Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Red Seaside of Egypt


It was painful leaving Switzerland, not only because we knew it'd be a long time before we saw everyone again but also because we had to be up at 4am to make our flight.  Needless to say we knew we'd be back sooner rather than later and again we were left wondering if leaving had actually been the right decision, only time will tell...

No time for regrets as 4 hours later we landed in the balmy warmth at Sharm el Shiek airport.  Well, we actually landed on the 2nd attempt as on our 1st approach the sand storm reduced the pilots visibilty to almost zero, so we had to abort half way through.  Upon feeling the bump of connecting with the runway, we were thankful to be on the ground and we took up the next challenge of negotiating a taxi into town... we'd read that the Egyptian taxi drivers were particularly tough to bargain with, so we prepared ourselves for a battle. We think we won as we managed to get the ride for $15, but who knows really when it comes to airport taxi mafias...

Our resort (Falcon Hills) was amazingly good for the price, so after we checked in we went to reserve another night.  However, the concierge said he couldn't actually match the price offered on the internet which meant we had to find free WiFi somewhere in order to reserve another night.  We managed to find a place after we'd walked to the very underwhelming old part of town (a fairly long stroll which also required a collectivo ride to get back from as we were too tired to walk it back uphill).  We had a fairly cheap dinner considering the touristic sourrounds and then retired to our room where for the first night in ages we had satallite tv which we thoroughly enjoyed vegging out in front of.

Swan towel in our hotel room
On our 2nd day we negotiated a taxi to Sharm town as our hotel was actually a couple of km's outside of the main tourist area.  We realised after walking around that the Neama Bay area was much nicer compared to where we were and also had a lot more on offer, so we booked ourselves into the sister resort of our current place for the remaining two nights. It turned out to be a great decision and quite the upgrade for the same price!  The resort even had a private beach so we grabbed two towels and headed straight there to relax in the free sun chairs.  Unfortunately, the water turned out to be freezing and not really clean near the town, so we occupied ourselves on the beach with bouts of dozing in the comfy chairs.  The main entertainment was provided by Russians squabbling and parading around like arrogant seagulls, edging their round sunburnt bodies further into the freezing water and back out again!

We found a bar on the beach for the sunset and enjoyed 2 for 1 strawberry long island teas and Sarah enjoyed the footy on the big screen while Dave enjoyed the complimentary peanuts... Our few days at the seaside was starting to feel like a real vacation :-)  But just as we started to properly relax, it was time to repack our backpacks and brace ourselves for the chaos of Cairo where we were about to start the only organised tour of our entire year (mainly due to the political instability that the country was experiencing at the time of our visit...)

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