Sharm el-Sheikh commonly known as Las Vegas of Egypt was an interesting part of our trip. Firstly, because I was excited to stay in a “Hilton” hotel and secondly because I was really looking forward to dipping my toes in the red sea.
Let me say, right off the bat that of all the places we visited I was the most disappointed in the service we received in Sharm. It was not a show stopper but in relation to our other stops it was not great. We had become accustomed to a certain level of service which we found lacking.
However, there is a reason for this and one I found numerous times on my travels. Tourists treat those in the service industry (everything from housekeeping to reception, from taxi drivers to waiters) badly. In fact I will go as far as to say that there are some nationalities which are just downright rude when it comes to those who are trying to serve them in whatever capacity. This my friends makes those in the service industry jaded. They become almost like robots who put on a mask in order to protect themselves. This was what I experienced in Sharm. At first everyone was very cautious of the friendly South Africans who said please and thank you (and in Arabic no less) for everything but eventually they realised that this is how we are and how we choose to treat those providing a service and from that moment on there was a distinct difference in the service we received.
Holiday beach packages are sold to Europeans as a cheap and easy alternative to travelling say to Thailand or Bali and so Sharm is overrun by Europeans. Not necessarily a bad thing but based on the experience I had, there was a sever lack of respect to the Egyptian way of life and culture. It may for example be acceptable in Europe to tan topless but in Egypt it is not and yet wherever you look on the beach topless is what you see. And then there was the older gentlemen who thought removing his swimming trunks and displaying his ummmmmm well wrinkled old appendage was acceptable and then had the audacity to shake “IT” at me as an invitation….good grief!! I was so thankful Meg was swimming. The poor girl would have been put off men for life!! Bear in mind that Egypt is a Muslim country so when a tourist crosses the street from one hotel to the other topless and wearing the tiniest of bottoms...it stops traffic and not in a good way!!!
In the end we spent far more time at the wonderful hotel swimming pool than at the beach and that my friends suited me just fine. We had been given an all-inclusive package which seriously was all inclusive. Megan and I could have as many drinks as we like, we had a major choice for breakfast and dinner and lunch was served out by the pool al fresco with a more BBQ feel. Word of warning…there is no bacon for breakfast because Egypt is after all a Muslim country and don’t eat pork. They make like a smoke beef attempt at bacon but well rather grab and extra pancake with chocolate syrup!!
While at the pool we could have snacks from the snack bar which was awesome for a teenager like my Meg who was often hungry a couple of hours after having a huge breakfast…oh to have that metabolism!! Which is another reason why camping out at the hotel pool worked well for us. The food was seriously delish!!