Sinai and the Red Sea
Trip Start Apr 07, 2006
73Trip End Oct 2006
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Where I stayed
The Sandy Hotel
The Sandy Hotel is at the entrance to the Old Town, where most of the good restaurants are located
In our big rush to leave the house, I managed to forget my mask and snorkel behind. So, Vivian and I decided to purchase some new gear and book a trip our to Tiran Island to get a full day of snorkeling in. There are a ton of reefs in the Red Sea! Tiran Island has this huge reef just off the coast with crystal clear waters and very colourful coral. The fish were a bit small, but Vivian and I managed to see a green reef stingray with purple spots all over its body. Very cool! They then took us to another reef with a big shipwreck on it. If you take a trip out to Sharm and are interested in snorkeling, take this trip!
We had such a great time, we decided to extend our stay in Sharm and book another snorkeling trip to the Blue Hole (in the Gulf of Aquaba) by Dahab. Dahab is the area that was bombed in April of this year, but everything is back to normal and the police made a number of arrests
Dahab is a very nice beach town and is supposed to be much cheaper than Sharm. The beaches looked great and there is great windsurfing here! The infamous Blue Hole in Egypt was very cool. The corals were way better here and it was cool to see the coral just drop off down into the deep blue sea. We were told that there would be lots of big fish, but all we saw were lots of little fish. I guess it might have been be better if we went diving. I actually thought about getting my dive ticket here, but time and money....... hopefully I can get it when we get to Thailand! Both Vivian and I would like to come back to Sharm again to get some diving in, we hear that the Camel Hotel has some pretty good package deals!
Like Cairo, Sharm is full of tiny shops with store owners trying to sell you everything under the sun. The average temperature was 33-36 degrees and it seemed to get hotter after 6pm and finally cool down a tiny bit by midnight! If you do plan on coming to Sharm, you have to eat at Sinai Star Restaurant for fish and calamari. Two shops to the left is a restaurant that does great grilled meat. One thing that I am already missing is the freshly pressed sugar cane juice. The cost is half an Egyptian pound for a glass or 1 Egyptian pound for a big glass and man does it taste good
I must admit that when we first met Riad, I thought he was somehow trying to make a quick buck or two off of us. He would show us around a bit and then expect to be tipped, like most Egyptians who talk to you. We offered to buy Riad dinner on the first night and he would not let us. We soon figured out that we was probably just a retired guy who was looking for some company. Riad had trouble hearing, his eyesight was poor, he was always bargaining for the best deal and was a bit obsessive compulsive. He does not use a cell phone, he does not use the computer and he has his routine and likes to follow it as best he could!
Well after a week at the beach, it was time for Vivian and I to move on. With just a month and a half left for Europe, we decided that our plans to visit Petra, Jordan and Turkey would take up too much time. Riad spoke highly of Lebanon and we have heard nothing but good things about Croatia
We took the Superjet back to Cairo and was help once again by an Egyptian guy. We were stopped at the Suez Canal and had to take all of our luggage out so that the drug detection dog could sniff our bags. The bus guy only spoke in Arabic, so we were fortunate enough to get some help with the translations. When we got to Cairo, the same guy spoke to one of his Egyptian friends on the bus, who let us share a cab to go to the airport. That sure save us one big headache of trying to barder for the cab ride. What do you know, there are some really nice Egyptians out there. Just stay away from all the tourist shops!
Next stop Athens, Greece!
bryan and vivian
clouds, frowns, sunshine and smiles!