Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A tale of two resorts

A tale of two resorts

My dearly beloved daughter in law is in the yuppy phase of her career and so she is spending five weeks on assignment in Abu Dhabi. She is into this new-fangled Internet stuff and she has set us photographs of her staggeringly luxurious apartment. 

By pure chance, we are at the other end of the Arab world, in Tunisia. This country seems to be the only one which has come through the "Arab Spring" in good shape. The airport is modern and efficient: the immigration officer dealt with us in about a minute. The people are friendly, with genuine smiles. The street vendors  - so far - are not too persistent, unlike Egypt 30 months ago, where they were a real pain in the patootie.

Our hotel, the Royal Kenz, has been mostly refurbished although it has a few slightly tired bits. It's a 4 star hotel, with an old-fashioned air of elegance and quite a few touches of North African (Muslim?) architecture: mosaics, marble, curved and pointed openings and mirrors, diagonally criss-crossed wooden screens. The food is good and plentiful - thank heavens I went on diet three weeks before we set off. 

The value for money is astonishing. This morning I bought a peak for playing tennis. The price tag said 6,900. Upon enquiring I found this meant 6.9 Tunisian dinars or about £2.30. At a hotel shop. Colleen and I are off on a two day desert safari later this week. Total price for two of us, all inclusive, is £150, including all transport, meals and, well, everything.

And while Tunisia is a Muslim country, they serve alcohol without demur. You are expected to be dressed smart casual for dinner but the rest of the time, especially around the pool, people wear as little as you might expect in Southern Europe or Florida.

So while I think of my dearly beloved daughter-in-law living in modern luxury in Abu Dhabi (and doubtless working hard to deserve it), at the other end of the Arab world we are enjoying a gracious holiday that is the kind of slow-paced relaxation we love.

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