Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 29th, 2018

Royal Grand in Sharm el Sheikh: A mini paradise, sufficient for me and willing to substitute it to the fictional one. Part 1

Sept, 22, 2018

The Royal Grand is a mini-paradise: all you can eat, all you can drink, beautiful tourists ambulating in front of you, self-contained will all the facilities: 3 beaches, 3 swimming pools, massage parlors, Turkish bath.
Wonderful Egyptians servers, ready to share a laugh: they love Lebanese and they accept Lebanese currencies more readily than dollars, hard working guys 12 hrs a day with half an hour break, almost cheap. But they stay for the tips.
This idea of me taking a group tour made its way after mother got a prosthetic hip implant. I had to care for her for an entire month. None of my close relatives were in Lebanon at the time and the burden was all on me. I took this opportunity to clean up 40 years of accumulated junk inside the house and outside.
And I developed a hernia. I waited for my sister to come back to undergo the surgery. Another 2 weeks of misery.
My first choice was a cruise from Stockholm to Estonian and St. Peterborough. The Shen-gen visa required a month of waiting and the season would be over. I had to fall back on another alternative.
The airfare to Turkey in August and September was expensive and I had to wait for October and November for a better deal. Thus, Sharm al Sheikh was the option since a group of young relatives had spent a week there in June and were very satisfied with the stay in Royal Grand.
In the meantime, I applied for a regular credit card that is handy overseas and purchased a mobile for the first time in my life. My nephew Cedric initiated me to all the intricacies of handling a mobile and how to pay on-line.
I’ll insist next time I travel with Nakhal Not to pay the 2% tax on the credit card since it is the company that is responsible for that extra expense and Not taken from the customers’ pockets: I call that decision part of civil disobedience Not to encourage further spoiling behaviors (fassaad)
The five sections of the buffets are varied with free drinks all day long till 2 am. You are be served fish (bouri), grilled and fried. Omelettes in the morning and boiled eggs. chicken, fried and grilled. vegetables of all kinds and and a variety of cheese. Croissants and a dozen kinds of sweets. All kinds of bread. Juices , coffee, milk, cereals, soup, and a wide variety of cooked meals, humus, foul, spaghetti…
Still, a few Lebanese make sure to give the cooks hell with special room orders for shish kabab.
When you arrive, the reception attaches a navy blue ribbon around your wrist, which open up every thing for free, assuming you paid the room, all inclusive, which is worth the price, a  low added cost for all the facilities.
The lobby is connected and is a relatively a cooler place to be around (well, kinds of cooler since there is no way to cool any place down here): I kept sweating in the lobby.
It never rains, and water in the room are Not meant for drinking since water are desalinized in 3 facilities.
Connecting otherwise is also cheap, but I rather be outside the room. Didn’t plan for any excursion yet, since I’m still discovering the facilities of this vast complex. Surely I will take a sea tour for an entire day which include scuba-diving…
I arrived from Lebanon to the hotel at 9 pm and I managed to have a quick dinner. Had to wait 2 hours for the flight in Lebanon after passing 3 check points. The flight is 1:30 min and I think it is better to take an early flight to enjoy an extra day. There is an hour zone difference.
I had miscalculated my return day, though it is mentioned in the ticket. Had to rectify the day with my Taxi. Glad someone is waiting at airport.
The Egyptian try hard to eek a living, and the massage parlor dispatch people around the pools to get reservation for manicure, pedicure, Turkish bath, massage, sauna… I met a Lebanese guy who told me wonder about the massage done by George. I got a free massage and reserved for a 2-hr complete experience for $45 or 700 LE (Egyptian pound worth 17.6 for the $).
A young Lebanese tourist (a member of internal forces, Darak) in the hotel got me connected with the massage facility personnel. and insisted that I select Georges as masseur.
The night of my arrival, he invited me to sit down with him and share with him a shisha (arghileh). The night before returning home, he asked me to join him for a stroll on Ne3mat Street, a one-mile street of shops, theaters, restaurants… and closed to traffic.
He needed someone to share the fare of the taxi since he has already exhausted his cash money on lavish tips.  It’s a 10 km trip that barely cost $3, but he insisted on negotiating hard. It never occurred to me to buy anything as gifts, but ended up purchasing 3 gifts and 2 items for myself that I made good use of there.
I postponed the schedule for my full massage package from 3:30 to 5 :30 pm because I didn’t feel getting wet again with all the swimming and showering.
I was introduced to the sauna for 15 min, and I started pounding on the door to let me out: All I had to do is just push the door out. The next step was to dip in a very cold basin that I couldn’t do with all my willpower. The guy allowed me to try the warmer basin first and then back to the cold one. It took me 15 min to get in, cooling my behind first.
Then come the phase of the Turkish bath, lying on a hot marble table and being rubbed like crazy with a rough glove. Then pouring foam on my entire body with instruction to close my eyes shut. Then I was moved to another room and rubbed with coconut debris and then totally wrapped in plastic and towel as a mommy.
Then Georges took over and gave me a thorough massage for every joint and part of my body, and abundantly using lotion.
