Day 10 - Island hopping and snorkelling, Hurghada

November 1997

On the boat in the Red Sea
Decked out: cruising on the Red Sea

"Come on you guys, we're leaving in 15 minutes" was the sound I woke up to. Kali was knocking on the door for our hour's notice wake-up call. The 15 minutes bit was just her having a laugh, of course. No it wasn't. After 10 minutes' snooze the phone rang and Kali was saying "We're going in a minute and we're just waiting for you" or words to that effect. I can't remember exactly what she said. Somehow (blame the vodka) we'd missed our first wake-up call. In fact, neither me nor Andy could remember even getting to the boat this morning. I was told later that I was still dressing myself as I walked through reception and both of us were in full-on jibber-jabber mode, talking rubbish a mile a minute. Others thought that we were still drunk from the night before. Who's to argue?

Andy was extremely quiet for the rest of the day so I filled in for him - an understudy if you like - and began the boat trip by talking nonsense to virtually everyone. Great fun. Our boat trip went in three stages - a small reef, a small island and then a coral island. I know it's a simple explanation, but then my mind wasn't fully switched on to the fine details.

Fishy goings on

I feel like I'm falling into a set formula here but ... the views were ... well, you know the rest. The fish were so varied and colourful with it: big, small, fat, thin, rainbow coloured, black and there were other little goodies too like octopuses (octupi?), manta rays and clams.

Sheety looking swans

Bedsheets folded to look like swans
Just look how they fold the bedsheets!

When we returned to the hotel, we heard a scream from Liz's room. No, it wasn't a cockroach (although there were plenty of them around), she was actually screaming with laughter at what awaited her. The people who make the rooms up don't just put the sheets on the beds, they make origami models out of them - swans, snakes and other such creations. If you leave a towel lying around, they'll make it into something. When we looked in our room we found that they'd gone one stage further - they'd taken cigarettes from Andy's pack which was on the bedside table and put them in the towel animals' mouths.

In the evening we followed the yellow-and-red-brick road down to Rossi's for pizzas all round. The chairs seemed to weigh half a ton each and the food was good, although I didn't manage to finish mine. Usual Egyptian timing of course - it's the kind of place where they might get two people eating one evening and 100 the next, so they are not really prepared for any particular kind of pattern. Instead, they're just not prepared at all.

Completely nuts

Afterwards, most of the crowd headed off to a bar called 'Peanuts', which is funny because all round the place they have dishes full of monkey nuts. Why didn't they call it 'Monkey Nuts'? Egypt, eh? I decided to head back to base - after last night's binge and today's swimming I was, to say the least, pretty knackered and up for a quiet night in with a good book and a few cockroaches to keep me company.

Andy came in much later - not sure what time but certainly after 3am - with Reine at which point I woke up. Not that I let them know I woke up, that would be too embarrassing to sit up in the middle of the night and say "Hi gang!" while they are mid-shag. Instead I shut my eyes, occasionally turned over and grunted in the way that I think I probably do when I'm genuinely asleep, although I have no way of knowing precisely what that sounds like. One of life's great mysteries. You never snore yourself, do you? Only when you're in company. If a tree falls in the middle of a forest and there's no-one around to hear it, does it make a sound? Slap yourself Ian, you're getting cryptic. I told Andy next morning that I wasn't asleep - was that the right thing to do? Oh well, I thought it was funny telling him. He denied that they were shagging. He might be right, I'll give him the benefit of doubt.