Old Market as it was much busier here, it was bigger than both Soho and Old Market, with certainly more life. There were loads of night clubs, bars and restaurants here, and a lot of taxi drivers trying to hustle their trade – no matter how many times that you have pre-booked and paid for taxi waiting for you – or how many times you walk past them.
Here at Neama Bay I had my first ever taste of the Hard Rock Cafe. And, to Alex’s delight, they had a fat juicy steak waiting for his taste buds. Yeah, I had the steak too. The whole “I was going to be a vegetarian for two weeks” thing hasn’t worked, but then, the quality of food has been pretty high, even in the main restaurant here at the hotel. Plus, the choices for veggies have been pretty low.
We brought a whole bunch of toys at the Hard Rock Cafe as well, probably the most we have spent in a single session on anything here. But they are cute, and more souvenir-y than a lot of the tacky stuff that is everywhere. And it’s unique to this Hard Rock Cafe too. We also bought the glasses that our drinks were served in as they say Sharm el Sheikh on them. Cool, right? But I can’t decide if putting mine in the suitcase will be alright or not.
So here we are, the last day, the last night… maybe I’ll blog about the rest of it all when I get home on Friday at some point…
Well, the last of the holiday blogs is done, so take care and peace out folks… and enjoy the sunshine!