My Lebanese acquaintance had spoiled them with plenty of tips and the guys roamed around expecting generous tips, kind of making sure that I’m Not dizzy. I saw the promoter the next day and he told me it is a shame there are Not many Lebanese guests to make his task easier.
I went on boating and did the scuba-diving and got the videos of pictures inside water and on the boat.
The start was a total chaos: They even transferred me from Caesar boat to Samira without informing me. If I didn’t check on the status of my waiting I might have missed the sea trip. The bus driver or the one representing the travel agency asked me to go and fetch the safety jacket and snorkeling mask from a lending shack. After a long time waiting, I discovered that I don’t need these stuff since I have my goggles for deep water swimming.
We spent much time on instructions of how to dive. The dive was mainly to taking videos under water and instructing me what kind of gesticulation I should exhibit.and I was Not allowed to swim on my own. The video under water was of $20 and the one on the boat for $15 with hard bargaining. I guess the entire crew share part of the earning of the designated photographers.
No more extracurricular activities outside the hotel: Not worth the exacerbation. Total relaxation this Tuesday: walking on the beach, swimming in the swimming pool, swimming in deep water and drinking with new friends.
It would have been great to extend the stay another day, now that daily routines are  programmed and nailed down. Tried yesterday to pay on-line for the mobile and I failed. Will wait till I’m back.
Only acting as insane draw the laughter and people don’t mean it bad: they want to act insane but are pretty shy with this drastic change in behavior. When I act insane, dozens of people feel good and positive, especially when I apply my clown-nose.
The night before departure, I received a certificate of Mister Royal hotel in Sherm al Sheikh by acting totally uninhibited in the show.
5 contestants volunteered for the show, 4 Ukrainians and I. The Italians had returned home. In one part, they installed a young lady on a chair in the middle of the stage and we had to strip-tease in front of her. One contestant refused on the ground that he is married. Another contestant faked to be obfuscated and vacated the stage.
I emulated Michael Jackson as I was told by the promoter, and I ambulated with my hat over my crotch (Not according to instructions).  I gathered a mound of shoes, sandals… and half a dozen bras, each one accounted for 100 pts, and a new lovely girl offered me to keep her bras. I wore the bras for 30 minutes and used it to stow my cigarette box and my money in each bra.
My new Ukrainian girl-friends wanted to have a night out after asking me to order a shisha that they barely used since we had to hurriedly cram a bus with the promoter and his staff, and off to a beach party outside the hotel for $20.
My friends kept asking me if I feel okay, given that I was sweating profusely because of the heat and my relentless dancing and hopping.
There was a so-called Lebanese from the south who insisted on exhibiting a medal on his chest, claiming that he is “on call from the US special forces”. He is tall, svelte, dark-skinned and liked to walk bare chested.  He tried hard to befriend me and to carry me on his shoulders for a selfie. I refused his advances: in my mind, I suspected that he might be a son of families that fled from south Lebanon to Israel in 2000, as Israel hurriedly vacated our land without negotiation,
He was married but focused on a girl to get in her pants  (the one who gave me her bras as gift). We returned at 4 am and I was to be at the reception my noon to hand over my keys. The girl (Masha, nickname for Maria) claimed to be too tired and went back to her room with her girl-friend.
I made friends with 2 Irish sisters (May and Francis) who had been patronizing the hotel for the last 10 years and had a room in their name and plenty of special privileges. They came to bid me farewell the next day by the bus that was taking us to the airport.
I also befriended a couple from Denmark who have been patronizing the hotel in the last 5 years: They have a small olive tree planted in their name. I was searching for an empty seat at lunch and they invited me to join their table. The husband spoke fluent English and we hit-it off and laughed and then met again the next morning by the pool.
I still managed to get up at 8:30 am, had a breakfast, walked on the beach sand, got a swim in the pool, got a shower, packed, and had lunch too.
The hardest day in the vacation is the day before departure, when you get used to a certain life-style of facilities.
The bus to the airport was at 1:30 pm. And we visited 6 hotels to the airport to pick up guests returnees.
The Egyptian controlled 3 times our departure: twice by demanding we empty all our pockets belonging and our shoes.
I decided to empty all my pockets in a bag and keep it in my backpack when we land in Beirut. Luckily, we were Not searched and we directly advanced to pick up our suitcases and off to the arrival outlet. Kind of the Lebanese counterpart had full confidence in the Egyptian thorough search and control
Note: Ayman El Mohammadi, General Manager of Royal Grand sent me a mail for evaluation of my stay in the hotel.
I replied: “I’ll be posting a good review on my blog on your hotel facilities and great smiling, dedicated, hard working and good humored staff.
It would be a great idea to study opening a few pool lanes for dedicated swimmers. Otherwise, it is a piece of paradise to be revisited. Does my certificate of Mister Royal Hotel give me a deduction for next year?
It came to my attention that the staff are overworked, kind of 12 hours a day for just 30 minutes break? Are they being paid overtime after 8 hours work? Send my regards to the dedicated Irish guests, the sisters Francis and May

