The Orton's on the Nile - 2005

Trunk Bartering

Trunk Bartering

Refreshed for a moment or two we wandered round some likely looking diving and snorkelling store for some trunks. Adam had his heart set on a decent snorkel set and Luke just wanted to buy everything. First two places we went in were determined not to haggle so we left them, obviously they were more used to suckers than Ortons.

While Adam was reducing the one proprietor to tears over the price of his hand made Chinese snorkel and goggles set, I had a look at the genuine speedo trunks that they were offering for a very good price £20 to very special English people. Yeah, that may be so but, I did not quite believe the genuine logo any more than I believed his grandmother had emigrated to China just to make these trunks for me by hand.

Knowing I am no longer the slim ten and a half stone of Queen’s assassin , I sorted out a pair that claimed to be XXL size and was mildly surprised to find I would struggle to get one leg in this pair. Goldilocks would have had fun with their sizes. After searching through the variety of randomly marked sizes Annette finally found a pair that she thought would fit; small!!! No doubt about it they were the best fit in the shop and had plenty of room for more cake so we settled down to haggle over price. Adam got his snorkel for £5 and I got my trunks for £4, boosting the Chinese economy ten fold.

Poor old Sean was a little lost by now, although I suspect he was just as sharp with his money. Tell you what though it was thirsty work and we made our way out to another cheap bar for more refreshments. This bar became our firm favourite and we spent many a night refuelling there. It was of course open air and dirt cheap for half litres of ice cold beer. You slumped down on low benches with huge cushions and the whole place had the feel of an opium den out of a Sylvia Krystal porn set. Nice!

This bar was near the end of the main street and close to a police station where we saw a group of forty or so tooled up Egyptians on parade looking like they were ready to take on the Magnificent Seven. Just round to the left as we were travelling was the Naama Bay beach and we had a look to see what the sand was like. We were told the beach at our hotel was a tadge on the rocky side and this was just a bit further round the coast. Was no great shakes from what I could see, very narrow and not a lot of space.

So we had done a quick recon on the town and found an off licence come supermarket that did bottled and canned beers for prices that rivalled our best buys in Berlin (the Jordan-Orton expedition). Adam even managed to get a waterproof throw away camera for £3.50 with a built in flash. First impressions of Naama Bay town? Blackpool without the trams and with the best weather. They had all the tacky tourist goods and a few decent buys too, but it just was not the real Egypt by a long shot.

Laden with our vital supplies, we even had a few drams of water just in case, we headed back towards the minibus. Now this was really going to be fun. It was getting on for midnight and the place was still bustling with activity and despite our earlier impression that the roads could not get any worse we were clearly wrong. Taxis and police patrols were whizzing about all over the place at a great variety of speeds and in about five lanes of traffic on a road designed for three.

Obviously we made it safely across or I would not be hear to retell the tale, but it was a bit like a white water ride crossing through that lot. As we waited for our hotel’s minibus, the entertainment continued. Taxis would triple park, the driver nonchalantly walking across to try and get some custom. Then there would be a loud speaker announcement and flashing blue lights as a Landover with armed police waving machine pistols clearly told them to move one or else. One idiot even left this door open and the engine running while he went to talk to another cabby. The cops jumped in and drove off with him running behind waving his arms. At least they did not shoot him.

One point of warning here is that we discovered that flashing your light in Egypt does not mean; ok mate on you go , it actually meant get out of the way cause I ain’t stopping. Even the police patrols use this one when they were trying to remove one of the biggest parking jams and it worked every time. Well I guess the old Peugeots were not up to being hit by an armed Landrover.

We made it back safely, the driver weaving in and out of traffic like a natural and not even getting shot at by the police. Life was good. Staggering under the weight of the cheap beer and water, clutching my trunks we walked back to the room. It was still warm enough for a quick dip before bed.

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Copyright 2005 D.J.Orton and A.G.Morris