Sumptious seafood – Hurghada, Egypt

We landed in Hurghada which is just on the other side of the water from the tip of the sinai peninsula. The flight was only a half hour and they gave us a mango juice box on the flight. lee was sitting in business class and got banana bread too. when we were out of the airport, we dealt with the cab situation which was another nightmare. The driver tried to make us pay double of what we had agreed to. But I blew up and the guy backed down. I was like, SERIOUSLY! You picked the wrong day to mess with me! NO WAY you are getting another cent. Not this time! He really didn’t look like he knew what had hit him.

Next we went met up with some couchsurfers and made it an early night. Lee was getting sicker and it seemed best that he rest, even though it was Friday night. I visited a bit with Shady, one of the guys we were staying with and ended up getting a really good history lesson. It really is better to get the stories from the place of origin. I found it gripping and interesting to listen to a locals view/opionions/recollections rather than the dry boring books that try to teach the same lessons. Plus, it somehow felt more accurate.

The next morning, Karim and Shady had already left for work when I woke up. I drank up my left over mango yogurt drink and readied for the day. First I handed in my laundry downstairs to the young boys in the laundrymat. They counted the pieces while I gently informed the 10 year old who was smoking cigarettes that this was not a good idea. I told him it would stunt his growth. He kind of seemed to understand but I don’t know if it made a difference. I think better was that I wouldn’t accept a cigarette with him, no matter how many times or kinds he offered.

Next I found a good coffee shop that had wifi and rice pudding. I sipped tea and caught up on my emails and writing. It will be several weeks before I have a decent connection so I wanted to get all my administrative stuff taken care of. I am mostly free from work but every now an then there are things to do. It is a bit of a stress not to be out of communication/connection. As I manage my own property, there are some things that need to be put into place just in case something comes up while I am MIA.

I gobbled up a rice pudding (8 egyptian pounds) with fresh fruit and nuts on top. It was such delicious breakfast, that I ordered another and called it lunch. After a couple hours, I couldn’t stand the smoke anymore (it seems EVERYONE smokes here inside and out) and decided to go shopping.

I wheeled and dealed finally ending up with a couple long tops/dresses and a pair of awesome silver shoes. I know. Silver shoes. They look like bowling shoes from outer space but I love them. They say they are Nike but obviously they are not since they only cost $20. Anyway I really needed a new pair of kicks because its time to retire the well loved falling apart ones I am wearing now. Did I tell you how much I hate shoe shopping? I was tickled pink to find a pair that was not only comfortable, affordable and unique. The dresses were (50 pounds = 8 dollars) necessary since I packed ultra light up until now and needed a couple dressy things to wear on the ship. I was pleased at how versatile and feminine they were as well they were not like anything I would find in canada.

After grabbing a quick snack, we headed back to the flat where Karim and Shady were waiting to hang out with us. We ended up going for what was by far one of the best seafood dinners I have ever tasted. The soup was so deep in flavor and the spices complemented the delicate fish, prawns and calamari just perfectly. We had an eating competition and I still don’t know who won. I suspect we all did as we waddled out with very full bellies.

Next we drove down to the marina and walked up and down . We played “that yacht is mine” and then decided to have drinks in one of the waterfront bars. The chairs were bean bags and the lighting very chic. I tried to show them my black light tattoo without making it too obvious to the other patrons. After a drink and a tequila competition, we made our way home with the intention of napping before going back out again. Apparently there was a cabaret they wanted us to see but we all ended up too tired to make it. They guys really wanted us to stay another night but it just wasn’t a good idea. I really didn’t want to mess with missing the ship and not getting out of Egypt. After what happened in Sharm we didn’t want to take any chances with government or border officials. So even though our ship didn’t technically leave until Monday, we decided to board when they opened the gangway on Sunday, just to be sure. But I will say, one of the nicest words a friend can say is “stay”.

After the hour long taxi ride south to the port town of Safaga, I was very eager to get through the next gauntlet of officials. I braced myself when we pulled up in the taxi but it was all for naught. The lazy border men barely looked at Lee’s passport and didn’t even bother with mine, before waving us onto the ship. Really? It couldn’t be this easy. Surely some would come running after us at any moment, yelling something angry in Arabic. But no. We just walked up the gangplank onto our shiny clean ship. We were check in by some British accented crew and shown to the cabin. I was so unbelievably relieved. I let out a huge (perhaps too loud) sigh and felt my whole body relax.

Grateful for relief.

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