Today is our last day in Port Ghalib, so I’m determined to cram every bit of indulgence and beauty into it in an attempt to escape the reality that I’m about to return to a freezing winter and the daily grind of Johannesburg traffic. Freaking hell, as the Americans would say.
But the harrowing fact that I’ll soon be spending countless hours in the gym trying to shed that last schwarma/bowl of homemade hibiscus ice-cream/syrupy waffle/caramel pancake I just couldn’t resist will not get me down. I’ve resolved that there will be many transgressions today and that ‘It’s my last day!’ will be the justification for every single one of them.
Somehow I manage to abandon my much-loved Egyptian cotton sheets and my Ultra pillow ‘fitted with soft hollow fibers’ at 5.40am to amble down to the quiet beach and catch the sun as it rises over the Red Sea. It’s a spectacular sight as the red orb of the sun pulses up over the horizon and colours the entire ocean a throbbing red. This bold, red painting is actually one of the reasons for the Rea Sea’s name. There’s also the justification that it comes from the Bible when Moses crossed the ‘sea of reeds’, which then became the ‘Red Sea’ over time – amongst other lengthy, historical explanations which are probably best left for Wikipedia to explain (yawn!).
Next is a hearty breakfast of slices of yummy watermelon, orange and pineapple, rounded off with a caramel pancake (cue: ‘It’s my last day!’). My next mission is to fry my skin round the pool. I’ve unfortunately been a bit over-zealous with the application of sun block since we arrived so I’m not sporting a killer tan and have decided to take drastic action. Gulp, I’ll just have to avoid my killjoy dermatologist for the next few months, as I know ‘It’s my last day!’ won’t cut it with her. (Wait a minute: guilt isn’t allowed in heaven or on last days – ha!)
I get a bit of a shock though, when I go to reception to finalise my bill. I only called my Significant Other six times (and the longest call was a mere 11 minutes) but I’m being charged almost R1600 for the necessity! Stern note to self: either bring Significant Other along next time or dump him.
But undeterred (‘It’s my last day!’), and clutching my frugal Egyptian pounds, I head for Port Ghalib’s Marina to plunder the curio shops bursting with obligatory souvenirs such as Sphinx and pyramid statues, intricate backgammon sets, delicate perfume bottles, camel toys and Sheesha pipes.
I pick up some beautiful silver and turquoise Ancient Egypt-themed pendants for a steal (about R100 each), two mini black and gold pyramids and then can’t resist buying a statue of the black-skinned god Min. He’s the god of fertility and orgiastic rites, and proudly clutches his erect penis in all depictions of his splendour. (I can already hear the COSMO staff tittering over their new mascot and the endless discussions his huge member will illicit.)
Later, we enjoy the most incredibly memorable last night. First the COSMO SUMMER Swimwear crew and I watch the sunset from the beach, then languish over our last Egyptian banquet and finally return to the jetty to watch the swollen full moon dapple the dark sea with dancing light. I’ve never seen a full moon like this before and I know I never will again. Heaven on earth indeed…
Somebody please kick me before I lose my COSMO street-cred and collapse into my weepy-gushing-Gwyneth-Paltrow-accepting-an-Oscar routine! But, it’s been real.