Monday, October 15, 2007

The Fuck Off guide: Mojito, where your glass is always half full

We guide book types are trained to find the good in everything. After all, if we can’t sell the destination, how can we sell the guide? And selling’s what it’s really all about. Case in point: Mojito’s. On the roof of the venerable, and truly crappy, Nile Hilton, this place seems to have nothing at all going for it. The food’s overpriced, the portions are small. The drinks, including the eponymous Cuban cocktail, truly a velvet upholstered brick to the temporal cortex when mixed right, are watery, bland ersatz reruns of the real thing. The service is slow. The waiters are ugly. The troll who hangs about in the bathroom handing out toilet paper is too friendly by half [&?prob warrants Xref to Gay and Lesbian Travel]. To the ordinary eye, in fact, about the only thing that this place is good for is killing yourself: a swan dive from the 14th floor of the Nile Hilton into the forecourt of the Egyptian Museum would be a classic, truly classic, mode of death. Especially if you were to leave behind a substantial unpaid tab.

But witness the tradecraft.

Duel with disaster at Mojitos. That’s the hed. And the body runs like this: perched high atop vibrant [&?great word that, no?] Midan Tahrir, Mojito’s is what an Oberoi helipad would look like if there were such a thing. Wind-swept, but softly lit, bleak but scattered with wicker patio chairs. It is also, what with a two-for-one happy hour every night and a howling gale, the perfect spot to play the Fuck-Off guide’s favorite outdoor drinking game. It goes like this: order a beer. Pour it in a glass. Set the glass near something you don’t want soaked in beer (a laptop is perfect, but your lap will do). Now, when the glass is full, the wind can’t tip it over, but as soon as you drink the ballast and the glass gets lighter, it begins to wobble in the gusts. Pretty soon it’ll tip and spray sticky golden Stella into your keyboard. Key is to order another beer before this happens. Repeat as necessary.

See how it works? Take a bland, shitty place with nothing going for it but its palpable faults, mix in a generous shot of alcohol, sprinkle generously with vague adjectives, stir vigorously and… voila, another entry for the guide.

Excerpted from Fuck Off Guide to Egypt (NOP Publications, forthcoming). First published in NOP Weekly VI:9.