“Jiggy-jig, sahib?”

Photo Courtesy of Studio Kerop, Cairo.

Former days at the entrance to Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo. Photo Courtesy  Studio Kerop.

In my last blog I mentioned a penchant for flirting with luxury hotels by visiting the bar, etc., but never actually staying in any due to costs–apart from one night in Cairo’s Shepheard’s Hotel.

I’d been teaching English in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2000, and during my stay was reading the astronomically well written Pax Britcannica trilogy by Jan Morris, in which a section described Cairo during the early 19th century when the place to stay was Shepheard’s and the place to be seen was up on its roof-top bar.

“Jiggy-jig, sahib?” was the salacious suggestion thrown out by the local pimps to the hotel’s male clientèle  as they came and went through the hotel’s entrance, apparently.

I had to leave Ethiopia and re-enter it due to visa regulations at the time and decided to tie-in a couple of weeks exploring Egypt. Having led a relatively austere existence in Addis–staying at a Cistercian monastery–I decided to treat myself to one night of opulence at Shepheard’s before assuming my usual MO of hostels and low budget hotels.

I trudged into the gleaming entrance hall, a scruffy rucksack bulging on my back, unshaven, massive travel hair scaring the locals and wandered up to the front desk…(to be continued.)