The first few days in Sharm El Sheikh
Trip Start Nov 10, 2005
4Trip End Nov 17, 2005
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We were dropped off at the gateway of the Old Town and, almost immediately, we found ourselves vigorously shaking hands with shop owner number one. He invited us in for mint tea and provided us with some apple tobacco on a shisha pipe. This being our first experience of shisha pipes we cautiously watched as the shop keeper took drags off the end of the long pipe to start it smoking. We sat for, I suppose, half an hour talking to the man while he showed us his collection of interesting, albeit slightly cliche souvenirs. We bought a few items at a ridiculously high price, and were given 2 complimentary bookmarks on papyrus paper with our names written in arabic.
As soon as we left the shop to move on and have a look around, the keeper of the shop right next door claimed he needed some help with spelling an English word. Us being the helpful sort, aided his spelling of the word "belt" and as thanks he invited us in for tea, a shisha pipe, and a thorough look at his display of tourist tat (which, to no big surprise was remarkably similar to that of the guy next door's). We made our excuses and moved on to look at the area, trying our very best not to make eye contact with shop keepers or vendors of any sort. Over the next few days we resorted to solely shopping in fixed-price shops, due to our painfully obvious lack of experience of bartering, and a a fear that the 'hospitality' of one more oh so generous shop keeper offering us "very good price" would result in us living off dry bread and water for the rest of our stay.
As for the rest of the time we had in the Sharm El Sheikh area, we spent at Fantasia, which was some kind of theatre lined with a series of restaurants, all done up in Disney style, Arabian Nights-esque domes and turrets. It was kind of cheesey, but fun, and we found a few cheap restaurants serving pizza and egyptian stella beer - the ultimate cultural experience.
Our hotel also offered an outdoor shisha pipe lounge area which was very relaxing after days dodging hagglers and street merchants!
A few days after we arrived we embarked on the next step of our Egypt trip, which was the reason we went to Egypt in the first place: Cairo, and the pyramids of Giza!
Where I stayed
Sol Y Mar Sharming Inn Sharm El Sheikh