1. EGYPT - DAHAB, SINAI PENINSULA
Dahab was the buzz word for all backpackers in the Middle East for a number of reasons. Mainly because, traveling on a tight budget was an issue if you needed to escape for a few days. Travelling from Eilat, you passed through the TABA boarder into the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and a mere 45 minutes to an hour later you arrived at the idyllic oasis of DAHAB..
By simply Sleeping on a mattress in an area you could only call a room because in had 4 walls and a roof would cost no more than R 80 per night - food : budget for R 150 per day and you could eat exceptionally well ! Other than that, it was a place of true beauty on the Red Sea. I made 3 trips to Dahad when I needed a few days alone, and enjoyed the sun, sea and sand mainly as I contemplated where to go to travel to next.
Dahab was also where I learnt to scuba dive and obtained my PADI Open Water 1 qualification over 4 days.
Dahab was known as the poor mans paradise when compared to the Wealthy resort further down the cost : Sharm-el-Sheik.
Also to note here is that after completing my PADI diving course in Dahab, in the next 6 months I managed to dive in a total of 5 different countries...the last of which (amazingly) was in South Africa ( when I completed my Open Water 2 course. in Plett a month after my return.
Even more interesting is the fact that I logged only 12 DIVES in 5 countries AND HAVE NEVER DIVED SINCE.......
2. EGYPT - A VISIT TO THE ANCIENT KINGDOM
Upon finishing of my work on the Galli in Eilat, I was approached by Nicki and Sandra to join them on an adventure I could NOT refuse...10 days of backpacking through Egypt. Admittedly they did beg me to join them as two your South African woman travelling in Egypt was considered and absolute NO-NO. (Just quickly : I was offered on our first day in Luxor if I would trade blonde haired Nicki for 100 camels - TRUE STORY.....)
Anyway, travelling to Egypt in late Summer wasnt the best idea with mid 40 degree heat, but off we set.
The journey began, after spending another 2 days in DAHAB, with a 9 hour JAM PACKED BUS ride from Dahab all the way down the Sinai Peninsula to Cairo. This bus ride was both terrible and very entertaining at the same time. POOR VENTILATION, DISGUSTING TOILET FACILITIES, no food to purchase and a LOUD and permanently REPEATED EGYPTIAN movie blaring through the night made it completely impossible to sleep. That said, everyone was very friendly on the bus and being able to communicate without using a common language really interested me !
Needless to say, at around 8am the following morning we arrived in a VERY DIRTY Cairo....wow - It was very disappointing for me in the beginning but after a few days, the country really grew on me, although I needed to constantly be on high alert as fair skinned backpackers were a top target for opportunists looking to pinch wallets or simply convince the naive visitors to their country to part ways with money for no apparent reason.
the 10 days spent in Egypt were undoubtedly one of the top 3 events of my 10 months in the MIddle East. There is so much information and experiences to share, that I am sure over time I will get into it in more detail...but for now - let me simply leave you with an itinerary of where we went, what we did and leave some pictures to tell the story for me.
FIRST MAP :
9 hour journey around Sinai Peninsula from Dahab to Cairo
SECOND MAP : 3 steps from Cairo to Aswan and back
1. We took a 2 day hop-on-hop-off backpacking adventure from Cairo to Aswan
Took a full day to travel to ABU SIMBEL but it was spectacular
2. From Aswan to LUXOR....visiting ancient tombs along the Nile on the way.
3. 3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS travelling on a felucca from LUXOR back to CAIRO.