Day 383: Eric The Frenchman


To say I was being incredibly lazy today would be an understatement. Not being interested in doing, well, anything much. There was a bus that left at 10pm that would take me all the way to Amman in Jordan (via Nuiweba and Aqaba), so Kendra and I conspired to go get the ticket and go for some drinks before we had to leave. Well, that was the plan…

In the event, (not that you’d know, because it wasn’t covered in the news at all) Egypt was suffering from its worst flash flooding in decades. A dozen or so people had been killed by collapsing buildings and a British guy had died down in Aswan when his yacht capsized on the Nile. So the roads were closed and we weren’t going anywhere.

How bloomin’ Biblical.

So Kendra and I slinked off to the Stella bar in downtown Cairo. You know what they say, if you can’t get what you want, you’re best off getting hammered. Or something like that.

The Stella was its usual colourful self – full of ex-pats, backpackers and drunken Egyptian men falling over. We fell into a rather animated conversation with a couple of old British queens, John and Nigel, and their utterly bananas French friend, Eric. You know the French guy who throws the cow at King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail? That’s Eric. Loud, obnoxious and preposterous (and with Roman Polanski’s hair), he kept us entertained all night with his ludicrous pontificating “The World… there is no hope… it will end in fifteen years”, “Global warming… it is all ze fault of ze Anglo-Saxon people”, “The British they did nothing for France! Nothing!”. That final comment was enough to make even the mild mannered John snap and explain in plain English that it was the British who dug the French out of the crap TWICE when Germany gate-crashed the party. The whole thing was hilarious.


Graham Hughes and Eric Lang, Egypt January 2010
The best pub banterer of all time finally meets his match


Kendra was less than impressed with his announcement that dolphins did not communicate with one another (“Do zey write poetry? No. Zey are feeshh. Feeshh have no language”) and I was on hand to constantly wind him up in a way that has been honed over many, many Sunday lunches at the Hughes household. He was so ridiculous I kind of wanted to take him with me – he’d be great for getting into fights behind the bike sheds.

Your father was a hamster and your mother smelt of elderberries, indeed.

We ended up in some hotel bar, abusing the age-old dictat that hotel bars may not close until the last customer leaves. We left at 6am, by which time Kendra and I had drunk enough to flood a small town. I recall little of our return journey to Kendra’s flat, but suffice to say, it was a damn entertaining night out. I fart in your general direction.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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