• Al-Ahram Squash Open NEWGIZA • 17-23 Sep 2016 • Cairo, Egypt •  

   Everything you didn't know you needed to know about the Al-Ahram Squash Open
#1: Mena House Hotel | #2: Le Lido City View | #3: Squashing Al-Ahram


This summer hasn't been the greatest time for me. Everybody has heard of that heartbreaking disease called Alzheimer. It's a disease that doesn't make you forget where you put the keys, but what the keys are for. It's a sh.. one, and my mum, bless her heart, has it. But she has the "smiling version" Elhamdoulillah. As in, although we can see hear fading away day after day, she is still singing, and laughing and thanking the people that are taking care of her, every day.

Taking care of an elderly parent is a normal fact of life. It's not easy, and basically, you just do not sleep anymore. Always on the "qui vive", on your guard.

Going to Nantes last week, two hours from Paris by train was a strange change of scenery for me after two solid months at home with no travelling. A bit of guilt and relief at the same time, and the will to make sure the event would get the coverage it deserves, in two languages, sure kept  me busy.

So I have to admit I arrived in Cairo Mena House as flat as a a crêpe ... pan cake, whatever name you give.

After spending the first few hours getting my personal internet/local sim card sorted thanks to my friend Tamer Mamdouh who as ever picked me up from the airport, always there to help me whenever I'm in need, we got a customary MoriSushi, this time in New Cairo. Arrived at the hotel by 1am on the 15th. Needless to say I missed the breakfast the next day, barely made it to lunch around 2.30 ...

It took me a while to get used to where I was, as the hotel is vast and with several focus points.

The main building, the oldest part, originally was a royal lodge for Ismaïl Pacha, first Vice Roy, then Khedive Ismail (as in Egyptian Royalty 1830/1895). It was enlarged  for the Opening of the Suez Canal and the visit of l'Imperatrice Eugénie of France like the Marriott I told you about back in December during the Ill Fated World Team event, is the closest to the Pyramids.

Basically, it's off the street that takes you to the Pyramids, by camel, carriage or whatever means of transport you wish to use!

Ten years ago, we were in the Meridien, just a few metres down the road but this time, we are at the Mena House, former Oberoi, is THE closest to the Pyramids.

From the café shop on the ground floor or the Khan El Khalili Restaurant on the first floor, you just cannot miss the main Pyramid really.

Across the main entrance, you'll find the most impressive/breathtaking view, that's from the outside of the 139 restaurant. Whether during the day, or at night, you cannot NOT stop and having your breath taken away by the proximity and solemnity of the scene.

And if the hotel could do with a better internet connection - no wireless in the rooms for example, and the cable not being well, the best - and a few other little details, I can only quote Tim Garner, PSA tour director, who keeps on saying, every time somebody is complaining about one thing or another "yes, I know ... but do you know where  you are ???", pointing at the Pyramids ...

Yes. Exactly. There are moments in life, like when you see the Bay of Hong Kong for the first time in the middle of the night, or the Hologram of Legend Shabana behind the court just in front of the Pyramids 10 years ago for the last Al-Ahram, apologising to his country for not reaching the final, where you have got to stop, and be grateful.

Be grateful to be involved in such a sport that allows us to place a court in such a place as the Pyramids.

Be grateful to be in a position where countries/Federations like Egypt, promoters like Mansi, trust you to cover and make the promotion of their precious events.

Be grateful for the welcome, the care, the love you get the minute you put a foot in Egypt. Merci à toutes et à tous.

Be grateful for that stupendous sight you get to see every day at breakfast, and every night after your meal.

Be grateful that you are part of a sport where the Athletes are your friends, your idols as well as  your children.

So yes. I am grateful. I am grateful I'm allowed to be here, covering this legendary event, ten years after my first visit to Egypt. The little I knew then how important this amazing country was going to become, taking over my whole life really.

Be grateful for everything. I am.

Elhamdoulillah, very much.

Mena House History
More details
Video Montages

Mena House welcomed
Cairo Conference, 1943:
Plans for Overlord, the invasion of Europe, had to be discussed by Churchill, Roosevelt & General Chiang Kai-Shek.
The Big Three conference took place at the Mena House Hotel.

Prince Farouk and The Australians enjoyed eating at mena house

Daily Mail Article

Mena House welcomed
the pre-Camp David talks, where President Sadat met with President Carter and Prime Minister Began.
Salam, Shalom

The Mena House Oberoi

Video History of Mena House, Part 1

Video History of Mena House, Part 2

#1: Mena House Hotel | #2: Le Lido City View | #3: Squashing Al-Ahram

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