Sunday, November 15, 2009
Before I got to Dahab, I would have told anyone that asked me about my experience in Egypt that it was interesting and I would probably never go back. I was even going to write just one post about my whole trip to Egypt, and basically say, here’s the pictures, been there done that, the end. And then I got to this small beach town on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula-and my whole perspective changed.
This place is like a surfer’s bungalow. I arrived at my hostel, sleep deprivated and a bit leery, wishing more for an Italian village than another foreign experience at the moment. The place is tucked off a little dirt road, it’s 7:30 in the morning, and there’s not much life to be seen. I get my room, not too many surprises. No toilet paper, no soap; a shower stall (which was more than the place I stayed in Cairo which simply had a shower fixture hanging on the wall in the bathroom across from the toilet-oh yes, and Cairo had cockroaches), and a bed with one sheet to sleep on top of. Hmm, at least I had a private room and bathroom. But rather than lock myself in and drift back to sleep, I had to see this place and find out why my friend loved it. So I walked down the dirt road, past the back of the hostel, and found myself on this beachfront promenade staring at a beautiful blue sea and breathtaking mountains right across the short span of water. It was breezy but comfortable, sunny but not too hot, and I felt like this was an entirely different Egypt. Almost everyone spoke English, likely due to the high number of tourists that fuel the businesses here. It’s a hot spot for diving and snorkeling, thanks to its incredible coral reef and warm water temperatures in the summer and even early fall. There was mellow music drifting from some of the shops, beach front restaurants with an eastern style setting: cushions on the floor or other reclined eating positions. Life was clearly just waking up, and no one was looking to rush it. The promenade stretches much further than the town off the water, but it’s no wonder why seeing how beautiful the coast is. And while these people speak English, there’s no lack for Egyptian culture and authenticity. I was so excited to feel at ease and not so lost, and I spent the rest of the day comfortably wandering, bartering with shopkeepers, taking pictures, and just enjoying the peace that had been absent for four days. Tonight, I’m getting ready to hike Mount Sinai. For those looking for a different adventure than the water sports, they offer midnight hikes on Mount Sinai for a sunrise they say you will never forget. I guess I’ll have to give you my take on that tomorrow. We get back mid-day and I’ll take another night bus back to Cairo to fly out Tuesday afternoon. As soon as I catch up on my sleep, I’ll post another update to you all. I still can’t believe I’m in Egypt…
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