Read Me/Disclaimer

Read Me/Disclaimer: This is a non-political/socio-political blog. It's a running tale of my Saudi Arabian adventure, great, good, bad, and ugly. It is uncensored, and I don't really care what you think of it, read it or don't. I don't care. I did not decide to do this as a means to an end, but rather to document the means with which I occupied my time while waiting for my end... All that being said, I'm an American Expat in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The opportunity to help build this system and the salary that accompanied it were to good to pass up.-Geoff

"The views presented here are just the views of some asshole named Geoff, they are not necessarily the views of my employer, my co-workers, my family or anybody else. First hand knowledge and second hand accounts were used to compile the information. These are not scientific facts and figures. These views are not necessarily supported, endorsed or even appreciated by the KSA the USA or any other country for that matter and the author makes absolutely no claim that they are."**

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cairo Marriott-Zamalek (Egypt Pt. 1)

First off this is going to be short...You see I'm still here, so sitting in my room blogging when I could be out experiencing Eid and Cairo is just stupid.  Second of all, I'm still here, so who knows a mugger might attack me as I try and check out tomorrow which would of course cause me to add to this post...But as of now.  This is what I think of the place. 

How do you know you're in love?  You just do.  Well I'm in love with Cairo, but it can get a little busy, a little crazy, a little dirty.  None of that is a problem here, because this hotel is a fortress and a sanctuary in the middle of Zamalek, a more upscale part of Cairo, and an Island in the middle of the Nile.  

I love this hotel
I give it a 5 Star rating hands down, no question.  And right now, because Egypt's tourism industry is still in the toilet, it's only operating at 50% capacity or so.  BOOK IT!

Hotel and facilities:  5 Stars, originally a palace from the 1800's, the Hotel is sprawling, luxurious and just...awesome.  Do yourself a favor and spend the first day getting lost for an hour, it helps you appreciate the splendor.  

Staff:  5 Stars, If they were any friendlier they'd be hitting on you.  From the bellman to the housekeepers, to the front desk staff.  All are exceptional.  The Concierge is nothing short of incredible.  Book your tours through her when you arrive.  

Banks:  5 Stars, 4 or 5 different to choose from, ATM's that accept your cards, money changing services etc...

Casino:  3 Stars, If you've ever been to Las Vegas and gambled at the MGM Grand, or the Luxor, or Caesars're ruined for life.  I've never been to casino's as nice as those ever since I left the West Coast and stopped going to Vegas.  As far as I'm concerned the casino here is a small smokey room in which to gamble.  Not really a whole ton of fun.  I won $60 which was kind of cool, but other than pay for the drinks, the women aren't beautiful, and none of the other patrons are particularly friendly.  Arabs are funny gamblers, they don't seem to be having a good time.  they gamble like they're trying to make money, rather than have some fun.  Last night a large and opulently dressed Saudi man was sending an army of people to place bets on different tables simultaneously...all the while he stood back, stoic, watching and occasionally collecting his winnings and sending out another bet.    There are a few well dressed and highly made up women floating around, but they don't play much nor do they stand by their husbands much.  Generally they sit back near the wall or the entrance and talk to each other.  They seem to be in the 45-60 range if that's you're thing.

Restaurants:  5 Stars, The food is excellent, the patio perfect, the Steak's cooked to perfection.  However it isn't cheap.  One of the highlights is getting a bottle of wine with dinner and having it sent back to to your room when you're finished.  Menu's and selection go from Asian, Italian, Western and Middle Eastern. 

Bars:  4 Stars, You can drink in almost all of the restaurants, but "Harry's Pub" is to my knowledge the only "Bar".  If you're coming from the west, give it 3 stars.  It serves any and all liquors, has a few specialty drinks and most importantly for me has Ice cold Stella beers a plenty.  Free little munchies come with your drink and they're not bad.  Ladies of the night frequent the place though, however they're pretty upscale and will leave you alone if you just politely tell them you're they're to drink.  I've stopped in to this place 3 times now, and last night was the first time I had any trouble.  A young, drunk Arab man (I believe Egyptian), came over to me at the bar, ordered a drink and asked where I was from.  I told him Saudi Arabia, he looked confused so I explained that I'm from the US, but work in Saudi Arabia.  He asked where in the US, I told him St. Louis, again he looked confused so we tried to sound it out and explain where it was.  Eventually, I mentioned Missouri (which he seems to have known) and he angrily said "why didn't you just say that!"  "Why did you try to trick me!".  I asked him where he was from and he said "Queens".  Queens, New York I questioned? and he puffed out his chest and loudly said "NO!  The land of Queens".  At this point, about 3 minutes in to the conversation.  the manager who had been watching attentively suddenly appeared and grabbed the mans arm.  He began quietly yelling (?) at him in Arabic and was very animated.  The man looked down at his feet, apparently ready to cry.  The manager reached out and took his glass of scotch away, and roughly led the man back to his table.  He then apologized profusely to me.  I was just about to go over and tell the man that I would gladly kick his ass all the way back to his "Land of Queens", but reason got the better of me.  The two 6' plus European men behind me, who had according to their shirts attended the Royal Military Academy and played polo there had noticed the occurrence, but otherwise the bar patrons were clueless, and carried on having a good time. 

Location:  5 Stars!  PERFECT 30 min from the airport, 30 min from the pyramids, 10 minutes from the Museum, ON the Nile.  5 min walk from Bodega and Deals bars. 

In Saudi, this young lady would be told to cover up...

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