Published: April 10th 2012April 10th 2012
As we debarked from the Ferry into the Arab Republic of Egypt, chaos erupted. Jordan has been so organised and orderly that Egypt came as quite a shock.
For customs & immigration reasons our Jordanian leader was not with us for the journey across to Egypt and we were instructed that our new tour leader would meet us as we got off the ferry. As we entered the busy customs hall there was no one there to meet us. Myself and the other members of the group did not have visas so we told we couldn't enter until our tour leader arrived with the required visas. With no Intrepid representatives answering our calls , it was an long wait until our paths crossed with Nikki, a Customer Representative from the ferry. Nikki from South Africa was a geniuinely nice person who could not have been more helpful. Somehow she negotiated with the customs officer that they let us walk the 10 minute walk to the bank where we could purchase our visas and then meet a customs officer at the nearest police station for validation. It was at the bank that Mohammad, our Egyptian tour leader arrived. Without letting him speak
and explain what had gone wrong, our delightful British travel companion exploded and went on an attack, completely embarrassing and insulting him in front of everyone. I felt terrible for him and tried to lighten the mood with a loud "yay we are in Egypt" and a few of those "woo hoo's" that I'm known for (!!!) but it didn't work. I think everyone was exhausted from the long travel day and then the confusion on arrival. It wasn't a great start to our Egyptian adventure. It was an awkward and quiet bus journey to our first destination, Sawa Beach Camp, near Nuweiba on the Red Sea. Our home for the next two nights were small huts made of palms, sitting right on the waters edge. With a mattress on the floor and a mosquito net covering, the camp was simple, rustic and the perfect way to spend a few days. The Red Sea is called the Red Sea because of the colour the water appears to be from the reflection off the mountains at sunrise. It was a great spot and lucky for us is still a hidden gem from the main tourist circuit. We spent our time at
Sawa reading, swimming, napping and eating. Jess, Dave, Jack & I even took some kayaks out for a paddle. After several frustrating minutes of falling off three times, paddling in circles and despite my pleas that I had "broken" kayak, the others laughed at me and said its more like the driver than the vehicle! After struggling through the first hour, Jack swapped with me, and I was secretly hoping I was right about the kayak and he would fall off. It took all of 20 seconds to hear the loud splash in the water! We were scheduled to head further into the Sinai the following day, to see St Catherine's Monastery and climb the 3750 steps of repentance up to the top of Mt Sinai. Unfortunately due to security risks, we were unable to complete this part of the trip, one Jess and I were really looking forward to. In the past month there have been five separate incidences of tourist kidnappings by local bedouins. Generally, the "kidnap" lasts only for hours. Once the bedouins have negotiated with the local police for a prison release of a family or tribe member, the tourists are sent home unscathed, often with
stomachs full of food and tea. Having said that, we still weren't willing to take the risk. Instead of Mt Sinai, we headed off to Dahab, a small diving town, again on the Red Sea. We opted for a day trip to the Blue Hole, a spectacular dive & snorkel spot with an abundance of colourful coral and fish varieties. A day spent on the water and in our own cabana style area of a local restaurant, was the perfect way to spend our last day on the Red Sea X
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