It's official: I love Dahab.
I mean, what's not to love? The boardwalk that runs along the Red Sea is lined with vendors selling their wares, always eager to barter for the best price on the spices, clothes, perfume, jewelry and silver lamps that cover their shops walls.
The restaurants look out onto the water, most equipped with lawn chairs that sit only about a foot away from the waters edge.
Now that's what I'm talking about.
You can spend your days doing activities: diving at the amazing sites that are only about a 15-20min drive away, kite boarding or wind surfing, or just biking around.
Or you can just take it easy, eat some delicious food, smoke some shisha and meet new friends, which is what I've been doing for the past week ;)
I can't believe it's already been a week - it's like time moves faster here, I swear.
It must be all the good company. Gotta love the cat companions that always seem to know the perfect time to appear ;)
But seriously, this is the first time that I have actually gone out for meals completely by myself, and haven't spent a whole meal solo. I always end up chatting with my table neighbours, exchanging diving stories - I'm not the only one who has caught the diving bug. It seems like every other person I talk to either has their dive masters or is an instructor.
If not another customer, I end up chatting with the employees at the restaurant or cafe. I have had many interesting conversations, and love how open people are to talk about their lives and their country with me. Most of our conversations end with something along the lines of 'hopefully people will start coming back to Egypt after the elections, insha'Allah, god willing'
I really hope that things pick up again in Dahab. I have felt so safe here - everyone is so laid back that I couldn't imagine anyone having a problem here, other than the harmless hawking by the vendors here ;)
'Miss, you dropped something - my heart' or 'Come take a look at my shop - looking is free!'
When my Mom first told me that we were coming here, I was a bit nervous since it is located in the Sinai, which was an area that was in the news quite often due to violent protests. However, I did not realize before coming that there is a big difference between northern Sinai, which is where most of the trouble has been taking place, and southern Sinai, which is where Dahab, Sharm el Sheik and Ras Mohammed are located. Turns out she wasn't totally crazy to bring us here after all ;)
The flats that I've been staying at
I now understand how people get stuck here. I was chatting with an Italian guy at a coffee shop the other morning, and he was telling me how he had come here on vacation 12 years ago and went on his first dive. He loved it so much that he switched out of political science and started commercial diving. More than 5000 dives later, he is certified to teach pretty much anything under water and held the world record for the deepest dive back in 2007 - over 250m deep. He said that he would have 3 minutes after these dives to get to a decompression tank and spend sometimes weeks inside since it would take too long to do all of the safety stops while under water. Crazy pants.
Anyway, I am sad to be saying goodbye to Dahab, but it's time to return to Cairo and hang out with Momster and my little sister before heading out on the next leg of my trip in about a week.
Look out Thailand, I'm comin for ya ;)