Monday, June 24, 2013

Egypt Budget Travel Blog - Changing Our Plans - Dahab to Luxor by Bus

It was a hard start to the day. Josh woke up early and was plagued with thoughts of everything that we have to do upon our arrival back home. The shower drains were all plugged up, so we couldn't shower. Then, when coming back to the room, he hit his head (for the hundredth time) on the very low doorway. From there we decided to go get breakfast at shells, where we have been for a while now because they have a special, but arrived too early. They were not yet open. We went back to our room for a bit and tried to soothe ourselves with thoughts of our return to the Blue Hole to snorkel later in the morning.

We were finally able to get breakfast, get our things and head out. It was another still day and we wondered if the cooling breeze would ever return to Dahab. We were excited to be going back to the Blue Hole and shortly after we arrived and got settled, we dove in and became a part of that dazzling underwater world. We found the great spot that we had found the first time and spent a bit of time there watching the fish and admiring the rainbow colored coral. We saw so many different kinds of fish. It was amazing! There were all different colors and patterns, shapes and sizes. This has to be the best place, by far, that we have ever snorkeled and I wish we could go back again and again!

The day was much improving. We had planned on just spending the day there since we had already decided that we would be spending a few more days in Dahab before heading over to Cairo on the 27th. We had wanted to go to Luxor, but it is further and we figured that it would be an expensive hassle. Especially with still not feeling very well.

One of the guys that worked at the restaurant area that we were hanging out in came up and was quite chatty. He was very surprised for some reason that we did not speak Hebrew. After talking for a bit he asked, “You are Jewish, right?” We laughed and said that perhaps we were, that our families come from all over and that it is a possibility. He said that we must be part Jewish because he could always tell. It's funny because, even though that is the first time that I have been asked, Josh has been asked a few times if he is Jewish. Who knows? What was funny was that they man kept saying that it was ok, like we would be offended to find out from a stranger that we were in fact Jewish. We talked about our trip and some other things. He asked us if we were planning on staying in Dahab for the 30th. We asked what the significance was of that date and he said, “Oh, it's going to be a big revolution on that day. You probably don't want to be in Cairo. They are going to shut down the tunnel that goes under the Suez Canal, so you will have to fly out of Sinai to get back.” We looked at each other. This was quite news to us. We had to change our plans then and there. We were very glad that he mentioned it to us because otherwise this all would have probably taken us quite by surprise. He checked with a friend who worked with the canal or something and came back to let us know that the plan was to close the tunnel on the night of the 27th. So much for our plans. We didn't want to be in Cairo for the rest of the week, since it is hot, loud, and makes our allergies go crazy, so we decided very quickly to make the trip to Luxor afterall.

We went out to snorkel one last time since we were having to cut our day short in order to get back and get our bus tickets. (We also ended up finally buying three bracelets from three different girls. They are quite pretty and were 5LE each.) Josh had also decided that he did want to take a camel ride afterall, so we enjoyed what time we could spare and then headed back in to town. We bought our tickets through the safari company that we have been going through for our outings while here and also booked a sunset camel ride to the lagoon. The man gave us a good deal and we were excited, and a little nervous for the upcoming ride. We had just enough time to return to our room, get ready, grab a snack and head back out.

We were met with a young man who was to lead us to the camels and be our guide for the two hour jaunt. The safari outfits here offer different camel safaris that can last up to a couple days, but we wanted to play it safe and keep our riding time to a minimum, knowing that we would have to pay for it later with sore backsides. This trip was about two hours, and was really quite long enough. Once camel was white and one was tan. The white one was bigger and looked like it could be a bit of a handful. It met us with quite a noise when we arrived. Josh decided to take that one, for my sake. Getting on the camels wasn't difficult as they lay down while you mount. However, staying on while the camel climbs back up is another story. With one hand I held on to the back ridge and with another I held on to the front horn of the saddle. We both made it and were on our way! The guide had the Josh's camel tied to mine by a rope and led mine by another rope.

The ride was a bit different than I had expected. We had to take the main road part of the way to the lagoon
and it was very interesting to be riding a camel with cars driving around us. The camels didn't really seem to mind, however, and we went on our way. After we got about two thirds through our trip we turned off onto a dirt road and that was much better. At that point the guide handed me the camels rope! I didn't really know what to expect. Luckly, the camels were old hats when it came to the route and did fine on it's own. I was literally just along for the ride.

I came to the realization that camels are very curious. They like to look all around and see what is going on. They also get distracted by what and who they see and have to be brought back around by the clicking noises of the guide. I've also concluded that camels are day dreamers. As they look around they seem to get lost in their own little worlds. They get kind of a lost day dreamer look in their eyes and slow down as they walk. Again, the guide's clicks and tap would bring them back down to Earth.

There were a few times when the camels thought that it would be a good idea to grab a snack on the run. There were a few trees that must have looks extra tasty, for nothing could deter them from making a little sidetrip to grab a mouthful. This really wasn't too much of a problem for me, but Josh ended up in the trees a few times since he is tall and so is his camel. As soon as I looked back and was assured that he was fine, I couldn't help but burst out in laughter. It really was the funniest thing to see.

We stayed at the lagoon for about fifteen minutes and then headed back. Our backsides were in fact already beginning to complain. We had already decided on having dinner at a Thai restaurant called “Blue House,” on the way back and so asked to be let off at the bridge instead of going all the way back to the safari office. The guide was fine with that and after giving him a tip, he wished us a good night, climbed up on the camel that I had been riding and off he went. We, meanwhile, limped across the road and made our way to get some dinner. Unfortunately, we found that the restaurant is closed on Mondays. We were disappointed as we had this dinner planned since the night before. One the walk back up we were stopped by someone at another of the restaurants on the corniche and offered a 30% with their card as well as a free starter. It looked like a nice place and the menu looked good, so we decided to eat there.

The restaurant was called “Green Garden,” and the set up was quite nice. We were given a table right on the water to watch the sunset over Saudi Arabia. The service was great and the food was good. There was only a couple problems. Firstly, the waiter misunderstood Josh's order and instead of bringing him oven potatoes, we was brought apple moussaka. It wouldn't have been a problem if the moussaka wasn't actually mostly onions. He said that it was ok, but I felt bad and so asked about it. The waiter was quick to make the correction, but we finally guessed that they did not actually have the potatoes that night since has brought was appeared to be a potato moussaka. He liked it quite a bit, but was getting full of the starter and the sides by then. Also, it was very had to eat because he had a demon cat tormenting him. This thing started out all nice and loving, but once the food was brought, kept climbing into his lap and securing itself by its claws to his legs whenever I tried to move it down. While there it kept trying to steal food from his plate and yowling at us. It was quite scary. I did my best to keep moving it, but mostly Josh had to get it to move by throwing his french fries under the table. That only kept it away for a minute however and he was back again. When Josh had enough of that as he could take and was quite full, we decided to save time and go up to the counter to pay our bill. Right as we left the table, that demon cat jumped up and started eating out of his dish. It was too funny, but still a bit annoying. When we went to pay the waiter begged us to stay and have some complimentary Bedouin tea, so we went ahead and accepted. Once the food was gone so was the cat and we were able to enjoy our tea as we watched the full moon rise huge and orange over the water. It was very beautiful and, after everything, a very nice end to a very full day.

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