Ramadan at the beach is a surreal state of mind. The beach resorts up and down Egypt's Mediterranean coasts suddenly acquire an end-of-season look about them in mid-August, as the majority of the vacation population evacuates back to Cairo. The glamorous young things in bikinis are gone, after one last weekend of partying like Rio before Lent. For the die-hard vacationers who decide to remain during the month of fasting, the desperate beach resort businesses re-invent themselves: little planes buzz over the beaches, trailing streamers advertising Ramadan "sehour" at the same nightclubs that served whiskey and rock only a few days earlier.
With the reflux of thwarted vacationers back to steaming, miserable Cairo, new problems arise: a shortage of electricity and water as the returning millions of residents crank up air conditioning systems and fill their swimming pools and water the golf courses in the suburban compounds. The table conversation at the lavish iftar and sehour parties circles around the power cuts and water shortage and the potentially dire consequences of neglecting Egypt's Nile Valley policy, whence the country's lifeline of water is drawn from the African hinterlands of its neighbors to the south.