Middle East, July 2000 part 4: Egypt

We sadly left Wadi Rum and bused on to Aqaba for our ferry ride to Egypt. It was amusing to see Isreal just over the fence, so to speak. Getting back to non-Bedouin life was a tad of a jolt, but we managed! Arrival in Egypt was amusing. Bureaucracy abounds! Getting the visas was a small circus and apparently craftily arranged by the Egyptians to be the most efficient system available. Sure! We got our own back with the taxi touts by asking an immigration official how much the buses and taxis should cost to get to Dahab. Primed with his answers and the company of 4+ other backpackers, we bulled our way through the taxi touts and said we would catch the bus, thank you, unless you have a lower offer. Someone eventually capitulated, much to the dismay of the other taxi touts! Dahab was a happy place! Scuba diving, snorkeling, good eats, nice walks... Being a 'resort town,' Dahab started with the sea, had a row of open air restaurants, a 20ft wide packed dirt path walkway, another set of restaurants, then a few hotels, followed by... a traditional Egyptian town. The division between skimpy bikinis and full gowns seemed to be about 50ft!

Dahab horizon - jungle to desert, Egypt Tatoos in Dahab, Egypt

Beck and I eventually had to depart and leave our friends in the scuba paradise. A midnight mini-bus (8 hours, the longest bus ride... and it was realllllyyy long!) to Cairo over the Suez Canal... and then we had to deal with more taxi touts and find our hotel while our taxi driver wanted to take us to some other place because ours was apparently "full"... yet when we finally just got out and walked, our place was rather far from full. We arranged a taxi tour to the pyramids and other Egyptian monuments (along with the accompanying papyrus and horse-carriage walks sales pitches). After all the Crusader and Roman ruins, the pyramids were somewhat of a letdown... large one bedroom flats... very large, mind you! Though someone apparently stuck one of them in the dryer...

Beck inside an Egyptian palace, near Cairo, Egypt Beck with a mini-pyramid, near Cairo, Egypt The one and only Sphinx, near Cairo, Egypt

We also visited the Egyptian museum and saw far too many exhibits of sarcophagi and figurines and scrolls and and and! We did get to see Tutankhamun's head piece and the silly amount of gold that was in his tomb, though there were some incredible works. A looong walk to a souq, more touts, and a looong walk home finished the day off. Exit stage left! We departed for London the next morning, excited to head to England, but wishing we were back playing in Dahab with Jenn and Dave!

Our last Middle East morning... empty street outside the Sun Hotel, Cairo, Egypt