I chose my hostel in Dahab because it is known to be solo-traveler friendly, and I wasn't disappointed. Over the course of the first night's trip to Sinai, I made immediate friendships with two Egyptian guys my age vacationing from Alexandria, a girl traveling from Amsterdam, and a girl from Arizona who had just finished a teaching contract in Cairo.
The five of us spent the rest of our time there together, eating and swimming and snorkeling.
I had only snorkeled once before this, in Key West, Florida. The Red Sea is supposed to have some of the most amazing snorkeling and diving on the planet. It was so cool to follow along the shelf of the reef, the schools of fish would swim so close you could touch them, and one large red fish, maybe a snapper, stared me down for several seconds before venturing closer to check me out by "biting" my finger! I took a roll of underwater photos there, but have yet to go old school style and get them developed :) I can't wait to see how they turn out!
The night before, the guys were telling us what they wanted to do in Sharm-- EAT. They were so excited to drive down there and eat all this fabulously delicious food. When it came time to go to dinner, we started walking, checking out all the seafood restaurants... and then the guys stopped and I learned what this amazing food was they spoke of-- Pizza Hut! Apparently it is all the rage in the Middle East.
So, we girls went to one of the other restaurants while they ate pizza and joined us later. This was one of the most fun nights I've had.
Also what must also be mentioned about Egypt are the CATS! I have never seen so many cats in my life. I guess because cats are revered in Egypt? It is pretty unnerving... you may not see any for a moment, but when dinner arrives in front of you there are cats in your lap and on the table... along with salt and ketchup, tables are traditionally equipped with spray bottles of water to fend off the cats.
I personally found this a struggle-- between my allergies/not wanting to touch the cats/finding them disgusting all up in my food, versus feeling bad about spraying them (which usually didn't even work!), or alternatively, shoving them off the table. And of course, the occasional adorable little mewing kitten that was impossible not to feed....
|Cat for dinner?|
Back in Dahab the next day, the girls were getting SCUBA certified and the guys and I went to snorkel the infamous Blue Hole. This site has actually claimed the lives of many scuba divers, but snorkeling doesn't pose the same dangers. The reefs and fish there were absolutely incredible.
|Divers' Memorial at the Blue Hole, Dahab|
Of course I also loved how inexpensive everything is in Egypt- on my last night we rode horseback on the Red Sea for an hour for about $5!
The next morning it was time to head towards Jordan for the start of my second program, taking a bus to Nuweiba then a ferry across the Sea. I wasn't ready to leave.