There are times when living in Egypt can just get too much. Everything becomes a headache, far more stressful than it usually is and expletives become common vocabulary.
The longer I’ve been here the less it happens. That, however, just leaves me with further to fall when it does.
Since Summer 2005 I have been visiting the pool of Cairo’s Grand Hyatt. There are not many places to go swimming in Cairo and even less once you remove the pools where an inch of skin will attract a gaggle of ogling male eyes. A dip didn’t come cheap, but it was worth every penny, particularly because this price also included access to the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
With temperatures of 38C right now, Mr S and I recently made our first appearance at the pool this year. All was going well until I asked if the steam room was working and then told, in front of another guest and in a tone that suggested I was trying to sneak in for free, that I could not use these facilities if I had only paid for the pool.
Off to get showered and leave, the same attendant managed to walk in on my shower. Apparently accidentally (it was the only one that was occupied..).
I made a complaint and tried to explain that if someone was thought to be using the spa area without paying, either talking to them ALONE or informing them at reception as they left that they would not be able to do so again without paying would probably be a better way to go. The response? Apparently it was my fault for misunderstanding four years ago what the deal was. Yep. Absolutely, totally, perfect sense.
And not very 5 star. So, most definitely the last time we go there. Which means, I have lost my escape in Cairo, my bastion of serenity. This was a devastating blow. There are so few places where you can get everything you want under one roof here, and for them not to be overcrowded too.
Next came some more water cuts.
Then, the following day when I forgot I’d left the tap on in the bathroom sink (and we actually had water). I rushed back to turn it off (from an ecological point of view) only to find that the sink had overflowed.
This was not because the sink has no overflow pipe. Oh no. It is there, or rather the hole in the sink is there, however there isn’t actually a pipe. There isn’t a pipe, because someone had the bright idea of blocking up the overflow hole instead. Unfortunately for my things in the cupboard below, they didn’t even manage to do a good job of it and from having no water mere hours before, I then had a flood in the cupboard and the bathroom floor.
The strange thing is, that when one of these periods starts, it doesn’t give up until it is well and truly tired (note: that has nothing to do with whether you are tired of it or not).
And despite living here for all this time, the bottom line still is (only when I have water you understand), “At least it is sunny.” I mean, come on, it could be far worse: sleet.