I ate delicious breakfast at RSRR (Red Sea Relax Resort) including a breakfast sandwich and OJ (!). They forgot to make my pancakes, which is perfectly fine. I went over to Penguin to get ready for my first Advanced Open Water dive: a naturalist dive at The Islands
. The course fee included equipment rental, certification fee, AND a 10% student discount. With a price so cheap (relatively speaking of course, diving is an expensive hobby), I thought Penguin Divers may not be legit... but it is! Ahmed, the instructor, was very knowledgeable and patient both in and out of water. I had no problem communicating with him or asking for help. It was just him, me, and one other American girl, and I was only too glad to have a small group. We rode out to the dive site in a jeep, and the driver carried our tanks and watched over the bags. The shore diving made the entry very simple. The Islands is really two huge islands of coral reefs underwater. We dived at a slow pace so I had plenty of time to look at everything and my handy fish chart. It was so incredible to see mounds of coral reefs and colorful fish of all different sizes and groups. I felt like I was in a colossal aquarium.
I saw a cone-shaped building being constructed, and apparently that will serve as a toll booth. I hope Dahab does not become a sell-out, but maybe it is inevitable. We all mucnehd in front of the dive shop before the second dive, and I met people who were just finishing their certification. The second dive, navigation dive, was at the lighthouse, a dive site crowded with snorkellers and seemingly equipped with props for training. The dive was less than impressive, mainly because of the tedious skill sets that we miserably failed.
After the dives, I was so ready to shower and nap. A bunch of us went out for "buy 1 meal, get 2nd free" dinner special. One of my roommies is an animal lover (I think she was really heart-broken when I confessed to her about eating dog meat when I was little... well, she asked really cautiously and I had to tell the truth!)
. We took a sick cat to the vet. Apparently a lot of the cats here have feline syphillis that make their eyes ooze gross stuff and eventually become sealed shut. No worries, it is not transferrable to humans. Seeing such poor beings behind the relaxing facade somewhat disheartened me. There are a lot of stray things here: a mass community of cats, some Egyptian dogs, and... children. Illiterate children who don't go to school and try to sell you cheap bracelets. I bargained with one as a joke, and she said in English, "Business is business." Whoa, and she could count to 20+ in English, Spanish, and some other languages! Training for hardcore haggling starts young, I guess.
Alright, the Euro 2008 final will be on very soon. I was rooting for Turkey, but since they lost, I am not sure who to root for. Everyone is going to a bar to watch the game, and it should be an entertaining game.
Wow, I am really getting out of my blogging routine here. Not only am I tempted to break my post streak, I don't even feel uploading the pictures (that I have not gotten around to taking). I should snap some pictures in a vague attempt to share this magical atmosphere. When you plop down on a chair or bed of pillows under a nice shade and colorful lanterns, you feel like sinking into the spot. The blue, clear sea with patches of corals stretch in front of you, seemingly for miles until it reaches the desert mountains on the other side. The sea breeze caresses your hair, and a tall glass of fresh fruit juice smittens your taste buds. There are always people to chill with and places to relax alone. This is Dahab.