A year ago today I had a few/a lot of drinks with Matt and Scotto and a few others in Ing, Kyoto, Japan. The next day I drank with and said bye to Luke and then flew home via Malaysia. In the following 12 months there’ve been stag parties in Paris, my sisters wedding, travelling round South America, meeting funny people and stumbling on beautiful sights, having a summer at home drinking with friends and then the Middle East. I’ve smoked more this year, drunk less, enjoyed more (no connection there I hasten to add and in no way can this be construed as an advert for the vile filth that they call enjoyment. Stick to wrestling kids). I have to admit I haven’t really worked all year. But I will soon, once me and Christine finally work out where. And in all the post travelling revelry in London and Devon, I forgot to tell you about Israel and Jordan. So here it is….the final report from Egypt incorporating Israel and Jordan and Athens. As usual it involves great sights, generosity, cracking women and another one that you’re not sure about. With all the anticpation of a Kurt Russell film, read on..…
On the train leaving Luxor, home of the Valley of the Kings, I met Koji, a little Japanese who I’d met before. He’d spent a year working in Soho so proved good company. We took the train back to Cairo and he showed me a terrible invention, the Japanese-only hostel. As the only foreigner, I was obliged to speak Japanese which was useful for me. I showed Koji the bars. The next day we headed to Dahab, a wannabe Ko Samui, Bali etc. But it was trying so hard, I found it really trying. Bob Marley and hawkers everywhere, but no spliffs and not a lot of nightlife. Bob wouldn’t have approved. I managed to catch the rugby there though. The tossers that inhabit this place were just a bunch of patriotic Aussies who thought the name Lewsey was a funny name. Real rugby fans then.
I had to get out and that’s where the adventure began. The boat to Jordan was too expensive so I decided to pass through Israel. The border was an interesting place. When u are 20-25 in Israel, men and women have to do military service. The guys shoot cowering little kids (they were hiding after all) and (cough, cough) incite violence while the women….do border control. So I arrive and I’m greeted by 25 women. Not a man in sight. Nice. Nice indeed. Chuck Norris would be disarmed. They searched my bag, asked questions to which I replied tongue firmly lodged in cheek.
After leaving border control, I realised I had no Israeli shekels and there was no bank for an hours walk. In this heat, not a chance. I pulled into a nearby big five star hotel and asked the exceptionally pretty receptionist if I could change money but she replied only guests could do so. I begged, pleaded, trying to be cute and eventually she delved into her top pockets and said “here have this, it’s my tips.” What? I said I couldn’t but in the end I had to. I promised to be back. So after pulling into a shopping centre (full of cracking women), I got a taxi to the Jordanian border. Even the taxi driver reminded me of Stiflers Mum or MILFs as they are now known.
Jordan proved to be a slightly more developed Egypt, slightly. The border was full of lazy, surly tossers but you get used to that. The taxi tried to rip me off but I fought out valiantly. I stayed in a cheap hotel and searched in vain for the Man U v Rangers game. The bars are better but in the words of Joe Shiel, they are still dude ranches. At least women can drink and smoke here though.The next day I caught the bus to Petra, the city in the rocks, or famous for being in the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie. I arrived at the excellent Valentine Inn with the owner and was introduced to his Italian wife. Was I the only one who noticed that she used to be a man? We got up at 5.30am to get to Petra early. As we (two kiwis and a Canadian) walked along the narrow canyon, it was clear we were all humming the Indiana Jones theme song. And then Petra appeared, in all its glory. It was stunning. We climbed up to the Monastery, the first people of the day and Craig and I scaled the cliff to get on top of it and there is no point being brave or smart here, we were both shitting ourselves, not even approaching the edge. We wandered all day, marvelling at the tombs and construction efforts. That evening, we had a shishah (an Islamic smoking pipe) and sat round discussing the world and women and the wife. Great stuff.
The next day I headed back to Egypt via that 5 star hotel. I’d bought the receptionist some chocolate and a card and of course gave her the money back. She was really grateful and surprised but unfortunately I only had time to just give the present and ‘nothing else’ as I had to get back to Egypt to catch the bus to meet Koji again. We managed one drinking night and then I had to get back to Cairo to get my plane to Athens to stay with my teacher friend Accis. I managed to find his great, great apartment and he took me round the city during the day and drinking at night, travelling on his motorbike. His knowledge knew no bounds and it opened up the city beyond all the Olympic construction/deconstruction. I made it to the Acropolis though getting home at 5am each night didn’t help. Life as a teacher eh?
Jordan was awe-inspiring but expensive, Egypt, hmmm, think carefully. The hassle is so bad it’s an advert for tours and it isn’t pretty for single women either. It’s also possible to suffer from monument fatigue syndrome. Athens was cool though all those things that you previously thought about it, pollution, and congestion will probably be there next year in the Olympics. Leaving Athens airport, I changed my Euros back into proper notes with the face of enduring stability, wisdom, fortitude and homosexuality. God bless her. If only I’d waited. Action man figures were only 15 euros in duty free.
Back in Devon, at this local festival involving local idiots carrying burning barrels down the road, Dr. Luke asked if there was an ATM near, to get some cash. With an offended look on his face, the scorched face questioned “What? Are you from London?” Genius. After all this is the county with the panto, Snow White and the 7 Asylum Seekers”.I’ll post the photos tonight and send out the link.And yes, i’m still getting highly suggestive emails from the Argentinian girl.