This was the day of my second cousin’s wedding, the ostensible reason for my visit. The wedding would take place at the church at 1.30, then the bride and groom would go to my brother’s house to take the speedboat to make an entrance at the beach of the Sayadeen (Fishermen) restaurant. Then we should all go and celebrate with them. As the church is just a few minutes away, I left at 1.30 and met my cousins at the door. The weather was good with a slight breeze. This was the first time I had gone to that church and found it, like everything in El Gouna, well built, clean and beautifully decorated. It is spacious and very well lit. The bride was only half an hour late and the ceremony started. Here again was something new. The ceremonies used to be in Arabic and Coptic but in this instance English was added as well.
The bride, a gorgeous, dark beauty with lovely eyes, masses of long dark hair and a fantastic figure. Her dress of lace was form fitting and very elegant indeed. She made an eye-catching figure going down the isle on the arm of her father.
The priests presiding over the ceremony gave it all they were worth and it took the full hour. In the meantime my brother, his wife and daughter had arrived and attended the rest of the ceremony. After the ceremony was over, the guests started drifting out, we waited in the car to lead them back to the house where the speedboat was waiting, with the captain at the helm. My sister in law had ensured that flower petals were ready to be strewn on their path down to the boat.
We got there in ten minutes and it took the bride and groom another ten to get ready and to walk down the rock steps leading to the boat, with my niece strewing petals all the way. They finally got on board, my brother making sure that the captain had prepared a proper landing for them at the beach, then off they went with their party. Of course as we were seeing them off from the house we did not see their arrival at the beach.
We finally got there and when my brother and his family entered the restaurant, all the waiters and servers there greeted them warmly, the manager rushed forward to shake his hand enthusiastically and welcome him and the family to a restaurant that he patronizes a great deal.
It is a lovely beach restaurant built of wood, very rustic but quite comfortable. The view of the sea is fantastic and the beach was set up with lights for the wedding party. It is a sea food restaurant and seems to have quite a reputation in El Gouna for the great tasting food they serve. We were led to table number 1 where the family was seated and very close friends, including the doctor of the evening before.
It was not long before my brother got a call from the field and had to leave, but his family stayed on for another hour before making their excuses and leaving as well. Before they left my sister in law introduced me to the restaurant manager and told him who I was and asked him to show me around. The man graciously took me around the restaurant, and showed me, in detail, the prepared buffet.
This was the point where my downfall began, for included in the sumptuous buffet was one dish that left me salivating. GAMBAREEEE! Shrimps and lobster, grilled to perfection, their orange color contrasting with the succulent white meat. I must have looked very longingly at that dish on leaving the buffet, because the behavior of the restaurant manager later denoted that he had noticed my expression.
Anyway, I came back to the table, ordered a beer and waited impatiently for the buffet to open. I was getting quite peckish as I had had only tea for breakfast and no lunch, and it was nearly six in the evening. Finally the buffet was opened and we drifted in. I made a beeline to the dish I had in mind, served myself to four shrimps and one half of a lobster and beat a hasty retreat to our table to start devouring my favorite meal.
My fellow guests at the table all came back with other types of food, but for me that was it. The taste was out of this world and that is why this restaurant has such a great name for seafood in El Gouna. While I was finishing my plate, savoring every morsel, my attention was drawn to someone hovering over my left shoulder. There stood the restaurant manager, all in white, with a plateful of lobster and shrimp! I gasped! I think he asked me if I would like some more, but all I know is that this second plate was placed before me and I was in seventh heaven. An angel in white had answered my unformulated wish. I then became aware of my fellow guests starting to pull my leg about my yen for that kind of food, about preferential treatment being given to me because of my brother and very broad hints about blood being thicker than water and about charity beginning at home.
I tried to ignore them and concentrated on my heavenly meal, but it seems that the restaurant manager had guessed at what was going on. Our table was inundated by waiters carrying plates full of shrimps and lobsters that simply drowned us. I WAS in heaven. Fleetingly I remembered my Facebook friends and our GAMBAREEEE adventure in Alexandria at the end of last year, and made a mental note to tell them of my great fortune while trying to keep away any teasing note or even a gloat, from coloring my message to them about this meal.
This state of affairs continued till I felt I was turning slightly orange, developing some whiskers and sprouting out a few more legs and arms. But when I felt the urge to start crawling, face down, to the beach and towards the sea, I put a stop to my consumption and with iron will resisted the last piece of lobster sitting there begging me to eat it. My cousin did the honor.
By eight in the evening I was top heavy and could barely breath. So got up, took some great shots of the wedding, to add to the previous ones and to try to walk off the horrendous meal I had just devoured. The breeze was cool, the music upbeat, way out on the beach, the lights were very happily dancing on the breeze as the young guests were swaying to the beat of the music on the sandy beach. A lovely wedding, a happy couple, and two happy families celebrating their union.
In a few minutes I started to feel drowsy and thought it would be a good idea to go home. It had been a very long day so enough was enough. I called the driver and a few minutes later, having said my goodbyes and repeated my felicitations, I took myself off and headed home, thinking longingly of taking off my shoes and just lounging about for a bit. When I got home I found that only the children were there, that my brother was still in the field and that his wife had gone to meet some friends in the marina.
I changed my clothes and found myself getting into bed. I really was tired, so was quite surprised when my brother called to say that I should join his wife at the marina for dinner. I really couldn’t move, let alone even think of food! When I finally convinced him that I really could NOT, he gave in and hung up.
I thought I would just sit up in bed and read a while, but was suddenly woken up by the iPad slipping out of my hand as I dozed off. So turned out the lights, and for the third time, in three days, slept like a log.
To be continued …