May 23, 2019
We were both able to get on the Red Sea snorkeling trip today and Norm was very glad he got to experience it. We both agreed that it was maybe the top snorkeling we have done anywhere!
In Cairo, it is 116 degrees. So plan B worked out just fine.
Mohammed was our guide on the bus and he accompanied us on the boat as well, just like he did yesterday. What I didn’t mention was that both days there was an armed security guard with us too. I didn’t take his picture as you are advised not to and I didn’t want to have to stay in Egypt!
It was another spectacular day. Today our guide on the boat was Tina. She was originally from Switzerland where she was a banker! She gave that life up for this one – not as much money she says, but she is much richer. She has a tattoo on her side that says “Don’t dream your life, live your dream” in Arabic. She went to Singapore to have it done on the recommendation of a friend.
She was also telling us that all plastic is banned in Egypt by June 1. She was very talkative and I asked her a lot about her family and how they reacted to her extreme lifestyle change. She isn’t married and her parents were initially upset but then saw how happy she was and now enjoy visiting.
It is very hot here – 99 degrees – but very comfortable on the boat. There is a lot of construction going on and I don’t know how the Muslims work in the heat during Ramadan without drinking all day. They must be made of stronger stock than I am.
Here are some pictures from the underwater camera – I guess I am the designated picture taker now.
It was a terrific day all around. One thing they do here to protect the coral is that they are not allowed to use anchors at all. There are ropes already tethered to certain spots, and they need to tie up to the ropes. Here we were right next to another dive boat. There were some kids and a dog on that one!
Here are a couple of pictures from the boat. The water is so clear you can see to the bottom from almost everywhere.
Almost everything is closed for Ramadan. The roads are almost deserted. When we returned to the ship we saw the ferry and tons of baggage of all kinds being taken off by the passengers. I didn’t get a picture but it was amazing.
We are really happy that many of the crew had the chance to go to both Petra and Luxor. There were crew tours in both places and it is great to see them have the experience and they are all so excited about the opportunity.
Can’t imagine wearing these robes everywhere. They put these sticks between the fences.
Tina told us that after the 2011 uprisings, tourism declined 90% It is picking up but she says now there are not enough flights to bring all the interested tourists and they are very expensive as well. There is a lot of building everywhere, the hotels near the dive site are being renovated by Kuwait. There is a lot of security – in fact one of the people at the check in center had a shirt that said “bomb squad”. I didn’t take his picture either…
Now we have 2 days on the ship – one of them will include the Suez Canal which Ray says will be a night passage. We will have an Arabic deck party tomorrow night. There will be another “best dressed” competition. Can’t wait to see the outfits.