A while ago I went online to book flights to Sharm in Egypt.
I wanted to identify a dive school there to work with and having attended the Birmingham dive show this year, I had plenty of contacts.
Having booked the flights I set about booking accommodation. I checked all of the comparison sites and finally after being advised that there were no rooms at the inn, I was lucky enough to find one room for the first night in the Falcon Inn. Cool, I thought.
My plan was to turn up and spend the first day looking for a cheap hotel to stay in. All things being equal, there would be no problem. Sharm is a big place with over 90 4-star hotels. How wrong can one man be?
The reality is that this week is 'Eid ul Adha (10 Dhul-Hijja)' – the festival of sacrifice. Lots of Arabic people travel long distances to see their families and friends. This meant that the hotels in Sharm were full.
Still ignorant of the reality, I got up on my first full day, went to reception and asked if |I could stay longer. "No, the hotel is fully booked. You must get you things and leave." Oh my word! What to do? Having shared my problems with the owner, I was allowed to leave my things at Moon Divers, who were really accommodating.
Later the same morning during a meeting with Emperor Divers I was asked "So, which hotel are you in?" I explained my predicament. Luckily Sarah of Emperor said she had an apartment and would be happy to rent it to me from two days time. I jumped at the opportunity of a bed to sleep in.
I spoke to a friend of mine who was staying in the Falcon and arranged to take the second twin bed in their room. This arrangement was nick-named 'the secret falcon'. I used the secret falcon for two night before a lift had been booked for me to transfer to 'Egyptian Experience'.
Day three soon came and my ride pulled up outside Moon Divers. After getting in the mini van, I was asked the usual questions; "Where are you from, are you married, do you have a family?" And after being told by Achim that he has two guns which he likes "I like guns, man" he shouted "I just bloody love guns", he then said "You like rock, yes?"
I said I am happy to listen to any music.
So, to the sound of the Survivors "The Eye of the Tiger" blasting loudly into my inner ear we drove like the wind out of town, past the airport into a place which has been referred to as 'just beyond the middle of nowhere'. Achim spent the whole time dodging other vehicles, lighting his cigarettes or speaking (shouting) into his mobile phone. The journey itself was priceless.
The place is good and I have a bed, but Egyptian Experience is not too well connected. Taxi's are easy enough to come by but at 60 Egyptian pounds per journey into town, it really is a case of being prepared for the day and evening, so that not more than one journey away and back home has to be made. At least I didn't need to sleep rough in Sharm, or run the risk of my worst nightmare coming true (being kidnapped by Achim and for a spell, getting familiar with his guns). That treat I missed – thank God.