Funny how an event seems to be verrrrry long when we have to
report on 8 matches a day for 6 days, and verrrrry quick when we
have 4 or 2 matches….
The event has been busy I didn’t have a chance to tell you how
we work here…
Bad girl, bad…
WHERE ARE WE?
First, we are at the Club Paradisio Resort. Initially a French
Resort – Club Med – it was apparently the first hotel in the
area (dixit local Press, don’t shoot if it’s not exact). Which
explains probably why the Beach is so nice – again, dixit Cubs,
who took photos.
we have our rooms (basically, the tournament people) around a
little swimming pool, that seems to have a lot of success with
the Officials. If you go to the right, you find yourself at the
reception – very helpful.
Then from reception, you go straight in front of you, you’ll
find the biiiiiig swimming pool, with a few shops, a bar, very
prized as you imagined with the splendid weather we are having.
You keep going through nice gardens, and you arrive at a funny
construction that looks like a pier, in a star shape. That’s the
Marco Polo Restaurant, where we were having our breakfast. Well
I have about 3, then had to stop, because I really didn’t have
the time to walk all over there and back, so just had a cup of
tea in my room – thanks Omar for the kettle!
And behind the restaurant, the beach. I find the pictures very
lovely, and Cubs confirmed that it was a very beautiful one
HOW DO WE WORK?
So that’s where we were staying. Where did we work?
2 years ago, where the qualifying was held in Alexandria, this
time, we played all the qualifying matches in the one court –
excellent court truly – of the Movenpick Hotel, another stunning
resort a few minutes from the Paradisio.
For the first part of the event, three days, all the matches
were played there. So the plan was to go and eat at Moods at the
break – thanks to a very well organised shuttle service, not
like 2 years ago bless them – and come back to Movenpick. Then
back again to Moods to eat dinner.
needless to say we didn’t have a break every day, and that at
the end of the long matches/day, we just went back to the hotel
and died there!!!!
Once the “real tournament” started, it was a bit simpler, but as
short between the sessions as before. We smelled our delicious
food more than we ate several “lunches”, and again, instead of
having a dinner, back to the room to collapse and work some
Now from the quarters, life has finally started! As the glass
court is about 120 seconds from our Moods food provider, things
are extremely simple.
Work in the morning from the room (I still haven’t managed to
get any breakfast), then off to Moods for 5, food, then off to
the tournament office next to the court, set up, matches, run
like a headless chicken to try and get quotes from the Egyptian
players – Mission: Impossible – writing reports, and dinner at
Moods, breathing the lovely sea air and relaxing.
So last day today. Tomorrow, off to Zurich for the Grasshopper,
on my own, Cubs is going home, and will be working on the event
from remote, while I’ll be stuffing myself with White Chocolate.
I know, life is tough but somebody’s got to live it….
El Gouna EN BREF
everything you never knew you needed to know about the El Gouna
El Gouna EN BREF Issue #1
everything you never knew you needed to know about the El Gouna
TUK TUK DAY….
After a pretty hectic few days in Paris, where I’m finally
managing to go back to my real job (acting for those who don’t
know), with heavy/variable schedule going from 4.30 am start on
one day, and a 5am finish on another, grabbing one hour sleep on
the Egyptair flight Paris/Cairo was a bit of a relief!
My flight was fine, but Cubs London/Cairo was 90m late. And he
only had a a 90mgap efore the Hurghada flight. Instead of that,
I found myself pleading with the Egyptair personnel “don’t leave
without Cubs!” kind of feel!...
he and Greg Marche (who was coming from Paris) eventually made
it onto the Hurghada flight. Add to that Omar Abdel Aziz who was
sitting right next to me on the plane and it was a very pleasant
ride indeed! Not sure the other passengers enjoyed our constant
chatter and catching up, but I certainly did!!!
After a short trip to El Gouna by minibus arranged by the lovely
Omar El Sherbini, Tournament Technical Director, we arrived to
the Club Paradisio Resort about 1am. Quick check in, room
sprayed for mosquitoes – they seem to feed off the thing to be
honest, must be a mutant race – twin beds joined together,
unpacked and zzzz at 2am. Pfew.
The fun part started the next morning when Cubs – right next
door – and I decided to get to the Breakfast. The place is truly
lovely, beautiful swimming pools (plenty of them), private
beach, airy reception, but the challenge is to get from one
point to another. The directions are a bit subtle, if they exist
at all, and you need a compass to find your way! I’m sure you
get used to it (Cubs is already finding his way like a native),
but I keep getting lost. Which I know, is not that unusual…
catching up on the many many mails and things to do for the
sites/tournaments running at the moment, off we decided to go to
the Glass Court. Took a tuktuk of course – Cubs would have
rather taken the shuttle, but I looooove the TukTuks.
We arrived at the Marina, and started looking for the court. We
already knew it wasn't on the same location as the
previous years - where they actually are organising a Fashion
Show as we speak (and guess where the Models are staying? Oh
yes, same lovely Paradisio resort, the boys are happy happy).
We walked around, and couldn’t find the glass court, so we went
to Moods, the beautiful restaurant that is again sponsoring the
tournament this year, bless their lovely cutlery and gorgeous
food. We asked the barman directions: “it’s very simple, you
take a tuktuk, you ask him to take you Downtown to a place
called Germany, he’ll know.”
So we went back allllll the way to the entrance of the Marina.
Took the “Number 1 Tuktuk” driven by a lovely man called Mimo,
who said, “well, I don’ t know that place. But I tell you what,
we’ll go to the Information Centre downtown, they're’ll bound to
we go to the Information Centre. On the counter, leaflets for
the El Gouna Open. That started well we thought… So we pick one
up and say, “that’s where we want to go…”
“It’s situated at bla blabla” the man says. We understand enough
to know that he means the old venue, so we say, "not this year,
that was two years ago”.
“Oh you mean the Squash Tournament," he said. "I thought you
meant the Fashion Show!”.
Anyway, he gives us the right direction, the New Marina. And off
we go again… to come back EXACTLY where we were.
Basically, if you look at the sea from Moods, and turn left,
there you are. About one minute walk away…
our TukTuk story doesn’t stop there. Trust Cubs to give you
another heart attack after the “am I going to make it to the
flight in time,” on the tuk tuk we took back to go back to the
Paradisio, he managed to forget his case with camera, phone,
money and room key.
Thank GOD for some strange
reason, I spotted the TukTuk number (3), and the Hotel Reception
very swiftly got on the phone, and talked to the man himself.
Within 10 minutes, Cubs was reunited with all his stuff.
Back to the room – I again needed Cubs direction – and here I am
typing away… It’s sooo good to be back in El Gouna….
Thank you Amr Mansi. Thank you Omar El Sherbini….