Jeep safari, camel riding, snorkelling in Red Sea!

Trip Start Aug 30, 2006
Trip End Jul 16, 2007

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Monday, May 7, 2007

Day trip to Abu Galum - jeep desert safari, camel riding, snorkelling in the Red Sea (whilst avoiding the tour guides wandering hands!!) and shopping Dahab

Another early start - 6am!! A long day ahead.

Just had time for a quick breakfast before being picked up at 6:55am. Our jeep had 8 people (Fiona and I, 2 retired couples - Irish and Welsh, and a young croatian couple) The 2 retired couples were very loud and friendly. The croatian couple were friendly but kept to themselves. The other jeep also had 6 people (Italians and Russians).

Our guide was Amdhi and the driver was Abdullah - nicknamed Schumacher, and he would later prove why.

First up we drove about 30 minutes to Dahab. At the security checkpoint they were checking fire extinguishers - not our passports or our bags - for some odd reason.

Then we drove into a national protected park - well a desert. Whilst the Sahara in Cairo was mostly sand (and a killer on the contact lens), the desert here was more rocky. Abdullah sped through the desert like a F1 driver, joyfully speeding over rocks - up and down with no care at all. Scary, but so much fun. Arabic music blasting loudly and the red fluffy tissue box with the naked blonde doll jiggling on the dashboard.

We stopped quickly for a photo. Ahmed showed us a mountain that looked like a breast, and behind that a mountain that looked like a penis.

We also stopped to take a photo of a mountain made of sand. It was the only mountain of sand, surrounded by rocky mountains. Strange.

IMPRESSION: We saw a few desert Bedouin people, and some tried to sell us things when we stopped. Amdhi ex[;aomed that the Bedouin people like living in the desert. They are the original inhabitants of Sharm El Sheikh. All the people who work in Sharm, the tour guides, taxi drivers, hotel people etc are from Cairo. The Bedouin people don't like living in the city. They prefer their basic style of living - no electricity, basic shelters etc.

We drove past a burial ground where the Bedouin people are all buried. This is because this is the only soft part of the desert that can be used to bury bodies.

We also saw a camel burial ground. When the camels die, they put the bodies in this place which is beside the main road (far from where they live in the desert). They burn the bodies so the camels do not smell. You could see black clumps of ash and also remains of the saddles.

After 40 minutes of the jeep safari we headed off to the next part of the tour - snorkelling and camel riding.

We stopped quickly to hire some snorkelling gear - I didn't have enough for the life jacket and thought I could swim so didn't get it. Damn - should have spent that extra 5 pounds. hehe.

We then arrived near The Blue Hole - by the Red Sea.

We climbed our camels and rode them along the Red Sea. In the distance you could see the mountains in Saudi Arabia.

My camel was tied to the back of another camel, which was being ridden by one of the Russian guys. He kept turning around to take photos of his wife who was on the other camel. Every time he did this though his camel would go off course and head towards the Red Sea - watch it! Don't take me with you!

IMPRESSION: Riding the camels and one of the Irish men telling a long winded Irish camel joke. So funny.

45 minutes later we arrived at The Blue Hole. There were quite a few divers and snorkellers there. We put on our snorkelling gear and headed for the water.

I couldn't breathe with the mouthpiece - water kept going into my mouth as I didn't know how to blow the water out. As I didn't have a life jacket, the other guide Emit guided me around.

The corals and marine life were beautiful, and the water was crystal clear blue. I had an underwater camera and took lots of underwater photos (unfortunately not digital so can't show you) Emit led me through the water and showed me the corals, though his hand went for a bit of a wander. Unbelievable! And I couldn't do anything as everytime he did it I would pull away from him, but as I couldn't breather properly and the water was deep I had to get him to guide me. Bloody hell! He was harmless - but I should've gotten the life jacket haha.

Emit led me around the to far end of the coral. So we didn't have our shoes and had to run back to the restaurant. Ouch!! hot hot hot!

Back at the restaurant we had a buffet lunch - but I stuck to the potatoes, bread and fish. We ate on sofa couches in a tent-like restaurant, with cats running around everywhere.

We took the jeep back to Dahab, stopping by at the "market" (or rather a shop) to buy some souvenirs. It was so hot Fiona and I sat in the air conditioned jeep but still HOT.

Then back to Sharm El Sheikh. About 1 hour drive and we were back in our hotel at about 5:15pm, just in time for a quick dip in the pool. We ate dinner at the hotel restaurant, tuna salad AGAIN.

Really enjoyed the tours. Our guides were very friendly, sometimes too friendly, and the people in our groups were good too.
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