27 September 2010

Egypt...the continuation

Whilst the first bit of our holiday was in some ways very hectic, the second was far more relaxed...a 'chill-out' week! After a long 5 hour transfer across the desert to Hugharda, we eventually arrived at the Hilton Resort (part of a worldwide chain) got ourselves settled in and headed down to the beach. Most of the hotels have a little private beach and this one was no exception...and very pleasant it was too, complete with it's own coral reef.

The main focus of the week's activities was to see the corals and fishes of the Red Sea for which we had a few scheduled boat trips as most of the reefs are a few miles off shore. However, one of the visits was to Sharm El-Nagr, a small bay further down the coast were there were hardly any other tourists and the coral, which was truly spectacular was flourishing just a few metres from the beach. Wading in with snorkel and fins to less than waist height, we were surrounded by fabulously coloured fish who seemed totally oblivious to our presence.

The hotel was fine with just a few niggles like the Non-Smoking area in the lobby...this didn't exist so the foul odour of cigarette smoke was all pervading. As I got myself into Victor mode at the end of the week, a suitable complaint was registered...

The food was adequate but not outstanding (except in the La Casa Italian restaurant where we ate each evening) with the main self-service area being called "Pebbles." At peak times, with everyone clattering noisily about, it reminded me of a Waterloo station buffet in the mid sixties...slightly unfair maybe as the food was probably better!

There was also the full litany of hotel 'entertainment' ranging from the obligatory night club with the hideous, over-amplified, distorted strains of the 'okey coky' and the 'chicken song' blaring out into the night to the highly amusing antics of the local Italian beach gymnastic guru. Needless to say, yours truly indulged in nothing quite so unseemly...

On the last day, I had a quiet wander around the local area with the camera. It's very clear that the recession of the last couple of years has hit quite hard in this part of the world. Much of the area consists of vast hotel complexes lining the shore, interspersed with derelict, half completed buildings that looked much like the aftermath of an Allied air raid...except that these were all 'new builds.'

Note also the huge amounts of rubbish and general detritus that littered the place.

One of the other things that puzzled me was that there appeared to be no infrastructure to the area...just mile upon mile of swanky hotels....

...catering for the tourists, who use resources (particularly water) like it's going out of fashion in very short order. This the very edge of the desert though...go half a mile inland and you may as well be in the middle of the Sahara, so where does all the water and food come from?...beats me.

In all, though a thoroughly enjoyable holiday and one which we hope to repeat...next time though, we'll be taking an underwater camera.


Anonymous said...

Would just like to say that the derelect buildings and rubbish on the streets lurking where lesser tourists fear to tread was there back in 2005 when I visited at the height of the credit fueled prosperities. I am hesitant to ascribe this to the recession.


Setch said...

What he said - in egypt apparently you have a set amount of time to build something on land you have purchased or you cease to have a claim on it. As such, it is standard practice to throw up the basic structure, and leave it either a skeleton of a facade until you actually want to do something with it.

I visited Sharm el Sheik about 5 years ago diving, and Dahab a few months ago, and there is very little sign change in the rate of building, or the litter which is everywhere.