Tawila

 

taewila gouna brochure

Tawila is an Arabic adjective that means tall.  In this form, the gender definition is feminine, as signified by the vowel ending. So let me tell you a few tall yarns, just for the hell of it.

Today began badly: no internet service, again.
I figured it was time to pay the bill, so decided to go to Abu Tig to the Orange Office there and do so.
But first, I had to sweep the villa clean.
It has been windy for the last day or so, and there’s been sand everywhere.
It got cold, too — again.
Last night Sandy the desert cat slept with me. Tommy was bothering her again, and whenever that happens, she yowls.
I am her protector.
So I let her in, and we slept with the TV on, but then I let her out around 3AM so she wouldn’t crap or pee in the villa.
This morning, as I was sweeping the designer brick front steps, I had to chase Tommy away by throwing a glass of water at him.
Then, after calling the Orange TV Triple Play help line to alert them about the Internet situation, I went to Abu Tig marina.
To do this, I had to deal with the Gouna microbus fiasco, which I will not describe here: it is too comically inept to even get into, other than to mention that I was almost nailed while getting into the Marina Line bus by a pair of pliers that fell down from the roof of one of these no-suspension contraptions. It had slipped out of the hands of a bus driver who was perched atop the roof of the adjacent West Golf line bus (the drivers park them in a slender as Red Sea rainbow sardines row in the dusty parking lot that’s in front of the Budget taxi and limo service office) and attempting to rig together a fan gizmo that was seriously falling apart.
At the Orange office in Abu Tig, I had to wait for some old German guy to decide on a TV/Internet plan. The crux of the matter was that he was staying 3 months and 4 days, and Orange only offers monthly plans (in 30-day serial increments, beginning anytime during the month.) or 3 month plans, etc, but not a plan geared specifically to this old coot’s stay.
So this guy spends at least 25 minutes trying to convince the desk clerk to let him buy a plan that matches the exact length of his stay, as I sat on my hands waiting.
Finally, I had enough. I said, can I pay my bill while you step aside and decide what you want to do?
The German asshole ignored this. You know the type: old, slow, rigid, overtanned, with in-shape but weird girlyman-looking, slimly athletic legs (he was wearing cargoes) for his age, and determined to get what he wants by being as obnoxious as possible. I turned on a dime into the taweel Luca Brasi of Gouna, and punched the Nazi fag shithead in the face. As he lied in a pool of blood gurgling out of his ugly old German mouth, I calmly paid the bill and left.
Okay, so none of that actually happened: I waited for the old coot to leave, then I paid the bill.
What is it about old turds that makes them oblivious that others exist in the universe?
I took the joke bus back. But first I had to wait for it by the hot dog stand in Basin 1 in Abut Tig. There, I was easy prey for all the tuc tuc shitheads who kept circling around and around right in front of me as I waited.
Finally the bus appeared, and when it was less than 20 feet away, another tuc tuc shit head appeared and made an abrupt (and dangerous) U-turn right in front of the oncoming bus, slowed down just so in front of me, and said in that annoying assholean way of theirs, tuc tuc?
So I punched him in the face, too, then kicked him in his lib-lib nuts for good measure. As he writhed on the street, also with blood gurgling out of his mouth (just like the Kraut), I stepped over him, got into his white Uber tuc-tuc, and drove home.
Okay so none of that happened either, but it could have. I certainly thought it.

Now for the good news.
With the weather warming up, I’m planning on taking a trip out to Tawila island.
Because of Operation Sinai, rumor has it the Egyptian navy is shooting at any zodiac that tries to head from here toward that often-contested peninsula — after all, Sharm is only 45 minutes by fast boat.
All I know is that I need a break from being trapped in this villa, even if it means only seeing only one island instead of three ( there are five in all that run parallel to the coastline of El Gouna: two are off limits for military reasons, and three that are usually accessible to the public).
When it finally became beautiful again today, I realized I had that I need to work out my frustrated writer hostilities by doing something other than trying to at least figure out the plot of my game-changing Gouna novel, that being the tallest tale of them all.

Expect gorgeous pics around Sunday or Monday, weather permitting.
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Athena Taverna Review — Part I

gouna weather

Gouna’s 13-hour Winter nights are really starting to grate. The bone chilling cold inside the house — a function of the stone-cold, carpetless floor, which makes the villa feel like a dry, airless. pneumonia-inducing mausoleum, is unhelpful in that regard.

