The next morning I did a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. I did this because a) it was much cheaper than the one in the Serengeti ($80 vs. $450) and b) every person who posts to the travel boards that they did a balloon ride said it was the best experience they’d had in Egypt and it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, it isn’t.
Not that it is bad, mind you. And for $80 I think it may have been worth it (as opposed to the $250 they say it is in the guidebooks), but I really didn’t think it was anything great. Mostly you’re looking at the top of poor people’s houses, which are usually filled with garbage. Or, you’re looking down on their beds filled with 6 people as they sleep in the open air because it is so hot. The view was nice, but you can look at the photos and judge for yourself if you think it was anything spectacular.
I slept in a bit, and later that morning R and J decided to do a felucca ride while I ran some errands. Then I met up with Steve at the Luxor museum. The museum was fine (nice and air conditioned) but it was my last vestage of anything dealing with temples and tombs and was glad to be done. The museum was also dampened by the fact that there was a McDonalds sign in front which for some reason had me jonesing for french fries. After the museum we walked to McDonalds (Steve had already hit it up once). It was a longer walk than I had realized and might have forgone my craving had I realized, but I did indeed stuff myself on chicken mcnuggets, french fries, and a giant coke.
The four of us then hung out in the hotel lobby until 4 when R and J were taken to the airpot (they were flying from Luxor to Cairo to Sharm el-Shek, and then having a car drive them to Dahab) whereas I was taken to the bus station and had a 5 hour bus ride to Hurghada where I would get the ferry the next morning to Sharm and then get a car.
The bus quite sucked. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was not fun. First, they play a LOUD LOUD movie in arabic, and the guy next to me felt he had a god-given right to half my seat. Then there were issues getting picked up at the Hurghada bus station (issues that involved my guide getting into a fight with the tourist police) and I was taken to a really crappy hotel that didn’t have air conditioning and had other problems I won’t go into.
The next morning I got to the ferry without issue and am finding a seat when I hear my name being called. I look over and there are P and M, the honeymooning couple I was on the cruise with and who were at my hotel in Cairo, as well as L, from the Cairo hostel. The cruise ride over was uneventful, except for a heated discussion with L about the scummy-ness of Egyptian “culture” when it comes to tourists (again, for another post), and we had some very helpful info from J, an Aussie who has been living in Egypt for 3 years and runs some live-aboard dive boats.
We were picked up by a taxi in Sharm to go to Dahab. On the taxi we met B and K, another California pair. After somewhat hair-raising hour-long drive, P and M were dropped off at the Penguin hotel and B, K, and I were put up at the Sphynx, right next door.
Dahab, is amazing! It is gorgeous, the hotel overlooks the water and has both cushions and umbrellas where you can just chill out looking at the ocean. They have stray dogs and cats and kittens all over the place but they are people-friendly so if you’re missing your pets from home, there’s no shortage of substitutes. Or you can just walk right into the ocean from there and snorkle the reef right there. Even better, no one hassles you!! The staff here actually want you to have a good customer service experience! Amazing!!!
Around 5:00 P, M, B and I go snorkling at a place about a 15 minute drive away from the hotel. It was really nice, but also a bit scary for a non-water person like me. First of all, it’s really shallow, so you’re really right above the reef. You can reach out and touch it. And it is FULL of HUGE, BLACK, POINTY sea urchins. Very nasty and scary. We also saw some Scorpion fish and some big eels. So, I have to deal with my panic attacks about that, but overall it was really nice. The fish, coral, and clams were amazing!
Of course at the time I didn’t know there were sharks in this part of the world, either. 8-(.
We stayed until 7:30 and watched the sun set over the mountains. It was just great…
After we got back I went over to the hotel where R and J are staying, which it turns out is pretty much just across the street. The 7 of us met up for dinner at my hotel and it was great. No only is the food good, but we were sitting on a deck. It was warm, bug-free, breezy and just perfect!
Tags: Africa, Dahab, Egypt, Hurgada, Travel