Egypt has definitely opened my eyes and made me think........
Going to Sharm el Sheikh at the time of the shark ban and the speculated election riots in Cairo (by the FCO) has shifted some fun in the winter sun....but all in all it was a good trip and a valuable lesson in life. If you asked me what bit I enjoyed the most....it would be the amazing camel ride on the beach near the Blue Hole in Dahab City. If you asked me what I feared the most....it would be my first snorkelling experience near the Blue Hole. If you asked me what affected me the most.....it would be the young children selling things and begging for money in a desert dominated land where the dryness of global warming seems like one of the great truths of life.
Arriving in Egypt, I felt a bit like a sheep being herded into a pen as we were packed into long disorganised queues, passing officers who were chatting on the phone with their bluetooth ear piece whilst stamping our passports, filtering through a gate where an officer had to check that we got stamped, and then ushered out through these sliding doors that led straight to the pavement without the option of an arrival hall. We were greeted by a series of shouts and held up signs with names on it to locate the person you should follow. You joined your individual herds and then followed to your respective vans......only we found that the hotel Three Corners Palmyra Resort we booked with the travel agent, Ola Holidays, has been changed to Amwaj Resort without our knowledge!
So this was how our adventure began! Lucky enough Amwaj resort, reportedly 4 and a half stars but with not as good reviews on trip advisor, was quite nice so we decided to stay there but our Egyptian travel agency was unable to explain the sudden surprise we received. And then we discovered the shark ban, which meant there were red flags prohibiting us from swimming in the sea......but on the resort it was interesting at times when the animation team started dressing up in glittery costumes and we had a go at activities such as Kareoke Night in front of a sea of strangers! Also not to forget Tarek, our cleaner who made a decoration with towels for us every day.....from a swan to a heart that was sprinkled with flowers and made me smile, but to my naive surprise on our last night, he made a pushy request for me to fill in a questionnaire to create the image that he was the best cleaner. This is also something that we found a recurrent trend, as from shop assistants in a gallery in Dahab City to the Bedwin children who held up baby goats as the high speed tourist 4x4 jeep seared through the desert of St. Cathriane.
|Spot me with the camel! (Egypt)|
|Amwaj Resort and the animation team....Sharm al Sheikh, Egypt.|
|Sea, sun and umbrellas.....Sharm al Sheikh, Egypt.|
|Ready for adventure, sand and 4x4s!|
It is almost by a formula, they will begin stopping people by asking "Where are you from, my friend?" and then "What is your name?", which is then followed by an invitation to enter a shop, a promise of discounts and if you are to walk away saying no thank you, they will ask "Why?" This is then followed by some yelling if you insist on leaving. Once when the bartering of prices soured when we tried to buy a scarf, the friendly seller threw his arm in the air and yelled at us in Arabic as we left the shop. A friend we met on our trip to Dahab City had a similar experience, where he was being sold some organic creams with promises of free gifts and discounts, but the price quoted after wrapping up the goods was a staggering LE 1500 (Egyptian Pounds). When he refused to buy it at that price, the shop assistant's attitude was no longer that of a likable friend with smiles but that of an angry debt collector.
But to experience something similar with children who plague tourists to sell their beaded bracelets or necklaces on the streets is something completely different.....it is heart breaking. Education is free in Egypt but yet, on a Friday morning these children were still running after tourists on the streets, which makes me question "why?" One of the guides approached a lady, who was buying a bracelet and some buns from a child out of sympathy (as she exclaimed she was going to throw her purchased goods in the bin after) and he said; "Please do not buy it.....as more will come and it will not stop!"
Until the next time,
Until the next time,
|Under the sun......in Sharm al Sheik, Egypt.|