Where to start?
It was just GREAT.
We (me, Geta, Tom) headed for a week-long vacations in Egypt at the beginning of April (1-9 March to be precise).
I was always dreaming of coming to Egypt once. The mystery of one of oldest civilizations, relaxing water of the Red Sea, and of course pyramids were the things that magnate me towards this country. Reading all those myths about Egypt, historical books, I was imaging how it would be – to come to Egypt and see it with my own eyes. As other lands, Egypt is so different from Russia, has different culture, and so significant for the world’s history, that it was a must-to-come-place on my list. And a bit of savings, and Tom’s passion to come back to the country made this magic happen for me this year.
And I can say – YES, I’ve been to Egypt!
I’m happy 🙂
About vacation itself
Cairo – Basata – Dahab – Basata – Cairo.
Key learning point: have someone who knows the place and puts the program for you.
Tom was our gift for this trip, making all our wishes realized. He lived in Egypt for a year, and for sure knew what foreigners like us would like to see and to do on the holiday, plus what we should see – which was sometimes different 🙂 – to get a feeling of the country. Of course, his sincere desire to show us Egypt at its best and make the best holidays of our lives paid off.
I hereby declare: I had the best holidays of my life so far in Egypt! 🙂
So, how it actually was there? I’ll start from the start.
We arrived to Schiphol airport at 6 in the morning to get to know that our flight (hello, Alitalia!) got cancelled. So instead of flying to Milan and landing then in Cairo in the afternoon, we flew to Frankfurt, and then landed in Cairo in the evening.
Another learning point: be flexible to change your plans if conditions change, and it will be fine 🙂
The first impression of Egypt was in the airport – new terminal is super cool, much better than many others I saw. And warm welcome by around 10 Egyptian aiesecers who came to meet Tom (and me and Geta who came with Tom 🙂 We packed ourselves into cars, and headed straight to the city, to take a boat called felucca (this is a traditional Egyptian boat people take to spend spare time).
Imagine: nice warm evening, city lights around, you float on the boat along Nile, and only flopping of the sail, Egyptian music, conversation and laughers of welcoming people around you. I was absorbing positive emotions, smiling to myself 🙂
The evening continued with our first dinner in Cairo, which happened to be in the street café, on the edge of the center of the city, and it was the greatest kebab and kofte and something else I’ve ever tried 🙂 Some more Egyptian aiesecers/alumni joined, some left, and soon we headed to one of best cafes on Nile – Sequoia for those who knows – for couple of hours, to smoke shesha (shisha, hookah, waterpipe).
Imagine, a guy brings you in about 40 flavors, and you can smell and choose whatever you want. Shesha in general is very traditional in Egypt. Basically it is flavored tobacco, which you smoke through the long pipe, and it gets to you cooled through the water. It used to be a thing for older poorer men, but now it is very commonly used by many-many people, youngsters as well. I’d even say it is a substitute for beer in Egypt – as alcohol as you’d imagine is not widely used, many people consume shisha as a social relaxing element. Girls would smoke shisha with their friends when going out, and almost in every place you have shisha in the menu. And for those in suspicion – no, it’s not a drug. It’s like a cigarette, but much milder, cooler and relaxes you, as it has to be smoked slowly – sometimes for an hour or so. I tried it before (however I don’t smoke cigarettes), in Turkey and other places, liked it. Plus it’s an ultimate element of Egyptian life that you can’t ignore and should just embrace 🙂 In my competition with myself if I can produce more smoke with shisha, I won – at the end of the trip I was puffing quite well. Favorite flavor – melon, it’s mild and they say girly, but what to do, a girl – this is who I am! 🙂
Ok, enough of shisha stories 🙂
We spent nice time in the café, chatting, relaxing, and in a couple of hours a mini bus was waiting for us, so we headed to Sinai, main place of our vacation.
One of Tom’s best Egyptian friends, Shady, joined us for the trip (true example of a spontaneous decision – he was ready to go after 3 hours as Tom spoke to him about our plans in Sinai 🙂
The first evening was perfect, in several hours we did lot’s of cool stuff, and that set us to anticipate the rest. The rest appeared to be even better 🙂
To be continued
p.s. EGYPT PHOTOS – in my flickr: