When it comes to cheap winter sun, Egypt will always be one of my favourite destinations.
Sharm el-Sheikh is just over five hours away – and without much effort, you’ll find a huge list of 5 Star All Inclusive’s for less than £500 quid.
It was the obvious choice when we needed to get our fella Rupert away – shortly after his long-term missus dumped him for some pretty boy.
For a small group of lads, Naama Bay is the best place in Egypt – it’s always cheap, hot and is the liveliest resort this side of the Atlantic.
So with little persuasion I’d convinced the boys to chip in and we got RJ (Rupert Jeoffrey) away..
The worst thing about Egypt is the VISA check-in. You’re often left standing in a queue for at least 30 minutes, sweating your bullocks off and what’s worse is you have to pay for it (£20).
As soon as you’re through, you’ll get a taste of desert air, dry and hot.
You’ll also be greeted by a dozen Arabs wanting to take your cases to the taxi station directly outside the airport – of course they will want tipping – I never do.
NOTE: Taxi from airport to Naama Bay is approx 10-15 mins, which would cost about a tenner.
Tropitel Naama Bay Hotel was exactly what we were looking for. Rooms were a good size, clean and come with two double beds, a large balcony and the hotel was 30 seconds from all the bars, clubs and restaurants.
Cocktails were s*** but when you pay as cheap as we did, you can’t really complain.
After a full days tanning, and some surprisingly good food at the hotel, we was keen to head out.
Space is the king of clubs in Sharm, but wasn’t open until much later – giving us time to explore.
Before long we’d discovered how great (or not) Troy was at Karaoke, how useless I was at handling a Shish-pipe and how easy it was to pull Russian women.
We’d managed to book a weeks worth of excursions from some weathered fella, Mustaphar – who managed to entertain us with his British “banter” and cheap deals.
NOTE: Tourism boards advise you book excursions either within your hotel or established tour companies. Personally, I’ve saved lots over the years avoiding such companies, especially in lesser developed countries. Just be smart. If something sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
At the fear of contradicting myself, can I advise that you DO NOT get in the car with strangers – especially if the guys like a tramp and is selling prostitutes and cocaine.
“But it’s Mustaphar” says my extremely drunk brother Mark, who’s clearly had too many shots.
It was around 3am in the morning, both him and Troy was smashed, and not ready to call it a night.
RJ had long left and in hindsight that’s probably what I should have done too.
After 10 minutes of arguing, Mark chose to ignore me and jumped into the front passenger seat of the car. I looked at Troy and said “you know we’re f****d right?”, he said “Yup”, laughed and hopped into the back seat – I followed..
20-minutes pass, and we’re still no clearer as to how far away we are, or more importantly where the hell we were going.
As we passed some large Mosque, Troy seemed to start sobering up “Where the hell are we?” – Answer of course, was I have no f*****g idea!
Mark, still oblivious to the situation, was nodding along to some bizarre Arabic soundtrack, while Mustaphar beat his steering wheel like a drum set.
The car starts to slow down in a place I can only describe as the poorest estate I’ve ever seen. There’s groups of Arabs standing outside blocks of flats, watching the car as it pulls up. It’s 4AM, WTF!?
“We’ve arrived”. Says Mustaphar.
We were taken through a small corridor and in to an extremely small apartment where we were greeted by a man named Mohummed.
The kitchen, bedroom and living room was all squeezed into one. There was an old, tatty sofa which looked like it’d been fly-tipped back in 1970 and a TV set not much bigger than a Gameboy.
Mohummed told us to take a seat while Mustaphar went to get changed and flicked the box on. As he went to the fridge he called over if we’d like a drink.
We said yes, but soon changed our minds when he removed a half empty bottle of beer out the fridge, took and lengthy swig and passed it round.
Before long, Mustaphar returns but now he’s dressed in a long black gown.
F*ck me. 2 hours ago I was having my d*ck sucked by some Russian bird and now I’m moments away from getting killed in some Muslim ritual.
Note: There is no Muslim ritual which I know of that involves trapping Brits and killing them in a dark cape.
While Mark was probably wondering whether or not he felt comfortable having sex in his new surroundings, me and Troy was trying to work out how long we had left before getting attacked.
Mustaphar grabs a large melon from the kitchen and puts it on a small coffee table in front of us before revealing the biggest knife I’ve ever seen.
Trust me, you do not need a machete to slice a melon – but that’s exactly what he used it for, and it was actually quite tasty.
Mohummed comes back after we’ve eaten with some white powder which only one of us try. It was “pony”, apparently.
We’re now approaching 5am and at last Mark is ready to go home after the Egyptian dealer shattered his horny desire by advising: “Egyptian women no good for you. Go for Russians. They are easy… and much more beautiful.. “.