I have never quite experienced cold like this. It permeates your body down to your bones, even if you sleep under several heavy blankets. I reckon I’m used to the year-round tropical warmth of Florida, which even in Winter rarely requires me to turn on the central heating — unavailable here; I have to make do with a small electric heater — and where I have never had needed to sleep under two or three heavy-duty blankets in order to keep warm.

I woke up, as usual, at 2AM, after going to bed around 9PM.  There is nothing to do, after all, in Gouna at night, except go to bars to drink foul tasting spirits, made in Egypt, that attempt to approximate the original; or go to those absurdly loud dancing night clubs in Abu Tig; or just hang out, eat awful, overpriced food, and people watch in desultory places such as downtown Gouna.

Five hours of this pneumonia-inducing cold in this house at night is about all I can take.  So I got up, brushed my teeth, and gargled with Listerine — the American version, my supply of which is getting dangerously low.  Soon I will only be able to gargle with Egyptian alcohol-free Listerine, which fails to deliver the primary function of this rinse: kill all the germs in your mouth and throat, thanks to the 30 per cent ethyl content. This is a crucial function of this product, a point that seems to have been largely overlooked in over-religious Egypt: why not offer a choice to those who would prefer not to have sore throats or halitosis?

I went downstairs and turned on the daffay’a (or electric heater) in the living room, and boiled some water to make chamomile.  After letting the cat in, who was freezing and hungry outside, downing a shot of Notussil cough syrup, sucking on a Strepsils lemon-flavored, sugar free lozenge, I settled down to write my review of the meal we had at the Athena Taverna last night in downtown Gouna.

gouna bus

We took the bus downtown around 6:30PM.  Mercifully the stalking English weirdos (see previous post) did not accompany us this time round, but we still had to contend with dozens of buzzing tuc tucs as we walked on the winding streets of downtown Gouna towards Athena.

I honestly think those things ought be banned, or at least severely constrained in what they are allowed to do — such as having their licenses permanently revoked if they buzz, inches away, from an unsuspecting tourist attempting to cross the street; or suddenly park directly in front of a tourist attempting to go for a pleasant stroll; or hissing at them like low-voiced snakes, repetitively uttering that hatefully insistent come on that starts to eat away at one’s brain and cause hives after any length of time in Gouna: tuc tuc? tuc tuc? hey mister, you want tuc tuc?  tuc tuc tuc? you want tuc tuc? hey mister!

I am not proud to admit it, but I have one more than one occasion whigged out and confronted them by yelling something cleverly original like: why don’t you go fuck yourself, asshole?

But they just drive away, immune to your suffering, desirous only to make enough money to pay the rent this month, looking for the next victim to harass, so such outbursts are fairly useless, as the predatory tuc tuc drivers continue to circle around every street and crevice and rathole in Gouna, like vultures, flashing their lights at you as soon as they see you (they of course drive, as many Egyptians do, with no lights on at night), beeping at anyone deemed a tourist with that unmistakably infuriating tuc-tuc honk, and in general making most tourists visiting this resort feel like prey being hunted in the winding, ill-lit, dirt-packed, largely unpaved roads.

We at last arrived got the section in downtown Gouna where the Athena Taverna is located.

Downtown is divided into two main, quite small areas, either of which would comfortably fit into Grand Central station in Manhattan.

The one nearer the Gouna line bus depot, is where you will surely encounter screeching Valkyries — that is to say, Egyptian children, with no parents in sight — playing in front of the Best Way supermarket till late in the evening, playing despite the unpleasant, jaggedy rock surface of this piazza.

The other section has less of a playground-vibe. It’s where the God-awful “Italian” restaurant called Amelia, and many other eateries of course, are located, such as Athena.

gouna atm

But first I had to stop at the ATM.  As many who visit Egypt know, Egyptians are immune to cancer, and thus smoke like walking shishas wherever they go — including inside the enclosure of this ATM machine, which stank to high heaven of fresh cigarette smoke — despite the wind — as I went through the laborious process of changing 100 dollah American by pressing all these various buttons on the screen, a filthy, no doubt germ-infested screen that was not, I might add, particularly responsive to touch, and stood there, inhaling the residual 170 gases of pure poison from the lingering cigarette smoke, waiting for the ATM to grind and clunk through its paces and belch out 1700-and-change LEs (those who care about such things might notice that you will usually be shortchanged, as the ATMs do not return any denomination lower than 5 Egyptian pounds, so if you are owed, after their commission, say 1768 LEs , you will end up with 1765, which is a tidy hidden profit, if you factor in the hundreds of tourists who are ripped off this way every day).

My lungs now thoroughly trashed by this carcinogenic ATM, we made our way to the nearby taverna.

 

(to be continued)

 

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