SHARM EL SHEIKH AND MOUNT SINAI

Trip Start Aug 15, 2003
1
6
56
Trip End May 01, 2009


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Flag of Egypt  , Red Sea and Sinai,
Friday, August 22, 2003

THE FLIGHT TO SHARM EL SHEIKH.

21st August today, and it is the 7th day of the trip. More people are returning to Athens. We are all driven to the airport and say goodbye to the ones who return, and we get a flight for SHARM EL SHEIKH. The flight is at 7.55 a.m. but we have to be at the airport 2 hours earlier.
(We are sleepy in the mornings.....but there is no alternative)
My experience tells me that usually the Hotels give us the keys after 2 or 3 in the afternoon, so I take along with me in my handbag our swimming suits and a towel. We reach the 5 star IBEROTEL PALACE very early in the morning, and we are told that we have to wait in the hotel's garden till 2 o'clock to be give the keys.... I KNEW IT !!!! We are lucky!
We can swim and sunbathe and enjoy a full day, while the others are sitting in the café feeling sorry for themselves.

It is this same evening that I find out that the people from the group will spend just two nights and leave. It is only me and my husband who will remain for a week here.

The hotel is beautiful......but many from the group including myself feel sick. We have diarrhea, and our stomach hurts. We get some medicine but it is pity that we cannot enjoy the nice buffet the hotel offers.

22nd - VISITING MOUNT SINAI

We have a Day trip to the MOUNT SINAI to visit the Greek Monastery of Saint Katerina. I don't feel so good today, but we have already booked for the trip so I cannot avoid it. I get my pills and I pray to God that all will be ok. Besides, there are others in the group who feel the same.

The trip is interesting, but long. We were driving through the dessert and I was ok by the time we reached.
I was inside the Church for about 15 minutes when I felt dizzy. I wanted to lie somewhere and I was about to faint. I asked for help and the leader from the local office drove me to the coach.
When getting in the bus I went to place my belongings in my seat. The local leader saw me doing that, but insisted that I have to go to the very last seat and lay there. He even brought me something to cover my body, and also brought me a cup of tea. He seemed helpful, ...a real gentleman I though, however he returns to my seat and I see him standing there.
I feel SO WEAK that I cannot say a word.....seing that he was so helpful I could not believe what he was doing in my seat. He was standing there for about 3 minutes, and then he went outside.

Later on when the group finished my husband came to see me and told me that we are having lunch at the restaurant just 20 meters from the coach. I felt much better, and I join the group a few minutes later.

Lunch is over, and we are driven back to the hotel.
The first thing I do when getting in the room is to empty the handbag because I had taken a dress which I had to put on when entering the Monastery. Oh my God!! Now I understand why the local leader was standing next to my seat while I was lying at the back seat.... He robbed me!!
He has taken 400 euro - the money I was supposed to have on my trip to Cyprus - some days from now -.
I have just 40 euro on me now!!!

I am panicked and run down to the reception. I find our Greek leader and ask him to get in touch with the local agent. I thought that they would scold him, or even manage to get my money back.... The amount was big and I did not want to believe otherwise. The result was that I was informed that he is considered to be one of the best local leaders in the area, that he is very rich and he does not need to steal money, because he has enough, that he works just out of hobby, and things like that!!! I am SO angry with these people!! You cannot do anything. One supports the other, and they probably share it.

Anyway, I am a positive person..... I got another lesson!
This was to happen, but I have to move on. It is the last day of the group. Everyone is telling me how sorry they are but nobody can do anything.
Our (friends) leave us early the next morning, and me and my husband have at least 5 more days to spend here.

I feel much better today. I always try to feel positive, and I enjoy long hours by the beach. The waters here are so salty that you have to try hard to dive. I get some flippers and a snorkel from the hotel, take the boat that comes every half an hour, and head for the coral bay. I am there every afternoon looking at the colorful fish and corals. It is so beautiful!!! I have the chance to eat MANGOS daily - they are very expensive in Greece, and even eat GUAVAS which I love but cannot find in Athens.
I walk in the garden of the hotel and pick dates. They get ripe and fell on the ground from the Palm trees.
I have long walks and find sea shells even though I know that they won't allow shells to pass through customs. If I am caught I will pay a huge fine!!

We are flying back to Athens today. It is the 29th of August and we have to fly back to Cairo and then to Athens.
(All shells remained in Sharm el Sheikh) !!!
I could not take the risk of carrying shells with me.....since I can buy shells from the market.
The flight from Sharm el Sheikh was terrible. It was with Egyptair. No air conditioning at all. We were again and again asking for some air, but till the moment we landed the system was not working. Luckily it was a short trip!

I am still thinking of the money the leader stole from me, but I am anxious and happy for the next trip to Cyprus in 2 days from now !!!!
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