14 February 2020
Hello everyone, hope you are all having a great week. I have been in Egypt playing on the MENA Tour this week and it was a pretty interesting affair. I will state now that this blog is open and honest so this probably is not going to be used by the tourism board of Egypt anytime soon. If anyone reading is super PG then might be a good time to stop reading.
I visited Egypt a few years back and I think I spent more time on the toilet than I did on the golf course! So learning from my mistakes of the past, this trip I have been living off Bread, Hummus, rice, grilled vegetables and pudding! The method to my madness is the belief that an undercooked carrot (there have been plenty) would probably do far less harm than an undercooked bit of Chicken (also seen plenty).
The best dialogue I heard this week was a conversation between a fellow player and the chef
Player: “This Chicken is raw, can you cook it please?!” Chef: “Don’t worry sir, it’s medium rare!”
Safe to say my veggies, rice and pudding diet worked and actually spent 5 days without Cairo Belly… Result!
I actually don’t know where to start with this trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I left Abu Dhabi as last time I didn’t go to Cairo, I was further down by the Red Sea. When we got out of the airport I knew it was going to be a manic week. It was complete chaos… it started with the driver of our mini bus having a full blown fight with the ticket officer and we weren’t even out of the car park. By the time we got away from the airport it was clear that Cairo was vastly over populated(26+million people) with large parts of the city in complete ruin and vast amounts of poverty clear for all to see. Miles and miles of huge apartment blocks 30 floors plus, unfinished with people setting up family homes with no walls and safety not even a consideration. It was a complete change from Abu Dhabi or the UK and the dust and pollution was like nothing I had ever seen. When we arrived at the hotel it was very much a relief, a very tired and old Hilton, but after what I had seen on the drive in, I knew this was palatial in comparison.
From a golf standpoint this week the course and facilities were unbelievable, couldn’t fault it. A very strong test of golf, in superb condition and in a few years, when the surrounds are not a complete building site will be a great spot to be. I can’t get over how dusty this place was, after each round, being a contact lenses wearer, it felt like I had sandpaper in my eyes! I did however really enjoy the course this week and that reflected in my scores. Rounds of 69(-3) 70(-2) 68(-4) for a -9 total and a top 5 finish. If I’m honest, I was disappointed with the result as that is probably the worst I could of shot over the three days as the putter was really cold but very promising signs from other aspects of my game. Huge thanks to the Mena Tour for a really well run event! The course set up was great on what I’m sure was just as stressful week for the organizers and all involved in the trip. The guys were great from start to finish and everyone at New Giza Good club were fantastic in hosting us.
To say that I’m happy to be sat on the flight back to Abu Dhabi would be an understatement. I didn’t really want to venture out too much this week from the hotel as it was just mental on the roads and seemed more hassle than it was actually worth. Finally, When my roommate and I tried to go out and explore this week it turned into a complete nightmare. The plan was to go and see the Pyramids after the second round. It ended up being a 2hour 30 minute Uber traffic excursion which was no fun at all. The most disturbing part was seeing someone killed and dragged under a lorry just in front of us. Even more disturbing to me than that was the very little concern from passers by, like it was the norm, a common occurrence. As I sat in the car nearly throwing up, they just beeped to get the lorry out the way and continue on with the game of real life Mario Kart. Bloody horrific!
When we finally made it to the pyramids, the police said they were closed and told us to bugger off… Egypt at this point was falling further down the list of places to take Lauren.
In summary of the week… Golf - Good Egyptian people - Lovely Everything else - Bad (very ducking bad)
That’s another week done, hope you enjoyed the insight. Anybody thinking about a visit to Egypt, good luck. I’m sure I have just had a bad experience this week but after a 4 year hiatus from my previous trip to Egypt, I think I might need 8 years until my next visit. Trips like this make me realize just how lucky we are, very easy to forget that.
Very much looking forward to a week off in Abu Dhabi to regroup and get the putter working ready for my next event in Bahrain on the MENA Tour. Game is in great shape early on in the year so hope to push on further from here.
Have a great weekend, all the best