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ISSUE 13 ARCHIVE - SHARM DOS AND DON'TS - POLITICS

Traveller

Political Dos

Do Admire the wonderful work of Middle East Peace Envoy Mr Tony Blair esq. What a fantastic job he has done. Not just happy with causing chaos in Iraq when he was holding the Prime-ministership until Gordo felt good and ready to take the reins; it's all kicked off on his watch. Mubarak must be furious. Thirty years as leader, he has offered Tone the best of Sharm hospitality on many occasions, and what does he get in return? Yes, arrested. Due to Blair's inability to fan the flames of peace and keep the status quo his ex-best mate is banged up. Thank your chosen higher power that he didn't become the first President of Europe. There wouldn't be an EU now. [That's why the FrancoHun blackballed him. And whilst there... Brown, in the running for Head of the IMF... do me a Rodney. Ed.]
Ralf Tech
Do Use your downtime in Sharm to practise bribing a copper. You never know when you will need this dark art back home. So, get good and slick at the 'ole greasy money in the palm into his pocket at the taxi rank at night. Not only is this not frowned upon here, but it could be considered mandatory. So go on, just walk up and ask a simple question, "Which way is the beach?" is easiest. Then a 100 LE note in your thumb crease slipped into his left jacket pocket, and you have ticked that box in life left mainly to East End thugs. So, next time you are stopped, off your head on dope and Absinthe, on the M6 back from Stoney, it will be a well versed action that gets you off the rap.

Do Go to a traditional Sharm wedding if you are lucky enough to be invited. A three-day festivity involving camels, doves, traditional dancing and ancient Bedou tunes. It should not be missed. Invitations are rare but gained after dark on the strip in Sharm, when you are having a late coffee by young local lads keen to get to know you better. They will be wearing Sergio Tachini shellsuits and are known as the Ragahim or the Choosers of the Chosen. If you or your lady are well fit, offers seem to be more frequent. However, a warning note, on most occasions when attending the wedding, blokes seem to end up being the stripper. And if you are female, you may be the bride.
Do Know your Egyptian leaders over the years. It helps in minicab conversations, and can help pass the time when under arrest for failed bribery (too small a note). As a quick revision note, there was King Farouk. Awesome fez and party animal. Revolution brought Mohammed Naguib. A one year term before twenty years of house arrest. Up next, was Gamal Abdel Nasser. Visionary and had a lake named after him. He was seceded by Anwar Sadat. More serious, shot at an airport. Then came Hosni Mubarak. Moustachioed but under house arrest in Sharm. I find an easy mnemonic to remember Farouk-Naguib-Nasser-Sadat-Mubarrak is FNNSM. F****** Never Never Shag Mentalists. The gaffer now is a caretaker manager in military fatigues. Though word on the streets and hubble-bubble cafes is that Harry Redknapp may be offered the top spot out here soon.

Do Vote for the National Democratic Party next time there's an election. You will be in good company. They hold 81% of all the seats. They also get to nominate 10% more as the election winners. That leaves a few crumbs for such parties as the Tomorrow Party [Seriously. Ed] and the Muslim Brotherhood. They did win a hefty 20% before, but Hosni M clamped down on them so they couldn't repeat the feat next time round. Justice was done, as they had a large part in the Tahir Square rock throwing festival.
Adventure Divers La Manga
Political Don'ts

Don't Laugh when you realise that it all kicked off in Egypt only AFTER it had happened in Tunisia. They feel acutely embarrassed that they had to take the lead from the little country next door. It's a bit like plucking the courage to ask your parents for more pocket money, only to find your half-witted younger brother did so before and actually got it. Having invented civilisation, writing and sphinxes, your average Egyptian is gutted to know they wouldn't have revolted unless the Tunisians had done it first. "We were going to do it honest. We were just waiting for the rocks and bottles to arrive in Tahir Square," they all say.

Don't Forget the Suez Crisis. They haven't. And it was one of Britain's darkest moments. After concentration camps and Operation Ajax* that is. In a nutshell, Egyptians want to dam the Nile for a bit of HEP. That's going to raise the water level of Lake Nasser, flooding ancient tombs and statues. We pull out of agreed funding. They nationalise the Suez canal to raise a few quid to do said project. We send in the troops to keep it open. The Russians save the day by moving the statues entirely up the lake side. We hastily evac the troops after a political kicking from the rest of the world. Prime minister resigns.

*Google it. We stiff the Iranians for oil wealth.

Don't Ever mention King Farouk. The ultimate in playboy princes that became regally useless once crowned. He makes our bloke that abdicated look as hard as nails and our current crop of Princes look intelligent. As a fez-wearing-Ritz-living-casinoholic he will never be bettered. As the head of state for these lands, a dynasty that has included Cleopatra, Ramses and Ptolemy, he was crap. Imagine the bastard love child of Gordon Brown and Tommy Cooper. You have King Farouk. They had to have a military coup in the end. And down the line that all begat the riots in Cairo. His fault really.

Don't Give baksheesh. "Something for meeeee, Sir", accompanied by the thumb/forefinger rubbing and the cheesiest of leers is known to us all. They would have us believe it is traditional alms, like Maunday money or the Xmas box for the dustman. But no, it is a cancer that rots Sharm to the core. Replacing goodwill with belief that any tourist/diver is an eejit who really thinks being sold a postcard then requires a tip. Worse still, after a groping on the dive boat by one of the deck hands, girls are then expected to pay for the pleasure. My favourite was once asking the way to the post office, being directed then hugged with one arm as the other made masturbatory motions and the words "baksheesh English" slavered into my ear. I get my own back now by loitering outside the Egyptian embassy in London and offer to 'look after' the diplomatic vehicles for 100 LE a time.

Don't Worry about the poor and disenfranchised in Sharm. The Egyptian constitution has a neat subsection that states that 50% (yes, that's half to you and me) of the MPs voted in must come from the 'workers and peasants of the country'. Next time you are begged off, "Get elected" should be your witty retort. A room boy looking exhausted, or the hotel gardener sweating in the midday sun with a failing sprinkler system show him this very article as inspiration for a life in Cairo on expenses. But for Allah's sake, don't let them stand for the Tomorrow Party. 0.1% chance of winning a seat with them. Best to be a peasant with the National Democrats a shoe in, if they owned a pair.
OonasDivers

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