So, Egypt... I've gotten quite a few questions on how our holiday was and most of the time I start talking about the heat first, followed by our frequent trips to the toilet, a visit in a local hospital and a snorkeling trip we made. Was that all that was to it? No, probably not.
Those are the most memorable things that spring to mind first though. Our trip by plane was rather uneventful and smooth, but after we arrived we got stuck in a bus for a good thirty minutes because we were waiting for a police escort. Around 23h30 - or was it even later, I don't recall - we finally arrived in the hotel and had something to eat. The first impression of the hotel was good, and the food was quite OK too. Service was good and friendly but I'll get back to that later. The room turned out to be spacious, pretty nice but not exactly what we expected.
While we decided to book a family room with two separated chambers - after all, one would like some privacy too - it turns out that "separated" is a nifty concept in the eyes of a hotel owner or travel agency. As I talked to our Neckerman representative - the all knowing "Emiel" - it turned that according to them separated can be "on another level, but without any physical divider", "behind a door", "behind a curtain", and more of that kind of bullshit.
There was little point arguing with them over it and as he said he would make some calculations whether or not we could be moved to two rooms, and how much it would cost us, we decided to let him do so, knowing we would end up accepting this room anyway. That night was also the first time we had an argument between the two of us and it was not even all about the room, lol. Apparently, traveling for hours on end, being stressed and tired made us both recall things of the past which are then projected on the current partner who doesn't even know about them, or has nothing to do with said past. After a long and open talk we knew what was and what wasn't an issue and fell asleep, both aware of ourselves and better aware about the feelings and emotions of the other.
Saturday morning, hotel and travel agency info meeting where we were once again told that the running water was OK for showering, brushing teeth etc, but not for drinking. Got ya! Bottled water it was. The rest of the meeting was rather uninteresting, though we learned that of the two trips we would have considered making, one would cost us several hundred Euro extra to book for all four of us and a second one wasn't being organized due to issues in the Sinai desert which could lead to being kidnapped or held. Probably quite the experience, but we decided not to push our luck :)
Spent quite some time at the swimming pool(s) - which was very nice indeed - in the mornings, but once the clock hit around twelve, the temperature had reached around 44 degrees Celsius as well (in the shadows) so we usually went back in for food and then spent the next 3-4 hours in our air conditioned room, waiting for the sun to start setting around 4-5PM. Even with the sun setting, it remained a good 30 to 35 degrees, so it was plenty hot to stay in or around the pool till very late in the evening.
One day, while my girl was floating in the pool, suddenly she experienced quite some pain in her neck and within minutes was crying out in agony. It turns out she couldn't move her head anymore in two directions, so after trying to get it solved ourselves with some rest and aspirin unsuccessfully, I headed over to the reception and requested a doctor to be called in. Luckily for us, a fully equipped medical center was within 3 minutes of our hotel, so not before to long a doctor and male nurse showed up at our room and checked out her neck. They decided x-rays were in order to rule out any serious injury - which probably was more about getting more money from us then anything else, but really you're not gonna go argue with a foreign doctor while on holiday over a neck injury, and off to the medical center we went. A good hour later we were back in our room, with x-rays taken - nothing to be seen - and a muscle relaxant injected. She was already feeling better so there still was hope. Went to the pharmacy later that afternoon to pick up medicine and the pain diminished slightly every day.
Many hours were spent inside sleeping and resting so I read quite a couple of books while dividing my attention between the kids and making sure my girl was doing fine. Luckily, with kids aged 10 and 13 and them being pretty mature and smart, they do well on their own so apart from having to tell them several times a day to apply sunscreen and wearing a t-shirt in the pool, they did excellent. Thanks girls :)
Then while the neck/head was getting better, the ass was not, lol. The combination of using the water to brush the teeth - remember what Emiel said? - and the medicine which could have an effect on the digestive system, lead to my girl spending time in bed interrupted by a visit to the loo every 30 minutes or so. A problem that was only really fixed well after we got back from holiday and after visiting her doctor here. I was spared slightly and only had to run to the loo every two hours or so :)
As Thursday - one more day to go - rolled around, we had booked a snorkeling trip and luckily everyone was feeling a bit better so we went out and spent the day on a boat looking at fish. We even got to see a blowfish all blown up and floating just under the surface, pretty impressive!
Friday was spent packing and getting ready to back home and truth be said, we all were relieved we were heading back. The trip home was quite a bit longer - bus picked us up at 17h15, we put the key in the lock of the door at home just past 4AM - but hey... we've been in Egypt :)
Next year will probably be Iceland or so though :p
Oh, I almost forgot about the service in the hotel, how could I? All the waiters are trained to be friendly, which makes sense. However, greeting a guest 7-10 times over the course of a meal, is a bit much. Likewise for asking how the food is, saying "have a nice meal", "bon appetit", or "nice to meet you sir". We're not used to it, leave us alone. Ask once, then get the fuck out of there. It's good that we were leaving after a week, or I would have started returning the courtesy to them, greeting them every couple of minutes, asking them how their day was.