09.20.2008 - 09.25.2008
Our ferry across the Red Sea from Jordan got us to land pretty late. We had thought we'd be able to get a taxi from there to our destination, Dahab, but as it was around 11:30 at night, none could be found. Luckily there was a bus there heading south, and we negotiated a price to take us to our hotel. Now having had some experience with prices being changed at the last minute we made sure to each ask a couple of times if this price included taking us to our hotel...The bus was loaded with yappy tourists heading south, mainly to Sharm El Sheikh, the mega draw for most tourists. We got to Dahab and the bus conductor told us to get off and transfer to a taxi as the bus could not navigate the small streets of Dahab, and that we should pay the taxi driver more money. It had been a long day and journey, and that probably explains in part why Carina went a little off on the bus guy, telling him we wouldn't pay any more. Don't need to go into any more details...she just got quiet after a bit....and the bus guy ended up paying the taxi driver (as was right!) Our hotel, the Red Sea Relax, was decent, and had been recommended by someone we had met while snorkelling in Zanzibar. We checked in around 2 a.m. and went straight to bed.
Dahab is a very touristy place, consisting of a beach strip of restaurants and shops, and a so-so beach. (Actually not so much beach, but the water was great.) Will likened the strip to the Jersey shore, but then it seems he thinks a few places are like that. Amazingly, it's possible to meet friendly locals every five feet or so, as they eagerly want to engage in cultural exchange. This kind of exchange is where you give them your money and they give you a meal at their restaurant, or some clothing from their shop, or a trip via camel, jeep, boat etc.
Somehow we weren't feeling that friendly all of the time, and so decided we would do some snorkelling as the Red Sea has lots of great reefs. We ended up at one of the famous sites, the Blue Hole, about a half hour away, and had some of the best snorkelling so far--incredible coral and lots of fish. We had made the trip with a group of divers, and by the time we got back, we started talking to the dive shop at our hotel. It didn't hurt that they were having a 2 for 1 special. Plus Carina had injured her achilles tendons a few weeks and was hobbbling a bit, so we figured the course would be a good way to rest her ankles. So...that's how we ended up getting certified as Open Water divers over the next three days. Woo-hoo! We're just happy-go- lucky, foot-loose and fancy-free. (When we heard that India was sending a rocket to the moon, we started thinking about becoming astronauts, but that'll be another trip.) Spending our time taking the course meant we didn't get to see more diving sites, but we were excited to think of including more dives on the rest of the trip so it was worth it. We spent our time studying our manuals and practicing our diving skills, and negotiating the strip to eat dinner at night.
These are the only two pictures we took in Dahab!! Shame on us!!
They're both of a well-known site called the Blue Hole. If you look in one of the shots, you can see the lighter-colored reef that forms the circular, deep "hole." Very nice. You could also ride camels here...wee!
Next stop...Nepal trek!