I don't like Sharm el Sheik. My Husband will be so disappointed. He thinks it's the best place on earth, but he is a dive nut, and his memories of Sharm were made when he was young and single so I think I can understand the attraction. It's kind of like an Egyptian Ibiza. I suspect if he came back now it would ruin all his good memories. My first impressions of Sharm weren't helped by the fact the guide that met us at the airport was facetious and lazy. He did not get a tip.
Sharm el Sheik is like the worst parts of an American strip mall, except the shops are resort hotels and bad franchises of UK dance clubs, and there are cheap Egyptian trinket sellers on the street corners. We are staying at the Marriot, which is actually quite lovely, but no remarks were made on our booking to mention the lads so we found ourselves not only at the furtherst possible walk away from anything else in the hotel, but also on the second floor in a hotel that does not have an elevator. Difficult when you have a stroller. There were no cots. Not only that, but it transpires that there are two parts of the Marriot; 'Marriot Beach', and its poor cousin across the busy road out to the airport, 'Marriot Mountain'. Marriot Mountain is a hugely ambitious name as the nearest mountains are quite some distance away. We are, of course, staying in the Marriot Mountain. Package Holiday Fail. Thanks Wings Tours.
Things that ARE cool about Sharm:
1. My children love the water and spent most of our stay here in it, which they could do because the outside temperature is about 45 and the pool is about 30, so they didn't get a chill.
2. Despite advice to the contrary from the hotel staff, there are amazing fish 5m off the resort beach. It feels like you're snorkeling in a Tropical fish tank.
Our final day in Egypt was a marathon, and I can not put into words how awesome it is to leave stinky Egypt behind and be in lovely Jordan.
The tour included a trip to St Katherine's Monastery. Unfortunately, but not at all surprisingly, the monastery was closed for some reason we've yet to work out, so all we could do was walk around the outside and take a hike up the hill behind it to take some shots of the outside of what I've heard is a very pretty chapel, that contains the remains of St Katherine. I was a bit sad about not seeing her finger. I was also a bit sad to miss Moses' burning bush. But no matter. Leaving Egypt was almost worth it.
Getting out of Egypt proved to be the worst part of Egypt. If I had been alone, or just with my Husband, I suspect it would have been a whole lot more like an adventure. Unfortunately, it wasn't the kind of adventure that suits a party of five made up of my two small boys and parents-in-law. The ferry from Nuiweba to Aqaba was cattle class to put it politely. The waiting area was late 1950's decor, complete with cracked lino, no lighting save the high barred windows, two slat wooden benches, lazy ceiling fans and flies. My MIL likened it to the waiting area in Auschwitz, which was possibly a touch culturally insensitive, but it certainly had as much appeal. The bus from the terminal to the ferry lacked all but the back seat and the aircon was achieved by leaving the back door of the bus open as we drove. The passports were checked three times to get on the ferry in the space of about 80 meters, once involved standing the the beating sun for 15 minutes in a gaggle because Egyptians do not appear to be able to queue. The ferry aircon was rudimentary, and was not aided by the fact that the toilets were overflowing and creating a maliferous odor that permeated every corner of the interior. Most people added to the stench because they were wearing burka or dish-dash in 50 degree heat and sweating like they meant it. Some families bought their kitchens with them to have a picnic on the floor, including kettles and pots. We were on board from 12 till 6pm and the ferry only left dock at 2.30pm. The lads hated it and whinged for most of the trip. It was an experience. I'm quite pleased it's over and would not recommend taking children anywhere near it of you happen to be in this part of the world.