Now I really am the worlds worst packer. I leave everything to the last minute, can never find what I need and generally just chuck it all in without even thinking if any outfits will actually match. This holiday was no different…
I seem to have lost the backpack I took all round the world with us, lost luggage scales, my small bag, countless clothes and god only knows what else. After damaging my neck/shoulder, packing had to wait until the night before. In the end I gave up, figured I’d just go with whatever I had packed, poured a glass of wine (or two) and went to bed. We had an early start Thursday. The alarm went off at 4am with the intention of leaving at 415am. Clearly that didn’t happen as we had to weigh our cases at that ungodly hour. Then take stuff out as somehow we were over the 15kg allowance 🤦🏼♀️! The journey to Gatwick only took about an hour and a half as there was zero traffic except lorry after lorry.
Nathan dropped us off and we went join to join the huge Thomas Cook queue, which went surprisingly fast! I still don’t understand the point of checking in online because it doesn’t seem to get you anything? No separate bag drop section. Nothing. Seats were clearly already allocated so if someone knows the reason why then please enlighten me! 🤷🏽♀️
Anyways. We got through quickly, bags dumped, through hand luggage check and then onto my favourite part. Breakfast. We stopped at the weather spoons for porridge (not me) and a sausage and bacon roll. I was meant to order peppermint tea for Mum but forgot and got coffee instead. Whoops. A quick flit round the shops and it was onto gate 35 to board. The whole time really didn’t seem that long from drop off to boarding.
As we got onto the plane there was a woman in a wedding dress with someone I assume to be her husband, the dress dragging on the floor. The usual people trying to board when it’s not their rows, thinking the plane would take off without them and eventually we were walking on. After flying home from Australia last year the plane felt so small with only one aisle!
We found our seats in row 22 and were lucky enough to have a spare seat yaaaay!! I mean surely that’s the dream? Not a full row so you can spread out! However, no food provided apparently you had to book this as an extra, so we had to survive on minstrels and m&ms before the food cart came round. I think every airline I have flown of recently has the ‘buy two wines for £8.50’ instead of £4.50 each saving you £0.50! So I had wine, crisps and Stephen Hawking to keep me company for the 5.5 hour flight. First flight I have been on for a while that didn’t have inflight entertainment personal TVs. Still, we had episodes of ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Victorious,’ ‘Friends’ which took up about an hour and a half of the five and a half hour flight. The annoying thing was I literally deleted the things I downloaded from Netflix in the departure lounge. Grrrr. Still, I managed to get a nap in and then just looked out the window as we approached Egypt.We flew over the French Alps which is always a favourite view of mine, mountains from the air. I was reading Stephen Hawking’s infamous ‘A brief history of time,’ and he thankfully dumbs down most of his theories and it is a fascinating read! Second to that I found a page about wine in the ‘Thomas Cook Travel’ magazine.Interesting read – apparently the more alcohol you consume, the more you’re protected from sun burn! By that theory I should NEVER burn!! Shame it doesn’t seem to work sadly. I mean my body is primarily 95% red wine, 3% gin, 2% blood so you’d think I’d just have a killer tan! Sadly not!
Anyhoo, we landed, smoothly, exited the plane and got a bus to the terminal. Always the worst part, packed like sardines into a hot bus where there’s zero personal space. Still, it only took a couple of minutes and as I looked back at the runway I realised we were the only plane. Like. No other plane anywhere to be seen! Crazy!
Visas stuck in passport, through passport control, luggage collected and shepherded onto a coach to take us to our hotel, the Hilton Nubian Resort in Marsa Alam. I remembered as we flew into the airport that there was nothing below us. Like a hotel every few miles and one road. This was noticed more as we left the airport and headed to the hotel. A guy boarded the bus and asked if we had to pay/had paid for our visa. They preferred GBP, numnuts here got out USD as that’s what they used circa 10 years ago the last time I was here! Clearly things have changed! Anyway Mum had GBP so she paid for visas and we decided to keep my USD for a rainy day. One long windy road until we turned off to the hotel, with nothing around us. Mum has been to Marsa Alam before and doesn’t remember it being as ‘built up’ as it is now. I use that term loosely but apparently beforehand there were even less hotels and certainly not what I’d call a village. However, we did see two camels!! Yay!!
