misadventures in Egypt or Hur(don’t)ghada

Filth, horrific food poisoning and threats of violence were what were waiting for us when we unwittingly booked our last minute trip to Hurghada, Egypt…

Join me as I paint for you the picture of our holiday of huge mistakes & unfortunate events…

That is not my video (hat tip to dtj6090 for uploading it to youtube) but it illustrates a bit of what awaited us as we entered the arrival terminal at Hurghada airport: total chaos – unfortunately the crowds were even worse for us as no less than 7 planes had recently landed…ugh!

We were aware that we needed to purchase our visas upon arrival (€25/person) but were utterly shocked at the total lack of organization, management or even basic system for dealing with foreigners entering the country…we now have first hand knowledge of what cattle feel like.

**Luckily(??) there is a bribey sneaky way around the chaos: V.I.P service. Yes, for a mere $75 US a family of 3 can be pulled, pushed & shoved to the front of the passport control line by a member of airport staff. (we managed to haggle our pungent smelling guide down to $50 US – hooray?) An absolutely awful experience for adults and completely terrifying for our little girlie…

still thinking positive with an early morning roof top coffee – our view of dirty streets & unfinished buildings – the “luxuriously” filthy broken down roof terrace

Once safely out of the airport from hell we dusted off the stress and filed it away as just an unpleasant start to what we hoped would be a relaxing holiday in our “Luxurious and bright 2 Bedroom apartment with landscaped garden, adult & kiddie pools and private roof terrace”.

If dirt, grime, flaking paint, sharply broken tiles, a sagging & torn rooftop canopy, filthy, broken furniture and stained sheets & towels are what is considered luxurious then I don’t want to be on this planet anymore…the photos above simply don’t illustrate the nastiness (or rank odour) of our holiday accommodation.

*After several failed attempts were made to reach the British/Egyptian run company we had rented from, we spent our first day in Egypt scrubbing – after we had gone to the supermarket for cleaning supplies & toilet paper, not even one roll was provided in the bathroom nor were there any form of cleaning products…WTF?!

the single bright spot of our week-long Egyptian misadventure: the swimming pool (the one activity we can easily do at home – humph!)

Still undaunted & determined to find the positive side of our Egyptian adventure, after a fitful night’s we headed down to the pool & were pleasantly surprised to find that we had it all to ourselves…the pool & garden, although not the newest, were clean & well-cared for – things were looking up!

these pics were snapped within the first 20 minutes of our arrival at the beach, the rest of the time was spent dealing with intrusive stupidity

We then headed out to the local beach, paid the €10 entry fee(??) and were harassed every 10 minutes or so by creepy dudes wanting to give us massages for “only $15 US”. When we politely requested that they leave us (& our 3-year-old daughter!) alone they became verbally abusive – and the cashier (who spoke excellent English when we arrived) merely smiled & nodded when we asked him for assistance

…needless to say we left in less than hour.

at the perfumery – meeting “Antonio the Camel” – riding “Antonio the Camel” – the unnecessary (but still cool) souvenirs

A shower, nap, snack & outfit change later we were out & about trying to find some kiddo-friendly activities that didn’t involve 6 hour bus rides or full day tours through the desert…nada. We scored some souvenirs & the munchkin got her camel ride – quick tip: if you are ever on a camel make sure you are not the unlucky soul in the middle who gets to balance precariously on the hump!

* a warning note about the shop owners: they are aggressive in the worst possible way…as we wandered down the promenade we were bombarded with “Where are you from?” in Russian, German & English (in that order) and when we politely answered the shop keepers would grab either my arm or our daughter’s hand & attempt to lead us away with promises of a “gift” if we would just have a look in their shop. Sadly over half of these “salesmen” became verbally abusive & a few even threatened us with physical violence when we politely declined their offers & pulled our body parts out of their grasps.

a distressing walk leads to an extravagant destination

The following day we decided to visit the marina and were once again shocked by the level of filth & deterioration that accompanied our walk through the city streets…and then again by the cleanliness, modern construction & opulent appearance of the Marina itself.

*the above photos are not derelict buildings but actual Egyptian homes…local children play in those streets while a few blocks away tourists enjoy glass bottomed boat & scuba excursions.

the fateful meal is ordered – trying to hold a nice pose while feeling like death – a brief walk to the pharmacy – the view from our departing airplane

Our brief Marina visit ended with a quick meal of falafel & fresh watermelon juice…little did we know it would be the last time we would be able to successfully venture out of the holiday apartment without fear of filling our pants or projectile emptying our already aching & barren bellies – we had been in Egypt for 2.5 days.

Let us end the tale of holiday woe as we began…with some charming photos of what the week should have been:

frolicking fun on the beach, quirky camel rides & relaxation.

Have you become the unwilling victim of a holiday from hell? Commiserate with me in the comments…

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10 thoughts on “misadventures in Egypt or Hur(don’t)ghada

  1. Oh my gosh, Sheri, this sounds terrifying! I had heard that travel to Egypt right now was a bad idea, but yikes!! I cannot even imagine how scary and difficult it must have been with your daughter, trying to keep her safe and happy, but it sounded like you all were champs determined to make the best of it!

  2. Oh my, that’s terrible! Poor things. How disappointing. I had heard about bad food in Egypt. Had no idea about the filth and harassment. I’m so sorry you had to go through all that. 😦

  3. Oh my goodness, you poor things! How sad it didn’t turn out to be the vacation you hoped it would be. That sounded downright scary that they would threaten you when you wouldn’t look at their shop and how awful that you got food poisoning! 😦 I’m so relieved that you made it safely back!

    • Yep…pretty much whatever could go wrong did go wrong. The behaviour of the shop keepers was incredibly shocking & a bit frightening, but this Canadian mama bear can be pretty damn terrifying herself when threatened so there are a few souvenir-shop-dudes who just might think twice about threatening a little blonde lady in the future 😉

  4. Oh, that is just the worst! I got dragged on a mission trip to Mexico with my youth group by my parents when I was 16. I’m not anti-mission trip, but all the kids in the youth group were spoiled selfish brats who spent the whole trip whining and trying to complain to me about how my parents (the group leaders) actually wanted them to WORK and how this was supposed to be a VACATION etc etc. It lives in memory as the WORST “vacation” ever 😛

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