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Published: November 24th 2009
El Gouna is a resort 22km north of Hurgada. It is actually a hotel - town owned by an orthodox Copt Samih Sawiris, one of the richest people in Egypt. It is striking and very artificial, real Truman’s Show. The beauty is in a system of canals that cut into the sand and make up private beaches to colourful, low, traditionally designed houses. Desert is transformed into oasis by using irrigation device made of dented tubes encircling each tree (supposedly invented by a Serbian engineer, as we were told by a Kontiki tourist guide).
We picked up Tamara in El Dahar and took a public bus transporting El Gouna hotel staff. The buss was full of cheerful children who were excited about getting photographed. They humoured us singing in English. Besides guests, only locals working on resort are allowed to cross the gates. This made us feel strange, but not privileged.
The sight was amazing, with autumn sun lying low and bright and the resort being almost deserted. The green was lush, the water fluorescent and the masons curved and coloured in worm, sandy hues of yellow, red and pink. I guess it makes a relaxing and expensive holiday
destination, but it was great one-day excursion from Hurgada.
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