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Thursday, July 21, 2005

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From Dahab, with love

DAHAB, SINAI PENINSULA--So I've never been a lie-on-the-beach kind of guy, and I'm still not. Nevertheless, the view from Dahab is pretty amazing. Looking out across the waters, I find myself staring at the mountains of Saudi Arabia. They're ghostly here, like half-forgotten memories. Below me from the window of this internet cafe, a local youth leads a tourist. They're both on horses. Some folks are wearing swimsuits, others hijab. It's a melange, to be sure.

Before arriving here, my wife and I spent several days in Hurghada, which had changed drastically from when I was tere twelve years ago. No longer the sleepy little sun-scrubbed town, it was now a miniature Cancun, more's the pity--glitz, glass, mirrors, and tourists thronging and dressed inapppropriately (Memo to Europe: Do not wear Speedo).

Nevertheless, the owners Hussein and Warda of the Sea Waves hostel and the staff including Nasser, Abdel-Nasser and Tariq were real highlights of our stay--extremely welcoming, hospitable and gentle. Combine that with snorkelling around Red Sea corral and some excellent meals, and I'd call it all grand.

One very weird event worth noting was eating at a small place on the waterfront. The owner almost begged us to come inside to eat, yet while none of the other customers was dining (only drinking), the restaurant took an hour to get us our food (after my having to issue an ultimatum). The food was, shall I say, experiencing irreconcilable differences with flavour. Mostly odd was my wife's and my realisation that the place seemed to be serving female companionship (no quotation marks)--I'm not saying it was prostitution, but three or four waitresses playing pool and not delivering food doesn't seem like a restaurant to me.


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