Arrival at the hotel consisted of Mum waiting for the bell boy to get our bags off the coach and I went in to check in. Speedy as you like I was first to complete the form and get our room but sadly didn’t have time to drink our welcome drink, (it was a soft drink anyway.)Our delightful bellboy took us to room 1705 where I gave him a $1 tip and he seemed extremely grateful. A quick change and we ventured to Kobu Bar for a pre dinner cocktail before heading for our all inclusive buffet dinner. Now I’m usually ok on an all inclusive, Mum however is a veggie so this could prove interesting.
Night one buffet – lamb tajine for myself with chips and salad. Oh. My. God. It was delightful. I also had pasta bolognese with a side of red wine and water. First place ever that the wine had actually not tasted like vinegar in an all inclusive resort I’ve been too. Win win! Mum had salad and chips and hit up the pudding carts. Me, not being such a pudding fan, had fruit for pudding. I have never had an orange with so many pips in! I swear there were 2/3 in every single segment. It was an effort to eat but figured I should eat some refreshing fruit whilst in a hot country!Being knackered it wasn’t long before heads hit the pillow and we were zonked out. The sun sets at about 6pm here so in order to make the most of it, you need breakfast at 630am and out in the sun by 7am. I mean temperatures rise to 30 degrees that early in the morning!
Breakfast Friday consisted of pastries and fruit. I was hoping for bacon like I usually have but then remembered there wouldn’t be pork served in Egypt. Then it was time to hit the pool.There are four pools to choose from at the hotel, one big one with the swim up bar, which is where we set up camp for the day.There is also one that looks to appeal more to the kids, there’s another small pool and an adults only pool too. All of them look lovely. The animation team at the big pool, ‘Breezes,’ do the daily rounds asking if you want to play water polo, volleyball, stretching, darts, aqua gym etc, mostly greeted by grunts of ‘just a relaxing day we’re having today.’ Still, can’t blame them for trying and they’re very enthusiastic. Well, all bar one who really didn’t look like she wanted to be at work.
Anyway, the day moved on as we slowly began to cook. I had stupidly agreed to be mums waitress for the week (I don’t recall the conversation as was high on pain meds) so I was going back and forth to the bar fetching drinks all day. Sprite or coffee for her. Coke or gin and coke for myself. After about the first couple of hours I didn’t need to ask for a drink. Ahmed would see me swimming across the pool and as I got there they would be on the side waiting for me. Now that’s what I call service!!
It was boiling hot, around the mid 30s but with a nice breeze. Everyone, and I pretty much mean everyone, abandons the pool at 1230 and goes in for lunch. Again it’s a buffet but there is also a panini station. So I casually go up and order Mum a cheese and tomato one, of which there aren’t actually any tomatoes, the guy sent off another chef to cut up some and bring them back to him! 10 minutes later I began making my own lunch, braised beef. Delicious. Washed down with a glass of red. Mwah. Bellisimo!
I ended up falling asleep after lunch and then the usual drill of back and forth to the bar began again. This time for a white coffee, which I’m not kidding, I waited 15 minutes for because instead of just using the Nescafé sachets and creamer with hot water, they actually made it more like a latte! In that time I had a couple of drinks and headed back to the sunbed. As it got a bit cooler we headed to the beach.It was beautiful. There’s only a certain area you can enter the Red Sea here because of all the protected coral, which is everywhere. You can even see it from the sand.
The sun sets early here just after 6pm. Once it had begun to set we went inside to shower and change for dinner. There’s a dress code for dinner in the evenings which is I guess smart casual. We had a cocktail before dinner and headed in to the buffet. The waiter who’d served us the previous couple of times brought us over red wine and coffee and we went to get food. Their memories here are amazing. Not only do they remember your orders but all the different cocktails too. It’s astounding really. I couldn’t do it. I have a memory like a goldfish.Vegetables, chips, halal kebab, chicken and cheese and lamb leg were served for dinner. The kebab was delicious, the rest not so much. Red wine and coffee were once again delivered to our table.
Until next time…