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The Oasis Hotel in Heliopolis, Cairo – Don’t go! It’s no Oasis.

The Oasis Hotel in CairoThe name certainly sounds nice, but like the agreement on price, the name holds no meaning at this particular establishment. I’m certain that I’ve stayed in worse hotels. The hard part is remembering where and when that was. The one positive thing I can say is that I didn’t get bit by any bugs – but, I did have to sleep in a room that smelled like it had been fumigated just minutes before I arrived. I woke up coughing RAID fumes at 3 am. In fact, I woke up a lot. This wasn’t due to anything but my own paranoia. It was just that kind of place. The door had previously been kicked in and the lock had never been fixed.

The security bolt had been ripped off but replaced with just one undersized screw so that didn’t make me feel any better. The windows didn’t bolt or secure and the one chair in the room was too small to fit under the doorknob and the clothes bar from the closet wasn’t long enough to make the windows close.

The bathroom appeared to have not been cleaned in years – if it had been, it was only a bad cleaning. In terms of the room itself, it was a 1980’s TV and an air-conditioning unit that continually dripped water on the carpet (and had been doing so for years) while rattling and banging. The noise from the street was too much to sleep with the window open and besides, I had odd security fears since I was traveling with a big wad of cash and jewelry for my wife – not something I usually do, but I expected a short layover with a controlled environment – not this madness.

The sheets had about a hundred holes in them and the shower curtain was covered in mold. This is a 3-star, they assured me at the airport before I foolishly handed over my $50 without seeing the room. Not something I would normally do, but I needed to be back at the airport to catch a connecting flight and the tout told me this was my best option – why or why did I believe him?

Traffic in EgyptAnd there I was – sleeping on a massive mattress covered with holes and waking every thirty minutes as doors slammed and lights flashed across the windows. At 6:30 – I was fully awake feeling cleaner without a shower in the filthy bathroom, besides no towels. Breakfast was unrecognizable meat cooked with onions and some sort of awful beans.

I like middle eastern food. I’ve had delicious Egyptian food, I’ve had breakfast all over the world – but this, I don’t know what this was except awful.

The driver last night was on the phone with someone and kept saying “No money” and it was quite surely in reference to me since I was paying as cheaply as possible. He asked for a $1 million dollar tip. He got nothing. Nor did the hotel. Nor did the barrista, except he took it in the service charge.

My head hurts – the bad AC, the bug spray, the lousy sleep, the lumpy mattress, and constant feeling that I might be robbed or molested by bedbugs in the Roach Oasis.

(Note: I ended up in this situation by taking an online booking from Tripsta.  I accidentally booked for the wrong month and they would offer no refund – Egyptian Air had a flight to Cairo but not to Casablanca directly – the Tripsta Agent told me it would be no problem to get a connecting flight on standby – as it turned out – it took 3 days.  Once I checked out of the Oasis Hotel, everything got much better – in fact, I even enjoyed myself. )

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Vago Damitio

Mr. Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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