Monday, June 1, 2009

Dream Vacation

So I've been thinking a lot about travel lately, and I've decided that the problem with real-life vacations is all the planning, and these days all the timing - you have the buy this ticket by this date to get that rate, but you can't confirm that reservation until this date to get that deal... it's enough to drive you mad.

It's all just a big bore, especially compared to the luxurious ease of fantasy travel. I've decided that what I'd really like to do for the coming vacation is go to Cairo. In 1942. Oh, sure the war would be on, but by midsummer it was clear enough the Germans wouldn't get much further in than they had, and besides, we know how it turns out and could just enjoy the energy of so many soldiers at liberty...

Having sailed into Alexandria, we'd take the train south. Couldn't be simpler, and Cairo Central Station is very convenient.

Since it's 1942, we'd have to stay downtown to be in the middle of everything, and besides, the traffic's not so bad and Cairo is, after all, known as one of the tidiest cities in the world - some people say it puts New York or London to shame...

And staying downtown means staying at Shepheard's Hotel. Oh, it may not be quite as first-rate as it was in the 20s, but where else can you be really sure of knowing just what's going on?

Because the terrace, you see, is the city's great place to see and be seen. Ambassadors, actresses, the occasional refugee princess or suspicious plotter - all loiter for hours in the comfortable wicker armchairs overlooking the busy street and the passing parade of ladies shopping, Packards swinging down toward Suleiman Pasha Square, or groups of children, tidy in their school uniforms, on their way to play in the nearby Ezbekia Gardens.

Tiring of the bustling city, we could retire to the secluded garden behind the hotel...

...or rest in the cavernous neo-pharaonic lobby.

As evening falls, we would of course repair to the bar, where American, British, Italian, and Greek bartenders each have their specialities and their own devoted followings.

And then, to finish off a long day of travel, perhaps a quick turn on the garden dancefloor before some well-deserved sleep. Tomorrow, we have so much to do, and that nice attaché on the train said he might be able to get us places for the concert gala at the Opera House; they say the Queen of Iran might be there, and...


  1. I tried some fanatsy travel once. Sadly, I chose a mini-getaway for Valentine's Day Dresden.

  2. How cool it must've been in those days to go to a big city with only one hotel where anyone who was anyone would imagine staying. That way you knew you wouldn't miss any of the good dish.