27.12.2011 - 02.01.2012 22 °C
Sharm El Sheikh
We have been lazing around the Red Sea for the past few days after 2.5 weeks of flat out temple hopping. The resort we are at and the location is excellent and the weather perfect. Whilst the official temperature has varied from only 20 degrees to 24 degrees, it has been quite warm on the beach and the water temperature is 23.
We have been quad bike riding through the mountains, and snorkeling/diving out on the reefs. Sam has completed his certification and can dive to 12m, and Jessica has been on three dives. The rest of us snorkeled out near Tiran Island and the visibility was incredible. Plenty of coral and fish to be seen. Even from the beach at our resort the snorkeling is excellent. Eagle Rays, Stingrays, Lion Fish, Moray Eels and all sorts of bright, colorful fish and coral are right at your doorstep.
The clientele here are nearly all Europeans, trying to escape their winters. The culture on the beach is somewhat different too, with fixed umbrellas and lounge chairs, and some strange swimming suits. When we were in Australia we were advised to dress modestly in Egypt at all times due to their conservative culture.....well I'll be stuffed if that is the information that the Europeans received before coming here. Not that I have noticed the bare breasts, and bikini bottoms that well, show an awful lot of bottom. In most cases the costume has mapped well to the chassis, but there have been some very alarming exceptions. Suffice to say, some swimming outfits are not in sync with a diet of three Big Macs, 5 pizzas, and a large side of Fries!!!! If you need to place your left butt cheek on one lounge and the right cheek on a separate one, don't wear the brief option.....it is simple. If you do feel the need then jump in the water and chase plankton!!
New Years Eve was spent at a restaurant/bar beautifully set up with Bedouin style tents and couches on the beach. Pretty good value for $16 p/h, including three courses, complimentary champagne on arrival and a free cocktail! Entertainment was a Transformer type guy wandering around and a fire dancer. All good, except for the beer. These guys need to understand that the fridge needs to be turned on, in order for the beer to be cold. Sounds simple but two fridges were fully stocked but with the switch in an "off" position....the opposite to "on". Even the waiter. Who was trying to hit on Jessica and Jacinda couldn't find a cold beer and had to go somewhere else to get one.
And on that note, Mohammed (a guy taking video footage of the night and continually coming up to our tent looking for "his angels") informed us that you cannot be gifted 5,000,000 camels as there aren't that many camels in Egypt. He believes his offer of 200 Arabian horses should be taken seriously and that he could present them the following morning at the front of the Marriot! If the beer had of been cold, I may well have been in a state to accept them then and there.
At the Quad bike trip the night before, the local guy at the Bedouin camp we stopped at, offered 200 camels, 2 Ferraris, and 2 Hummers (with full tanks of petrol). This offer went to 500 camels, 10 Ferraris and 5 Hummers (with full tanks of petrol) for the three of them....Jessica, Jacinda and Louisa. Believe it or not, this guy is Mohammed as well and I am kicking myself for not accepting the deal. I think that is the offer of the trip, and certainly beats the 2 chickens and 5kg of banana's I was offered at Queen Hotchickensoups's temple earlier in the trip.
Back to New Years Eve though. The night went really well given the beer was warm. At one stage we used the "when in Rome" clause and ordered a water pipe. It was really weird and we had the apple flavored tobacco added to it.
We moved on after midnight and found a whole new world to Sharm. We went to the party end of town and the place was really jumping. Sitting in the outside lounges with blankets and cold beer/cocktails was really nice and very different to lounges/bars we are used to at home. The water pipes were everywhere but one was enough for us. After a while we had to contend with one too many jerks who wanted to move in on us and wouldn't get the girls' less than subtle "hints" to effectively go now, or risk trying a water pipe in a manner they are unlikely to have experienced in the past! It was getting on to around 3 so we just headed back to the hotel.
Tomorrow we fly back to Cairo for a night and then it is on to Melbourne. We plan on doing a few speed boat activities in the morning before our 13:15 departure to Sharm airport. Will be a shame to leave. Go Aussies in the second test.