Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Fuck Off Guide: Oberoi Al Arish

This is an undiscovered weekend getaway gem in one of Egypt’s least appreciated beach resorts. Located on the dramatic sweep of Arish’s probably-mined beach about halfway through town, it has those high ceilinged rooms and little touches of mashrebya that we have come to expect from our favorite Indian hotel chain. It even has little napkins that say “Oberoi” on them. In fact, it has pretty well everything that you would expect in an Oberoi, except the price. Oh, and edible food, decent service, clean sheets, working air conditioning, cold beer and so on.

That’s because this is the Oberoi that isn’t. This hotel has nothing at all to do with the lip-smacking palais des obsequity in Giza and out on the coast at Sahl Hashish. We don’t know how they came by the crested cutlery, but a quick enquiry with the Bombay mothership has confirmed that this place simply doesn’t exist.

Well hooooo-ray! What could be better for those little weekend fuckfests that never happened, than a hotel that isn’t there? Take the boss’s wife, your girlfriend’s PA, or that dumpy chick from marketing (you know who you are, Lamia—or was that Dina?) that nobody admits to schtooping, and rest easy in the knowledge that your privacy is assured by this simple metaphysical fact.

All the rooms are cheap like borscht, but this reviewer prefers the slightly bigger ones around the back, between the main building and road. Not only do they have a minibar to keep the hootch cool, they come with a back stage pass to the festivities when the Saedi team (black body armor, big blue transport trucks) come to to play an away game of rock-paper-teargas against the local boys (gallebeyas, little minibuses).

Excerpted from Fuck Off Egypt (NOP Publications, forthcoming). First published in NOP Weekly VI:7.