Here are my first impressions of the new villa in Gouna, Egypt, that I moved into yesterday. I will be staying here a month, making it a 7-month stay in my first foray overseas as an expat from America.
It is quite obvious from the news with each passing day that something increasingly sinister is going on in the United States. This is going to play into the decision by my wife and I to return to Gouna in October for what may end up being a 9-month stay, but is far from being the only consideration for such a move. I have a couple of weeks before I have to tell the real estate agent we want to book the place in the Fall long term; this way the joint doesn’t get rented out from under us.
Last night I slept in the bedroom on the top floor of the villa; it has a commanding view of the cove and the Red Sea in the distance. Bad mistake. Though the bed was nice and big, I woke up at 2AM with terrible lower back pain. I should not have risked sleeping on a bed with as soft a mattress. I took a blanket and spent the rest of the night on the floor in the living room in with CNN on. By morning, the back situation had improved. Luckily there are two other bedrooms in the villa, and the larger of the two with an equally pleasant lagoon view has a nice big bed with a hard mattress. That’s where I’ll be sleeping tonight.
I am back again to being near Abu Tig marina. But unlike last time (Sept – Dec), I am on a cove that is on the other side of the marina. My previous stay at Abu Tig was a nightmare, due to all the noise. The situation here is quite different.
Even though there was a lot of noise in the marina due to some apparently by-invite-only World Cup display event at the same theater where they had the film festival ceremonies last year, the dawsha (racket) was definitely bearable — thanks to a greater distance from Abu Tig, and houses on the other side of the cove that block the noise, which was not the case when I was renting the apartment in the marina itself during my first 3 months in El Gouna.
I think I finally will be able to swim in Gouna (beyond the one time in late September when I paddled about on Mangroovy Beach). This cove is perfect for taking morning or afternoon dips. With both Abu Tig marina and downtown Gouna within easy walking distance, I should finally be able to make additional headway attacking the fat belly monster issue.
Let’s see how it goes. I really like this place, even though there were issues with the front door (the lock does not work properly), and one of the bathrooms was running continuously; in addition, there was an issue with one of the windows in the dining room. But I called the real estate agent handling the property, and he immediately arranged for Orascom to fix it, which happened this morning.
Overall, I would give the place a B+ (for the view and location).
It does not get an A because the owner tried to be too clever by half with odd carpentry (leading to unstable window treatments and weird verandah glass doors that tilt backwards if you turn the handle a certain way) and overly elaborate electrical circuitry schemes (for instance, you have to specifically activate with its own button each separate plug connector in every wall socket).
Nevertheless, so far, so good, with one important caveat: the front door was left open for an hour when they changed the locks, and critters from the garden flew in. So now the place has gone from being bug free to hosting these massively irritating skeeters and other strange flying insects that abound in Gouna.
In addition, a huge fly and a wasp flew in when I opened the verandah doors for a few minutes to let in some fresh air. It does not have a screen.
I have grown rather weary of having to constantly deal with this sort of thing in Gouna, and I am already starting to dread the approach of evening when they will pester me for hours on end. Maybe this just isn’t the right place for us after all, despite how much I like so many things here in Gouna, and Egypt in general.
Exactly 30 days before I leave on Saturday, April 14th.
Will it be for good?