|Saturday 2nd June - Egypt - Dahab (2nd to 9th June)
We like Dahab. You could easily lose weeks of your life lying on cushions here. It is a very chilled out place.
There are a couple of distinct parts to Dahab. Theres the city which is like a small resort town. In this section there are a handful of resort hotels, boasting well-known names like Hilton and Novotel. Down from Dahab city is the curved, sandy beach which has beach bars, windsurf centre, pedalos etc. At the northern end of the beach there is a big lagoon with a reef. This reef is the start of a string of reefs that continue up the coast. Along the edge of these reefs are the areas of Dahab known as Mashraba and Assalah. Mashraba and Assalah dont have sandy beaches, the coast here is rocky.
We are staying in Mashraba and we love it. There are a lot of small hotels, most of which started life as camps but are now more like beach-bungalow-style hotels. Along the shore there are many Bedouin-style restaurants lots of cushions and rugs and low tables where you can lounge about, listen to the waves lapping and watch the sun setting on the mountains of Saudi Arabia across the Gulf of Aqaba. The main road is behind the hotels. Between the strip of hotels and the shore there is an attractive pedestrianised walkway. The whole place feels very safe for the girls.
We are very happy with the New Sphinx hotel. It has a lovely pool, everything is well-maintained, the staff are friendly and the price is good. The other day, while we were having lunch, a couple of the guys from the restaurant went down on to the shore and collected some shells, a starfish and a sea-urchin for the girls to look at. Keziah and Naomi were mesmerised by the starfish and sea-urchin crawling their way across the restaurant table. Speaking about them later Keziah referred to them as The monsters..no, I mean the animals... She had a point, they did seem like mini-versions of sci-fi monsters.
Dahab is well known for diving and snorkelling. We went out on a glass-bottomed boat for a couple of hours yesterday (Tuesday 5th). It was a good way for the girls to see the reef and fish. They really enjoyed it, Keziah got quite excited at the hundreds and hundreds fish. We then stopped at the Laguna reef at the end of the sandy beach and Andrew and I went snorkelling for a bit. There is something other-worldly about snorkelling at a reef weve never dived, but Im sure the feeling of being a stranger in a strange land must be even more pronounced when you dive. We saw many fish of all different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately we also saw quite a bit of rubbish in places a sad invasion of poly bags and fag ends from our world into theirs.
We bought Keziah a snorkel set a couple of days ago and have been chuffed to see how quickly she has got the hang of it. She loves swimming about in the pool with her tweety-bird armbands and her snorkel set on. I have tried snorkelling around with her, but I find it quite difficult because I want to grin and laugh all the time just seeing her. Proud parent moment! She even snorkelled in the sea for a little bit today with her Dad. Naomi has decided she doesnt need her ring anymore, so she is swimming about with just her armbands on now.
Our time here hasnt been all lazing about we have managed to spend some time at the internet cafe and on the phone, organising and researching some things for later parts of our trip. After Dahab well be making our way to Cairo where well spend a week doing some sight-seeing, but also doing practical things like organising visas, getting the car serviced etc.
We had planned to be here for 6 nights (leaving Thursday 7th), but now were not leaving till Sunday 10th. Quite tempting to stay here till about October actually.