And he was right.
We were dropped off shortly after that, and I can honestly say – I have never been so happy to get into bed – Rupert wasn’t so pleased to see us.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that no matter where you go or what you do, if the company is great then you’re on to a winner.
The decision to run with a small group – Me, RJ (Rupert), Mark and Troy – was due to the last minute urgency – in which some of our boys needed more notice to get the time off work.
Fewer lads meant less moaning (Shane nags like a bitch when he’s away) – and our small number give us more reason to meet new people when we were out there.
Laying back in the sun lounger, sipping ice cold shandy with not a cloud in the sky was my idea of heaven.
Rupert was hiding in the shade as always, probably still thinking about his ex. Mark was cracking on with the only fit bird in the hotel and Troy took up water aerobics because he fancied Kara from the animations team.
At that moment, I got to experience utter peacefulness and it was perfect.
Admittedly the views were nothing more than average but was about to get much worse.
The glorious sun was cut off in an instant, like a solar eclipse. My whole body instantly cast in a shadow. I opened my eyes, which adjusted fast when I lowered my Ray Bans only to reveal a large man, standing in front of me in red Speedos. “Did you find it?” He said.
Turns out, it was Adam, one of four Northern gay guys who we’d met the previous evening. He’d actually confused me with my brother, Mark – who was in a desperate bid to find a strip club the night before.
The horny bouncer was as filthy as they come – but a great laugh.
Shortly after, Ian, John and Sean showed up and placed their towels over the surrounding beds.
My peace and quiet was taken from me. Paradise lost, friendship gained.
Ian, the campest of the four works for Thomas Cook and without intention, actually helped inspire me to start Lads Holiday Guide.
Despite having travelled more than anyone else I know, he’s sadly too busy to share his stuff with us though – would call him a tight bastard if I didn’t know what he got up to ;)
The sun’s not out too long in October. Mustaphar is however. And it’s quad time.
Our dodgy guide rocks up outside our hotel in the same car that escorted us to his apartment. We hop in and he starts beating his steering wheel again to what sounds like the same Arabic rhythm.
We stopped quickly at a local village where he collected a large bag of meat and some guy with one eye.
As we pulled up to the quad station, we was asked to put our phones in a bag. Odd request, and one we declined with us much politeness as when offered a half opened bottle of Egyptian Stella.
At one stage during the dunes drive, RJ contemplated running off into the darkness.
Rupert is the worrier of the group. He’d begged us not to go with Mustaphar and even offered to pay the extra to book through the hotel.
We’d taken a like to our scruffy buddy, besides he was not only cheaper, but had also offered us longer riding time AND a private tour – meaning it was just us boys and the three guides.
We saw this as a bargain – RJ however, thought it was a set up – which is why, when in the middle of nowhere we were told to stop, switch of our engines and lights, RJ started freaking.
“Lee, I’m gonna run, you coming or not?” – RJ was genuinely petrified.
Admittedly, it was weird.. But not as weird as using a machete for a melon.
In the distance we saw about six more quads coming towards us. RJ was convinced it was Taliban. It wasn’t.
We then had to scream out loud and heard the screams echo throughout the desert. Was pretty cool, but no need to switch the lights off. We moved on as the other group approached.
Quad biking at night is disappointing. You can’t see much, and you spend most of the trip eating sand from the quad in front.
Talking of eating. That meat Mustaphar grabbed from the shops was taken to a small family that lived in the desert, who kindly shared some with us.
We made a mess, but the experience was good and the meat was insanely tasty – still not sure what it was though.. and thinking about it, I’d rather not know.
The last couple of days wasn’t as eventful or dramatic.
We had the option of scuba diving, but we’d all been before and with Mark’s serious fear of sharks (Galeophobia) we decided to stay aboard and make the most of the free booze whilst sunbathing on the deck.
Later that night we took part in a stage show, which saw RJ live out his dream as Troy’s mistress while I paired off with some drunk bird, who’s husband watched uncomfortably from the front row as things inappropriately progressed.
Eventually, we returned to the Karaoke bar, where we discovered the Russians again.
Me and Troy mastered Jacko and McCartney’s: The Girl is Mine, which achieved a stand-ovation – although thinking about it, there wasn’t many people in the bar, all of which was standing anyway.
By the end of the night, Mark had vanished with that blonde thing, RJ took her mate and won this year’s “Fuck a Fatty”, Troy entertained the gay guys, and for the first time ever lost a cock-off (with Ian) whilst I had round two with miss Ivanova – only this time, mother nature wasn’t an obstacle. God bless Viagra! ;)
Sharm el Sheikh 2013 will remain one of the best lads holidays ever.