For as long as I can remember I had wanted to travel to Egypt. I was obsessed with mummies, and pharaohs and the pyramids when I was younger and could only dream of going to this exotic place in Northern Africa.
So when my contract was nearing it’s end in South Korea I started to think about possible detours home. That was when I decided it was high time I visited my brother in Dubai, but stopping there wasn’t enough. After some discussion with my brother we decided Egypt would be the perfect progression from Dubai, stepping into another desert.
So began the planning. We decided to start in Sharm El Sheikh in the South and then fly up to Cairo for the big finale. A couple of days snorkelling in the red sea before a trek to the pyramids sounded pretty supreme to me.
So my brother, his wife and I departed Dubai and arrived in Cairo where we would wait a further couple of hours for our domestic flight to Sharm. It was a little frustrating waiting in the airport knowing that there was a land of adventure outside of the doors.
Once we arrived in Sharm we were instantly surrounded and harassed by taxi drivers all quoting a higher fare than the next for the drive to our hotel. One taxi driver asked me how much I weighed in order to make his decision on a fare.
The hotel was very nice and very full of British tourists who didn’t seem to venture further than the hotel restaurant and pool.
We were keen to start exploring but soon found that we needed to taxi to get to most places. Another frustrating aspect was being surrounded and hassled each time we left the hotel grounds, my clothing choices became more and more modest each time I left our room. I would later find this to be more extreme once we hit Cairo.
We began with visiting the main strip in Dahab. We were pretty hungry and found a ‘traditional’ Egyptian restaurant. It was full of locals and no tourists in sight so we assumed we were on the right track. The menu was pretty amazing. We chose a feast of rabbit, quail, aubergines, salads and dips. It was amazing. I’d never had rabbit (or quail) before and I thought the waiter had misheard us and brought chicken to the table. I had no idea rabbit was so delicious! It was all so hearty and filling. After dinner we walked around the area in the warm summer evening air.
The next day we spent snorkelling in the red sea and in the evening we returned to the sprawling street from the night before for more delicious food. On the way back we stopped in an outdoor lounge where we had cool mint tea drinks and Shisha. While we were there we were lucky to see a Whirling Dervish man start to turn hypnotically getting faster and faster, the colourful skirt like clothing he was wearing creating a swirl of colour which he rose above his head as he got faster and faster. It was unbelievable how he could spin so quickly for so long and maintain his balance.
On our last day we drove two hours away to Saint Catherine’s monastery. The drive out to this remote village was a little dreary. The scenery was very dry, stark rocky mountains for several kilometres. Every 20 minutes our driver was stopped by armed officers who inspected our passports and asked where we were going.
The monastery itself was very interesting but completely over run with tourists who were blocking the way in several areas and made it hard to walk through the site. There was also very little information around but we managed to glean that one area MAY have been the site of the burning bush.
It was a good adventure but I was glad to arrive back at our hotel where we spent the afternoon like true tourists in the hotel pool and enjoying the water slides.
The next day we woke up awfully early for our flight back to Cairo for the real adventure to begin!