Doin Diddlysquat in Dahab – Dahab, Egypt

After about an hour of nothing but desolate desert terrain dotted with the occasional seaside development, we pulled into Dahab. My first taste of Egypt was very stereotypical with landscapes of neverending sand and dust with the heat rippling up distorting the lines into something from a sci-fi movie. And it wasn’t even 9am yet.

After checking out a few different hotels/camps, I settled on one that was a bit of a walk but shiny and squeaky clean. I shared a triple with the two Israeli guys bringing the cost down to 15 Egyptian pounds each which is just over $3 CAD. Sharing rooms with same or opposite sex is no big deal in backpacker land but apparently in Egyptian culture they just assume…well, I suppose they must assume these are my two men. How many did Cleopatra have?

Anyway, the boys went out to eat which gave me some alone time in which to shower and nap. I ventured out later to walk along the windey (why is windey not a word? Ok, it was windy too but it was also wyndey) boardwalk that skirted the waterfront.

I didn’t really see any beaches that were anything great to speak of but I wasn’t really looking to beach bum around here for three reasons. One was that I didn’t have any sunscreen. Two was that I have somehow managed to lose my umpteenth pair of sunglasses leaving my eyes naked and exposed to the blaring sun. Three was that the only swimsuit I have is a bikini and this is not appropriate in Egypt despite the many men claiming that “this is a very touristic place so its fine”. Yeah sure man.

I was getting gawked at enough with clothes on and there were many times I was quite glad that I had one of my new guy friends on either side of me. I noticed a difference in the level catcalls when I would walk with them and when I would walk alone. Surely it was assumed that I was with one of them, if not both (!!), which would deflect any unwanted attention.

As much as the built in security of having male roommates was nice for a while, I quickly moved into my own room when I was annoyed to no end. I realized one of them while sleeping, has a strange habit of squeaking like a puppy (no it doesn`t sound cute) which left me, the light sleeper, unrested and irritable all the next day. Lesson Learned: Three is a crowd.

In Dahab, I enjoyed sitting around and doing a whole lot of nothing. There are tented outdoor restaurants everywhere where people laze around all day in the shade and all night by candlelight. I would just sprawl out on the multitude of pillows and cushions surrounding the low tables where I could place my freshly squeezed mango juice or tea. How do you squeeze a mango? Wisps of spicy incense intertwined with the heady aroma of the shisha smoke wafting by, as if to dance with the mellow music in the background.

Suddenly a palm size pointy faced Egyptian kitten hops onto my lap. After confirming my consent with a moment of affirmative eye contact, she drops onto her side with frightening speed and plays narcoleptic. I studied her long lean body, soft short fur and satellite dish size ears observing this picture of health purring contentedly. How thrilled I was to find that kittens and puppies are rampant here, almost all of them seemingly in excellent health.

Even the adult cats and dogs are quite small at full size so you can imagine how small these adorable little creatures are. I suppose that everyone sitting so close to the ground for supper would mean they they are well fed but they don`t beg as much as you would expect. They mostly just sit patiently until if and when you feed them but really, who could resist.

So I would walk along, wait until I would hear some great music ( there is every variety ) setting whatever atmosphere I was in the mood for, then I would settle in. The shops seemed to always be open so at any given hour you could buy scarves or sarongs, Egyptian art, jewellery, or their beloved shisha (the water pipe thingy). The air was really warm all the time and even strangely seemed to get warmer at night.

I was really glad to meet Kelly, a super cool chick from Calgary who I clicked with instantly. We shared stories and she introduced me to the Kushry House where you can get a meal for only 2 pounds which is not even 50 cents CAD. Granted it is nothing fancy, I liked it until the 4th day when I decided that was enough Kushry for a while.

Kushry consists of rice, pasta, lentils, chickpeas topped with tomato sauce and crunchy fried onions which was carb central, very good for the very active Kelly. I think she sensed that I have my limits on the last day when she excitedly exclaimed that we had time for one last kushry before we left and as my face screwed up into a grimace, I politely declined. I`ll be fine with my mango juice…

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