Sun, snorkeling, sleeping and Ramadan...
Trip Start May 31, 2007
107Trip End May 20, 2008
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Have been doing nothing of any value since the 28th. Got up at way too early am and took a cab to the Turgeman bus terminal. Due to the early hour and no traffic, I arrived way before the place even opened. It was me, my bus ticket completely in Arabic and three security guards. Wondered for a moment whether the early bus really was such a good idea...kept trying to walk in past the guards, they kept saying no, and 6am and then putting their fingers up to their mouths..which can mean... 1)I am really hungry 2) I am really hungry for you to give me some baksheesh (tip) 3) I am really hungry for..... In this case, it seeemd to mean after a few moments of reflection, did I want to go to the cafe inside to wait....A few moments earlier I realized that I had put all of my money in my moneybelt so did not have any small bills for baksheesh...I smiled and said "Yes, Cafe, shocran (thanks in arabic)...and they showed me in
The bus left pretty much as scheduled and made a few stops along the way to pick more people up. Slept and listened to music as we rumbled over the marginal roads through the Sinai desert. Trash, mountains, a few camels and seemingly deserted desert towns were scattered along the way. Some of the views really spectacular. After about 4 hours we had our first and last rest stop. The busses do not have facilities (you know why provide a bathroom when you can sell more tickets for additional seats) so you don't eat or drink much and say a little prayer before you leave that all will be ok.
Walked into the marginally clean toilet and found a lady sleeping and her two children camped out behind the door. They appeared to be in charge of the toilets and requested 1 egyptian pound to use the toilets. I only had a 5 and they gave me 2.5 in change which I figured was ok. I walked away and went into the stall and heard a quick little knock...it was the young girl with another 1 pound change for me and a huge smile which I returned in kind. Such a sweet little girl in difficult circumstances. Can you imagine how the kids at home would handle having to work in the same circumstances and with a sweet smile on their faces....it is truly unimaginable
A nice middle aged man sat opposite me on the bus and against all local custom since my options for finding someone who spoke english was limited, I struck up a quick conversation to ascertain if 1) did he speak english (yes) 2) would he help me get the bus driver to call the owner of where I was going for directions (yes). The bus driver was none too friendly or keen to do that but eventually he spoke to Salama at Sawa Camp via this nice gentleman's cell phone, and nodded that he would stop the bus on the road when he saw the yellow sawa camp sign....
It's all pretty off the cuff here. People getting on and off along the route in between the 'official' bus stops. I gazed out the window until I saw the yellow sign, thanked the driver and met with Salama who walked me down the dirt road to the beach at Sawa Camp!
Had a fresh fruit cocktail, put on my swimmers, and started one of the books I bought in Cairo at the American University..."The Hidden Faces of Eve" about the mistreatment of Arab women due to the paternalistic family system necessary to sustain the riches of western capitalistic interests...light beach reading : )
When I arrived most of the camp was filled with Israelis on holiday. Apparently this is the time that they go on holiday..and with Israel so close...I can understand why.
Other than that, I have been on some cushions, eating lovely food, reading books, chatting, petting the two cats, snorkeling, taking photos and lots of zzzzz's.