Dahab and Mount Sinai

September 28, 2010 - Dahab, Egypt

So I was exhausted when I got into Dahab at 5am last Wednesday. It turned out to be a really great backpacker town though. It was vibrant, but not too big. Beautiful, but not too resorty (yet). It had the Red Sea, with a view of Saudi Arabia, to one side, and a beautiful mountain range that the sun always set over to the other side. You will see a lot of sky/sun pictures this time. The place I stayed was also amazing: Dahab Dorms. Great atmosphere, amazing staff, pool, breakfast, unlimited water, WiFi, and beach lounge chairs were all included. The receptionist, Sayad, was so nice and we turned out to be friends. While I was initially going to only stay in Dahab for 2-3 day, then head to Luxor, I ended up spending the rest of my time in Dahab because I liked it so much (and taking two overnight buses to get to/from Luxor within a few days did not sound appealing..) My first day in Dahab I was so tired, it ended up being a lazy day. I slept until 3pm, walked around town to get a feel for everything, got a cheap local dinner of 60 cent falafel sandwiches, read my book, and went to bed.

Thursday was more exciting though. There was a reef right off the coast near the hostel (literally 100 feet away), so Sayad and I went snorkeling there for over an hour. It was good to get a little exercise, and the fish and coral were beautiful. For lunch I introduced some of the people from the hostel to the falafel place (it is a little outside the normal tourist turf, which was why it was so good and cheap). Then for dinner I went to eat at “Friends” with Dan and an Aussie couple. Dan is awesome. We call each other “new best friend.” He is a North Carolinian who has been working for a non-profit in Sudan for the past 3 years, and he was traveling Egypt during his 2 week vacation. We were very compatible friends, and we hung out a lot for the rest of his time there. Besides Dan, “Friends” the restaurant was also amazing (the Aussie couple was cool too..). It seemed a little steep at first ($7 for a fish), but it includes so many things, that it is really a deal in the end. We got lemonade, soup, starters (pita bread with like 5 different kinds of dips), fish (Dan and I split a grouper… I guess I’m not vegetarian anymore...??!?), fruit, ice cream, and apple sheesha/hookah. It was all delicious, and by the end I was pleasantly stuffed and thought $7 was a rather good price.

The next day Sayad and I went snorkeling again—this time to “the island.” It is just another reef off the coast, so I don’t know how it got the name, but it was still nice. After snorkeling, we walked to the lagoon and sat for a while sun tanning, swimming, and watching the people learning to wind surf constantly fall over. Good times. Then for dinner Best Friend Dan, Lexi (San Francisco girl who just arrived and has been living in Jerusalem for the past 3 months), and I went to……wait for it…..Friends!!! I got some veggies that day though. Fish two days in a row would have just been crazy talk.

Then around 11pm Dan and I got in a minibus to go to Mount Sinai on a day trip (well technically night trip) that the hostel organizes. Mount Sinai is supposedly where God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, and it a special, sacred place for many religions. We were doing a night hike up the mountain in order to see sunrise (and because I couldn’t imagine climbing the mountain in the heat of the day!). After a 2 hour drive, we arrived at the base and started walking up. Lucky for us it was a full moon too, so we didn’t need to worry about flashlights and the mountains looked really nice in the moonlight. Dan and I were one of the firsts to the top (I like my mountain trekking!), so we rented some blankets and a mattress and staked out one of the best spots. The sunrise was beautiful. In the morning we hiked down, went to Saint Katherine’s Monastery, which is a World Heritage Site, “one of the oldest continually functioning monastic communities in the world, and its chapel is one of early Christianity’s only surviving churches.” It also has “what is thought to be a descendant of the original burning bush” from the bible, which I got to see. Finally we get in the minibus, drive back to the hostel, and I sleep from noon until 7:30pm.

I finally got up, had dinner with Dan, Lexi, and Eirian (a Welsh girl getting her dive master’s from the hostel’s dive program) at Nemo’s (NOT as good as “Friends”), and went back to bed by 11pm. I was still beat from climbing a mountain and not sleeping the night before!

Sunday I woke up with an eye infection, which meant I couldn’t wear contacts (or snorkel, since I can’t see well without my contacts and you can’t snorkel in glasses). I sort of liked the forced relax time though. I got some eye drops and vitamins from the pharmacy, then chilled by the beach. Dan and I went to the falafel place (which by the way, was called Yum Yum, and their specialty was the “Yum Yum Monster”) for lunch, then watched a couples episode of TV, which I hadn’t done in forever. For dinner a group of about 13 of us went out to the desert for a Bedouin dinner. Bedouins are an indigenous group in Sinai who are believed to have migrated from the Arabian Peninsula. It was fun sitting by the fire, talking, looking at stars, and eating some good food. Even after returning to the hostel, a bunch of us stayed up late hanging out on the hostel roof.

Dan had to leave early the next day : ( He didn’t want to wake me to say goodbye, but he left a Snickers by my bed. Dahab wasn’t the same without my buddy. I still had Lexi though. I bummed the day away on my computer, reading, and chilling by the beach. For dinner Lexi, Eirian, and I are at Friends one last time. I split a sea bass with Lexi. I guess I was ready for another serving of fish.

And now it is today. I got the 9am bus out of Dahab. Arrived in Cairo around 6pm and came to the airport. Now I am just chilling in the worker’s cafeteria because it is the cheapest place to eat, waiting around for my 11:45pm flight to Madrid. I really enjoyed Egypt, and I want to come back someday and see more of it. For now though, I am ready for Eurotrip round 2!


Pictures

Dahab clouds
Dahab sunset over the mountains
my hostel was one of those white buildings
beginning of my Mount Sinai sunrise
 
 

4 Comments

Aunt Chrissie:
September 28, 2010
I've been recently learning about Saint Katherine’s Monastery. And you've BEEN there! Wow. Very impressive.
Any pictures of it?
Laurie:
September 29, 2010
Sounds like Egypt was a blast. It is amazing how quickly you connect with people, very cool.

What beautiful pictures. Take care of yourself.

Love,
Mom
dad:
September 29, 2010
LIKE.
Niki:
September 29, 2010
Chrissie- I added a picture of the burning bush. I didn't get a good view of the monastary from the outside, and you couldn't take pictures inside the church.

Mom- Egypt was a blast! Next time I would like to go for longer. Maybe a month and do Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria, Siwa desert, etc. There is so much there!
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