Note 2: I received this reply from the hotel manager.

Let us thank you for choosing our hotel for your recent holiday in Sharm-el-Sheikh and for your kind message.

We are very happy that our team managed to live up to your expectations and you enjoyed your vacation at Royal Grand Sharm.

Thank you for sharing with us your idea, it’ll be seriously considered by the Management.

It’ll be our great pleasure to welcome you back next year. No deduction, sorry.  However, you’ll have a wide range of special privileges, such as free of charge fresh juices during breakfast, unlimited number of visits to a la carte restaurant, additional restaurant Li Manda for lunch and dinner, invitation to the welcome cocktail reception and 1-hour of paid internet usage for free.  The more times you come to us, the more privileges we offer.

Please be assured that our Management provide the favorable working conditions and do its best to create a nice and friendly atmosphere with all our staff here at the Royal Grand Sharm to ensure that every member of the team enjoys their work and this shows in the service they offer. Will surely send your best regards to Ms. May and Ms. Frances!

Note 3: My reply

Yes, you may forward my email address to Francis and May, as well as anyone who want to be in contact with me: adonisbouh@gmail.com as well as my blog on adonis49@wordpress.com

I filled the evaluation list and discovered that there are many facilities that were unknown to me: if you are relying on the guests to read the brochure for “pieces of intelligence” many facilities will remain unchecked. Like the hotel organizing activities in open sea: I thought that I need to contact my travel agency for extracurricular activities
Need to appoint a “maitre d’hotel” for the outside of the main restaurant, facing the sea where birds share our bread. Someone must take the sole responsibility to observe who finished his meal and order the clean up of tables.
I was never been able to finish my meal before the table was cleaned up. Sort of as soon as I enter to fetch another dish My table was removed to allow other guests to take seats. This was a frequent occurrence as if I was targeted for harassment. It was too late for me to get the message and eat inside the restaurant.
Need a couple of professional swimming lanes for serious swimmers
I like to walk on the beach. The attended of the next resort (Sunrise?) didn’t allow me to enter and use their beach. Someone told me this is illegal since all beaches are public domain?
Nothing like a DJ to encourage people to dance in the evening. I discovered that the girls working with the show invite people of their “own kinds”. Thus have girls from many nationalities to do the job properly

 

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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