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Fear and Loathing in El Gouna

We've all had family vacation disasters. Waleed Mowafi has four.

It’s called the process of elimination; a method of deleting options, knowing full well that all of them might be wrong. A certain amount of luck is required, especially when only two options are available. Last weekend, however, I had four. Yes, that’s right. Four wonderful female specimens who had already shown a keen interest in me, meaning I could potentially get some willy action. Now, I am fully aware of both how crude and chauvinistic that sounds. However, self-sabotage is my forte and even though, after reading this article, none of them might want to talk to me again, it’s fine because I’m already used to that kind  female contempt. The stage was already set: a flurry of manyaka events were lined up for the weekend, from Audio Damiana to byGanz’s Tea Dance to Nacelle, which I knew the aforementioned females would be attending. Game on, motherfucker! Well, that was until the following conversation occurred with my sister, last Wednesday Night:

Amy: We are  all going to Gouna this weekend.

Me: What? I thought you were going with a couple of the team to close some accounts.

Amy: Yeah, well the weathers nice, I only have a couple of meetings, Adam’s girlfriend is here from London, so I thought  let’s all go up. Yusef, the baby, Timmy. Mum and Dad… Let’s have a nice family weekend!

Me: Oh, that sounds pleasant but I’m not going, I have plans!

Amy: Well, you don’t have a choice. I’ve already booked the flight and hotels.

Me: Don’t you think that’s a bit fucking presumptuous of you? I told you I have plans.

Amy: What plans, Waleed? You do the same shit every weekend: standing in dark rooms, listening to shitty, khabt music, doing drugs. That’s your plan? Huh? Is this how you want to live your life? Grow up!

Me: What? Why would you make such a remark? How could you be so insolent? I’m putting my foot down. I’m a 25 year old man. I’m not going to be privy to your last minute decisions. I’m not going and that’s final.

So I arrived in El Gouna on Thursday afternoon, feeling somewhat tumultuous to say the fucking least. I checked into the Captains Inn where my room was so small that, quite frankly, I would be reluctant to let a dust particle check into it. Well, technically it could, but it would be slightly pushed for space, poor little dust particle. I think to myself, perhaps that’s the norm here. Plus I didn’t have much of a choice as the hotel was fully booked. I leave my bags and go for a walk to take a gander at the other rooms. I wander down the corridor and knock on the  quarters of a couple of the girls who work at MO4. The door opens. What do I see? A plush sofa,  spacious storage units, room to walk or even do lunges if one so wishes, large, inviting double beds and a comfortably-sized bathroom. Maybe they just got lucky. I go to another floor to check out my older brother’s accommodation. What, you ask, is in front of my eyes?  A room triple the size of my own with stunning views of the Marina. At this point, I’m feeling rather disheartened so I decide to find the nanny’s room to see my little niece Maya; she always cheers me up. I knock on the door, the nanny swiftly opens holding the baby Maya. Now, for some reason, I was not concentrating on my nieces cherub-like cheeks or smiling face. All I could focus on was the room in the background which quite literally resembled the fucking Queen’s suite at Buckingham palace, compared to my peasant-like quarters. Yes, the nanny was really living it up…
My Room Vs. Nanny's Room

Despite everything, I thought to myself:  “Don’t be silly, Wally. You’re in Gouna, the weather is beautiful, you’re with your family who appreciates, cares about and loves you. Especially your older sister, Amy, who trusts and believes in you wholeheartedly. You can have nice times, YES, sometimes it’s nice to be nice…”

Incident number one – We all head to dinner at Pier 88. The banter is lighthearted, the mood is high, the drinks are flowing and the sumptuous dishes start arriving.  However, I’m not feeling well at all. My chest starts to close up, my muscles are cramping and I start to get a headache. Although delicious, I take a few bites of my lobster tagliatelle, lay down and remain in a rigor mortis-like state for the remainder of the evening. My sister looks at me in complete disgust…

Incident number two – After the above Pier 88 indecent, I went back to the hotel to chill and have a couple of drinks with some of the girls from the office. I start to get really fatigued and fall asleep in the centre of their bed in a  fetal/gambari -like form. I wake up the next morning sweating profusely. ‘Yes, that’s the way to win respect among your employees Wally! Fall asleep in the fetal position, in between 2 of them.’ I woke up groggy and unwell so I went to the nearest pharmacy. I paid for a cocktail of very strong pain killers and antibiotics, then stumbled to Moods beach where I ran into my sister once again. She says, in a stern voice: ‘”Where the fuck were you at breakfast?” I didn’t respond. My sister looks at me in complete disgust…

Incident number three – After popping the  fabulous cocktail of meds – the kind of cocktail one can only consume in Egypt, where the saydaleyas not only don’t care what your ailment is, they are pretty imprudent to the fact you may have a allergy to said medications. I can only describe  pharmacies here as Pic ‘n’ Mix sweet stands for grown ups. Any way after popping these meds, I started to feel somewhat fluffy. Something I can only describe as a minor form of mahkboot. The pain I was feeling in my chest and muscles started to subside slightly.

So my little brother and I decided to have a little fun. We purchased 12-15 plastic guns from Best-Buy and proceeded to run around the marina harassing people like infants. We then went up to a friends suite to chill and shoot down more Gounies. Just as I has spotted some people to shoot, a joint found its way into my hand and before I could refuse it due to my illness, I spot my dad and my sister walking past. They both see me in a leopard hoodie, a plastic gun in one hand and a joint in the other. Needless to say, my sister looks at me in complete disgust…

Incident number four – It’s our final day in Gouna and I’m getting increasingly worse. I can barely drink, eat or move but we all had to meet at the pool of the Sheraton, where my parents were staying, for a spot of  lunch. Everyone is partaking in happy family time, pool frolics, playing with the baby; it was like a scene out of the fucking Brady bunch. I am curled up once again ingambari formation, under 5 large towels, shivering. I can only imagine what I looked like. My sister spots me from the pool andlooks at me in complete disgust…

We are all in the car the next morning on the way to Hurghada airport to catch our flight. My whole family: brother-in-law, niece, plus ones and girlfriends are all in the car. I turn to my mother who’s sitting up front, adjacent to my sister, and say: “I’m really feeling terrible, something is definitely wrong…” and then I get this firestorm from my sister:

‘”Shut the FUCK UP, you fucking junkie! We are all getting really busy and I wanted one weekend of nice times together. You’re not sick, Waleed, look at you! You’re coming down like you’ve been at one of your disgusting khabt parties. You barely ate at any of the dinners, I could never find you when we were all having breakfast together, I saw you acting like a fucking addict on the balcony with plastic guns, you didn’t even want to come in the pool, you had five towels covering you, shivering like a heroin addict. SORT YOUR FUCKING LIFE OUT, WALEED.” *Proceeds with the now-expected look of disgust*

I arrived in Cairo and immediately collapsed in bed, writhing in severe pain. My mother called me a doctor who, after doing some tests, diagnosed me with having a severe chest infection. The truth was, I had not touched any form of recreational narcotics. In fact, I had barley even drank that whole weekend.

Amy, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that I forgive you for making such wild, outrageous accusations and that I am willing to be the bigger person here because your key-hole mentality leads you to believe that, because I occasionally attend parties with house music and some times pull all-nighters on weekends, that makes me a ‘junkie’ and thus gives you the righteousness to announce (at the top of your lungs) such slander on a hotel transport vehicle,  in front of our whole family. Perhaps next time you have the flu, I will call child services to take away your baby and force you into rehab.

Cant wait for the next family trip…