Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 46- Cairo to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

I was up way before the sun was rising this morning. Also, before most people had left the club in our hotel. We saw them leaving around 6 am when our group was loading the bus to head to the airport. We each received a breakfast box from the hotel which contained 2 Danishes, 2 rolls, ham, cheese, jelly, honey, a muffin, and a piece of fruit. They know how to feed hungry college kids here. The ride to the airport was quick and we flew through security. (They don’t check for liquids or many weapons). The flight lasted less than an hour and before I knew it I was back in Asia. (Sinai is part of Asia although it is no longer part of Israel).


We checked in at the Marriott in Sharm El Sheikh in Naama Bay. Sharm means group of bays and there are 6, I believe, in Sharm el Sheikh. Naama means peace and is one of the most popular resort areas in Sinai. The Marriott here is a five star resort and we all walked into the lobby with our mouths wide open. It is beautiful and has a huge pool just 50 feet away from the Red Sea. We set our bags down to wait for us while we went on a jeep safari in the desert. Four jeeps (really Land Rovers) picked us up and took us about thirty minutes away to the desert where we off roaded in the sand around the mountains for a few hours. Our trip stopped occasionally to take in some amazing views of the vast desert and then half way through to ride camels. We took a 40 minute camel ride, led by some young children. It was much more comfortable the second time around, having the whole saddle to myself. It is pretty similar to riding a horse but the saddle is made of wood and has pretty sharp angles so you have to find that special position to stay balanced. The end of our jeep safari was a Bedouin camp where we lounged on pillows and rugs while we enjoyed homemade bread and tea. The bread was made thin and unleavened like a tortilla and served with goat cheese. The tea was hibiscus tea with more than enough sugar for my taste. As the sun was starting to set we laid in the breeze taking in the quietness of the desert.


Lunch was had at the hotel, a buffet with Egyptian inspired but Americanized dishes. I spent our downtime until dinner laying by the pool and occasionally napping. I wouldn’t have thought I was in Egypt looking around if it weren’t for the ladies swimming in full covering. There are burkas made out of swimsuit material so that even the most devout Muslim women can enjoy water activities. The lack of spoken English around me was also a clue that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. (Side note: I’ve never actually been to Kansas). Most of our group partook in happy hour at the hotel before dinner. We lounged outside by the beach where we were entertained by some belly dancing and sheesha. JJ and I were pulled up to join the belly dancer and we got a standing ovation. Not really, but I heard we weren’t bad at it.


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I have never been in a more relaxing and peaceful place as the Bedouin camp we visited today. It was obviously put up only for tourists but I think I could get used to their way of life. All I need is a life time supply of SPF 70 sunscreen.


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I fell asleep by the pool this afternoon…all by myself. I must have looked like such a loser!


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