Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dahab & Cairo to Dar Es Salaam

The five lazy days we spent in Dahab were luxurious compared with the insane bustle of Cairo and Istanbul. On her refresher dive, Sierra had some pressure troubles with her ears, but I spent a good deal of my time in the Sinai submerged under the blue waters of the Red Sea. We only snorkeled over Dahab’s infamous “Blue Hole,” which claims the lives of dozens of divers a year due to nitrogen narcosis.

Dahab is a quaint desert town where you can walk from restaurant to restaurant as doormen at each eatery work up a sweat in their effort to get you to dine at their establishment. Their first question is always “where from?” to which I would usually answer Canada. Invariably they would reply “Canada Dry!” often followed by “Never Die!” and occasionally “No Woman, No Cry!” Sierra and I theorized that if restaurant hawkers spent less energy dragging one off the street and a little more on actually serving one when one had sat down, the whole dining experience in Dahab would be greatly improved.

After a nine hour bus ride through the desert and under the Suez canal, we were back in the Egyptian capital, much to our annoyance. But things improved the next morning when we ventured into “Islamic Cairo” and spent a few hours getting lost in the sprawling Arab Souque, the sensory-overloading precursor to our western mall complexes.

I briefly considered purchasing a mosque dome-topper to send to my folks, but decided against it after calculating the cost of shipping a ton of copper by DHL.

That afternoon we were delivered by taxi to the Pyramids Hotel. After a fierce hand-signal argument with our driver that culminated in the drawing of three small triangles on an envelope, we were taken to the actual Pyramids at Giza.

Apart from repeatedly having to yell “file mish-mish!” (Arabic for “that’ll happen!”) to tour guides on Camels who constantly pestered us to ride their foamy-mouthed beasts, we had a rather nice time mucking about in the afternoon sun, gazing up at the structural wonders.

We experienced twelve hours of delays on our 2 day Kenya Airways journey from Cairo through Nairobi to our new destination: Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

After many uncomfortable nights at flea-bite hotels, we’re basking in the comforts of Sierra’s father Eric’s lavish African compound. Tomorrow we set off on a five day safari to Kilimanjaro and the Ngorogoro Crater.


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