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Trip Start Sep 07, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Saturday, March 25, 2006

Maybe you are wondering what Dahab is really like. First, although Egypt is in Africa, it is part of the Middle East, so most of the people (90%) are Muslim. Which means that 5 times a day you hear the call to prayer over the loudspeaker (nothing new to me since I spent a month in Turkey). Also, most of the people here look Middle Eastern as opposed to African, unless they have come from the south part of the country. You hardly ever see any women, the occasional young girl out selling her handmade bracelets to the tourists.

Other than that, all the people that work here (hotels, restaurants, dive shops etc.) are all men! And some very fine looking ones too :) Along the sea there is a boardwalk made of concrete that travels the length of the village. On the sea-side there are restaurants overlooking the water, and the other side is filled with more restaurants, hotels, dive shops, and shops. It is extremely touristy, with millions of gift shops and guys standing outside their restaurants trying to get you to come in for a drink. But it is also remarkably laid back and friendly. I have heard every line in the book since I have come here, as a single girl you are a target for a LOT of attention! Good place to get a date if you need one! But they are never agressive, and wouldn't ever grab at you or anything like that. More creative conversation starters!

While it is touristy, it is not crowded. There are never line-ups for dinner or anything. Quite the opposite, most of the restaurants are set up like Egyptian style lounges- carpets on the floor, big cushions, and low tables. They are quite happy for you to hang out for the afternoon, have an occasional drink, a nap, read a book, enjoy the sun, whatever. They almost seem suprised after 3-4 hours if you get up to leave! It is very chilled, ultra-relaxed.

And cheap! Goodness. I am going to Cairo tonight in a mini-van, takes between 7-9 hrs depending. It is costing me $20 for them to pick me up at my hotel here, and drive me to my hostel in Cairo!! And that is more expensive than the bus! Craziness. The other night I had a drink, appy, dinner, and a dessert, it was $10 including the tip. You can't go wrong really.

Other than diving, there are lots of things to see and do. You can rent camels, horses, ATV's and explore the desert. There are tours to nearby areas like the Coloured Canyon and Mount Sinai. The snorkelling is great, I took some underwater pics yesterday while snorkelling that I hope turn out well. And of course you can always chill by the water, windsurf, swim, eat, and relax!

The landscape is very different to anything I have seen. It's desert, so everywhere around is sand and mountains. Brown everywhere. No vegetation except in the town where they water, then you have flowers and palm trees. The beach is mostly rocky, there are very few areas of sand as right from the shore it is coral. Much more pleasant to lie on a cushion looking out over the water and have someone bringing you fresh squeezed juices like strawberry, mango, banana and hibiscus! The hibiscus juice is great, somewhere between a strawberry and raspberry in intensity, not too sweet, with a tart finish. Very tasty!

Anyway, I am having a great time, meeting fun people, enjoying the water and relaxation. I am definitely glad I decided to come for 2 weeks rather than one, lots of people I met when I fist got here are leaving this weekend, and I still have a week to go!
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