Are you sure this isn't Thailand?

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
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Trip End Jan 09, 2010


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Where I stayed

Flag of Egypt  , Red Sea and Sinai,
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It was an interesting introduction to Egypt. I didn't get any Egyptian pounds before I left, so the plan was to lift some at the airport when we arrived.  Unfortunately the only cash machines at the airport are in the arrivals lounge, so I had to be escorted back through the aiport by an armed guard to lift money out, leaving Michelle standing holding our bags and looking like a little white European fish in a big Islamic pond. 

After that our taxi driver had to stop for petrol outside the airport and so we started our journey with a massive argument with some guys at the petrol pump.  Lots of shouting and pointing, we were sitting in the back of the minibus wondering what the hell was going on, thinking maybe he didn't have the money or something.  Eventually he got his petrol, climbed back in and explained the the whole argument was because the guy wanted him to turn his van in the opposite direction.

We arrived at Sharm el Shiekh, where basically if you have an all inclusive package holiday to Egypt, you'll find yourself here.  Despising package holidays, we headed for Dahab, an hour up the coast.  Lonely Planet describes Dahab as "a slice of Thailand in Egypt" and they're not wrong. We love this place.  It's relaxed, warm, some of the best SCUBA diving in the world and not many tourists.  The tourists that are here are mostly backpackers, so it's a very different feel to it.

The Red Sea has some of the best dives sites in the world, and there's an old shipwreck here called the Thistlegorm.  I'm qualified to dive it, but I don't have my log book with me, so one of the dive shops agreed to let me do it if I take a revision dive with them first and then they can judge whether I'm capable or bullshitting them. Even just diving off the shore here it's pretty amazing, lots of tropical fish and wonderful colours.  I take the revision dive and it's all good, and for a Chirstmas present I buy Michelle an introdution SCUBA dive, so she can see just how amazing it is.  She does incredibly well, especially never even having snorkled before.  Most people panick a little the 1st time they go under, and thats after training, but Michelle was so comfortable she managed to stay down for 45 minutes.  A full proper dive!  She had the diving instructor holding on to her tank the whole way, making sure she didn't go down too far, or up too fast, or stopping her from touching Lionfish (!), and he agreed she was a natural.  :)

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