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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Paradise Found: Dahab

Day 121 - 125

While working at the hostel, a couple of people had told me about this place called Dahab in Egypt…a big scuba diving destination, I wasn’t sure if I’d really be interested in going being that I am from Hawaii and to be honest, beaches don’t really impress me too much, especially when compared to Hawaii’s own.  But the last Australian I had met could not stop talking about it.

After we crossed the border, somewhere in the Red Sea, we arrived in Nuweiba, Egypt.  Luckily, I was able to convince Lee that we should try to spend a few days in Dahab before moving on and seeing all the famous sites of Egypt.  The problem though when we arrived at the butt crack of dawn was that we couldn’t find the shuttle that I had read about.  We also couldn’t find the town of Nuweiba.  All the drivers who were desperately waiting for passengers all gave us the same story and told us the ‘town’ was far and that we couldn’t walk there and that the bus to Dahab wasn’t until 4:00PM.  I didn’t want to go with these drivers who were obviously taking advantage of our situation.  All I needed was internet but we didn’t see any signs of a town and I wasn’t catching any wi-fi signal.  So…reluctantly, we agreed to go with one of the drivers at a rate of 60EGP ($10.50), each.

We arrived in Dahab about an hour or so later, it’s about 80km away from the port of Nuweiba.  We arrived and the driver took us to a place called Auski Camp (stands for Aussie + Kiwi) and was actually one of the places we had considered.  Ready to take no survivors, I bargained down Osama, the young guy that worked there, for a room WITH air conditioning + bathroom ensuite.  I told him that we would stay for two days but perhaps longer.  Contrary to any other person I had tried to bargain with in the past, he refused my business and agreed to my rate of 50EGP ($8.80) a night but said that we shouldn’t stay too long…ha. Okay, we shook on the deal and Lee and I shared a room for less than $5 a person!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aqaba on to Egypt…

Waiting for someone to take us to Aqaba

Ali dropped us off on the highway, as he said he would and again, thank God, I was with the guys.  Seriously, I would have freaked out if I was dropped off at the highway by myself; at least we had each other.  The owner, who was driving in front of us, was also taking his cook, who was Egyptian and who was also trying to make it to Aqaba so that he could take the ferry over to Egypt. So, Ali told us that he would help us get to Aqaba.  We waited in the hot sun for a while and there were a few buses that passed us but none of them stopped.  Finally a taxi stopped and we were able to get the 4 of us in.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Drama in the Rum…

So the next morning, I got up and went downstairs to meet Ali at 9:00AM to do our Wadi Rum tour.  The tour which was an overnight in the Wadi Rum desert wasn’t cheap; the guys paid 65JD (USD$91) for the tour that included dinner, breakfast and transportation to and from Wadi Rum.  As an employee, I received my employee discount and paid significantly less but it still wasn’t cheap.

We headed straight for the hotel where the two guys were staying.  Just as I walked in, I spotted Peter but Lee was nowhere to be found.  They had actually thought that they were getting picked up at 1:00PM (they sent me an email confirming time but I never received it) and Lee had stepped out to find a place to cut his hair (he had been traveling for about 3 weeks at this point).  So, Ali and I hopped back into the truck and went around town looking for him; I had to show a photo of Lee since he hadn’t met him yet.  We drove around and because the town is so small, we quickly found him walking down the hill towards Petra.

By about 9:45AM, we were on our way…we drove through desert landscape but it wasn’t anything that I hadn’t seen before.  I had seen similar scenery in Namibia and even in Arizona….the other thing was that Ali wasn’t much of a communicator so we didn’t really know what was going on half the time….as we were driving, I didn’t know the tour had already started!  I actually thought we were driving somewhere and then were going to head out.  So all the while, didn’t pay too much attention to the scenery since I thought we were just passing through.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lost in the Lost City…

A few days later, there was interest stirring up at the hostel of doing a trip down to Petra. Finally! I had been spending my days at the hostel waiting for someone to book a trip so that I could tag along.  There were some Greek girls who were interested in going and there were two other guys who were planning to do the trip on their own and were leaving the next morning. I thought it would have been great to have left with the two guys because one of the guys, Lee, was making his way back to Egypt and Egypt was in my plans. But, I was only finding out about their plans on Tuesday night during our rooftop barbecue.
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Either way though, I was hoping to meet up with Lee later in Egypt because he was telling me that he was planning to climb the Great Pyramids of Giza! Apparently he had done a lot of research on this subject and I thought if it weren’t too dangerous, it'd be something I was interested in doing too!
The following day, another guest, a Canadian guy, decided that he wanted to go down to Petra the next day. At first, he was going to be joining the Greeks and in that case, there would be no room for me but it turned out that the girls were going to make their own arrangements by going with their local Jordanian friends and so the the Canadian would be going solo;  I decided this would be a good opportunity for me to finally go!
If I were going to Petra, the other idea that I had was that I could actually meet up with the guys and go down to Egypt with Lee. But, that would mean I would have to meet up with them somehow since they had already left….