Losing my virginity

No not that kind of virginity you mucky individuals! The time had come, I’d spent years flirting with the idea and finally I had decided to break my oath and lose my package holiday virginity. If I’m honest I think I was less nervous of actually losing my virginity, that would only last minutes, my package holiday virginity was going to last a week!!!
I’d toyed with the idea for years but every time I looked into it I decided I’d much rather go backpacking in some remote dusty corner of India. This time it was different, something had happened to me in Africa, some would say “Dave, you’ve changed” and I think they might be right! I’d spent eight long months grafting at work so that I could have the time off to go to Africa to see Gen and for me, eight months without a holiday is unheard of. As breathtaking and exciting as West Africa was it was hard work, it meant travelling long distances every few days in cramped conditions in unrelenting heat giving us little time to actually sit down and relax. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have done it any differently, it was a brilliant experience and I’d go again tomorrow if someone were offering a free flight but it wasn’t really what people would call a holiday, it was more of an experience.
So, at Christmas Gen and I decided we’d do it; we’d lose our virginity to package holidays. A few bottles of prosecco deep on Boxing Day and we started perusing lastminute.com for holiday deals and quickly found a place of interest, Egypt. Neither of us had ever been, we knew the weather would be good, we’d heard good things from friends in the past and more importantly, we knew we could always hop on a local bus and escape to Cairo if the boredom all got a little too much for us. That was it then, it was booked and we sat there in a bubbly induced daze almost a little concerned that we’d actually booked an all inclusive holiday… maybe I had changed, but I still book holidays when I’m drunk, some things will never change! 😉
January 11th the day it was going to happen, I even borrowed a case and ironed my best clothes for the occasion. We headed to the airport wearing smart jeans and shoes with our expensive winter coats on, I’d even booked the executive lounge I was beginning to scare myself. As I sat in the lounge filling myself up on pastries as though I wasn’t going to have a proper meal in weeks Gen reminded me that we were going all inclusive, I would be getting a three course meal in a matter of hours. I put the pastry down and picked up a beer instead, I was genuinely concerned that I would be bored senseless, I get bored when I have an afternoon at the beach, I’m not one for sitting still, I like to be doing things. What if I got to the airport and didn’t have to haggle for a taxi? What if I don’t feel like I’m going to die at some point within the next seven days? What if I don’t get ill? Will it still feel like a holiday? By beer number three I was starting to relax, It will be fine, if I get bored I can go diving, go to the pyramids… I can do something!
Arriving in Sharm el Sheikh I was instantly confused when I had to join a queue relating to my holiday provider so that I could get my visa, I was then met by a man with a board with my name on, guided to a coach and shipped off into Naama Bay… all very normal to most people, all very surreal to Gen and I. We were deposited outside our hotel, the Marriot Mountain, it was a 5* apparently and although we’d not been expecting much it was actually pretty nice. I had my bag taken out of my hand, usually I would have run after him and hit him to get it back but apparently that’s the done thing on these kinds of holidays. We were shown to our room and I must say it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience from leaving Manchester to arriving in the hotel; I was starting to like this already.
After a lovely dinner the night before we woke up the next morning and went for more food, lounged around the pool and then went for more food. We weren’t hungry, but we’d paid for it so we were naturally going to eat it! The majority of the first day went by pretty quickly until we started to get fidgety at around 4pm. We decided we’d wander into town for a look around but had heard that the Egyptian men were really bad for hassling you… I have to say that although they tried, I’ve experienced much worse elsewhere. We found a little bar, it had wifi it even had sofa’s not plastic chairs, it was all very luxurious. A few beers later and it was time to head back to our hotel for dinner, there was no need to daub myself in mosquito repellant as I wasn’t at risk of catching malaria so I was able to wear aftershave and smell fresh as opposed to smelling of chemicals that seemingly kill my skin but not the bloody mosquito’s! We watched some of the evening’s entertainment and went back to our air conditioned room with a bed with a duvet and our towels folded into funny animals. I was definitely starting to see the appeal of holidaying this way.
We decided that although we’d been enjoying ourselves doing nothing, we still wanted to see some sights so decided to book a trip snorkeling in the Red Sea and a trip out to Cairo and Giza to see the Pyramids. Typically, being backpackers at heart we declined the quicker and more expensive offer of a plane to Cairo and instead opted for the much cheaper 2am bus to Cairo which took 9 hours each way, some things never change! After a busy day looking around the Egyptian Museum, cruising the Nile and seeing the Pyramids we set off back to Sharm only for the bus to break down in the middle of the night meaning that the already long 9 hour journey took nearer to 12. We felt like backpackers again!!! Arriving back at the hotel some 25 hours after we set off we went back to the room to find a selection of breads and cheese and some cakes, someone had thought that we might want some food after our long journey. You wouldn’t get that in a grotty hostel in Ghana! The next few days were a combination of more food, more beer and snorkeling… not in that order, obviously that would be just plain silly!
In conclusion we decided we actually quite liked being package tourists, would we do it again? Yes we would but we were probably lucky with our choice, we met numerous people who were moaning a lot. Having said that maybe we were just happy with a nice bed and lots of good food?

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