April 2, 2008

Dahab, Egypt

My dear friend Betsy asked me to keep in mind the question of “what would be the number one place to retire” after my travels are done. Although I have just started my journey and still remain in the first country on the itinerary, I could have possibly found a place that will remain high on the list throughout the year, if not take first prize. Sarah’s husband, Adam, says that paradise gets boring, and while I used to agree with this statement, Dahab might have just changed my opinion.
Dahab is on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula, nestled between the Red Sea and the desert overlooking the mountain ranges of Saudi Arabia. It is the less touristy neighbor of the more popular Sharm, which when visited right before the “on” season can make one feel as though they have lived in this town all their life. The romantic, humorous, hospitable and laid back attitude of it’s residents make it a difficult place to leave. In the kindest way possible, the men here compare you to the beauty of the moon, stars and sea, and after a few days it makes perfect sense that their language and point of reference is inspired by the magnificent environment in which they live. It makes me wonder why they don’t have a production line of famous poets from Dahab. If you are a writer, this is the place to start or finish a book. If you are not a writer, then this is the place to become one.
Much like California, there are, other than watching spectacular sunsets on rooftop restaurants while taking in perfect weather, many things to do. Dahab has a famous dive site called the Blue Hole, which sounded like some point -of-no-return before I entered the crystal clear water with my snorkel gear on and after making nice with the fish that used to petrify me and gliding along a beautiful coral reef became a believer in the serenenity of the sea. It also has spectacular desert in which to take a day tour or camp out under the night sky. And then that brings us to Mt. Sinai which I have to make another post altogether.
At night locals and fellow travelers mingle in open air Bedouin style restaurants listening to the mixture of the sea and ambient music while lounging on ground pillow seating while having a glass of wine and smoking some sheesha from the hooka pipe – well, atleast that’s what I do anyway (surprisingly). And so what had planned to be a two night stop over on the way to Jordan turned into a magical five day visit that I now know is only a short twelve hour plane ride from the shores of eastern USA. If I go M.I.A, just call the BishiBishi hotel in Dahab and ask for the American who never made it out of town.

1 comment:

sand said...

Hey A, remember we were looking out at the Pacific from Big Sur, and we talked about gliding along the ocean floor. I see you have discovered the sea! Isn't it spectacular? Like the desert only softer and more dreamlike.

And I'm loving the sound of Dahab. Maybe that's my next trip.

xoxoxo Sand


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