Framboise Gommendy reports
Funny how my life seems to be guided by the Nile and the Pyramids. Since my first visit in Egypt, in Sept 2006 – and strangely enough in the same Meridien Hotel we are staying this time round – I seem to be attracted like a magnet by those Immense Energy Powerhouses that are the Pyramids.
I chose my flat in Maadi -one of the prime locations in Cairo for the expats – because of the Nile, as I have a superb view of it all through the flat. To my great surprise, I realised later one that I could see three sets of Pyramids, including the Giza ones, from my windows, and I actually placed my bed to be able to glance at them as I work…
As I made my way to the tournament hotel Le Méridien, I couldn’t not remember my first visit, that crucial moment where I fell head over heels in love with this mad, incredibly powerful, untamable country, where the only rule is: there is no rule.
If last time I was covering the Al-Ahram in 2016, I had a pretty small room facing gardens at the Mena House, this time round, thanks to CIB support, I got the top floor suite with the terrace literally facing the Pyramids. If James Willstrop reads this, I can see him shaking his head thinking here she goes again…
The power, the energy coming from those stones is just second to none and I am so grateful to the CIB team that got me there.
The hotel is not recent, but it’s very well organised, bright, with extremely helpful staff – my mini bar was not working? Less than 3m later, the man came back with another one in his arms, I kid you not!!! The food is delicious, and it’s really nice to see the high number of tourists launching an attack on the buffet!
The Shooting Club where the first two days are going to played is a bit far away from where we are, it’s in Dokki, not far away from the island of Zamalek, the most touristic area of Cairo, and the traffic could be a bit of a worry, but we will just have to see how it all works out…
Another worry for the organising team is the weather. Some incredibly heavy rain brought the city to a complete halt, and one of the referees who was in Cairo Stadium for a course with Newlywed Roy Gingell, left the Stadium at 4pm yesterday to finally arrive to her house – normally about 15m away – at 11pm. True story.
It could obviously be a problem if the rain was inviting itself to the party. But Insha’Allah, it is supposed to rain only for the two days we actually are at the club. So we should be fine à la grâce de Dieu.
We know this event presents challenges – when you are playing outside and with two venues, it is bound to be a bit more complicated than an inside event – but the Organising Team, CIB and PSA are making absolutely their best to ensure it will be a tournament to remember.