How do I begin to describe the SCUBA paradise that is the glory of the Red Sea.
When last we met, I had just gotten to the Sharm El Sheikh Renaissance Golden View Beach Resort. I wasn’t quite so happy with my room so I asked to be moved. Well before I discovered if I was happy with my new room I had to go diving for the day.
Out to the curb I go for a 7:30 am pickup… normally I could insert my usual bitching about why divers have to start so freaking early in the morning… but I was up at 5am anyway so no complaints.. well other than the 90 degree heat at 7am!
A Picture is Worth….
I’m picked up in the van by Fahad and the driver. Fahad turns out to be my instructor for the day as I am taking a PADI underwater photography course. Of course as these things go I think I’ve paid for everything as well but there is the 35 Euro 40 page glossy course manual I have to buy, and the 35 Euro certification fee… for reference 1 Euro = about 1.15 dolars.. so we’re talking an $80 I wasn’t expecting but I think in the back of my head I was as there is always some hidden fee.
BTW, I am diving with Camel Dive Club, a really class act 5 star PADI dive center. I can personally recommend you dive with Fahd, Sophie or Mohammad… all outstanding all professional.. all most importantly safe and fun!
I found Camel Dive through some searching online and reading a blog entry on the site Girls That Scuba. Thanks ladies, a great recommendation. I’m going to try another of your recommendations in the Maldives.
Anyway, off we go to the boat, a beautiful 50′ motor yacht decked out for diving. I’m not sure why I didn’t get any photos of the boat, but probably becuase I was too busy diving 🙂 Anyway, loaded up and on our way Fahad takes me through the basics of how we want to take photos and how we’ll be separate from the group to allow me to practice in peace.
And then it’s into the water. For the first day I focus heavily on the photography basic skills.. composition, shooting angles, bouyancy… I am REALLY having fun and by the end of the day Fahad is telling me how much HE enjoyed watching me come up grinning like a fool.
The Deutschland Duo
It is here that I’ll insert I met my new Bavarian (not German.. that’s different!) friends. Names redacted to protect the innocent. A father and son pair on a trip for the son’s birthday. They.. are.. hillarious! We hit it off immediately and end up hanging out for the next three days together
Watching my new Bavarian buddy teach the Egyptian waiters about the wonders of tobacco snuff, to politics to diving stories to talking American football with the son. Just all around great times.
And Did I Mention The Diving
But as great as my new friends are, the real star of the show was the diving. I again missed the whale sharks (see Phillipines) but one of the other groups saw one. But I saw a multitude of other wonderful wildlife and generally had a GREAT time playing with my new camera. The pictures are not the best yet but I am getting better.
Where The Dog Goes To Die
One of the more entertaining aspect of hanging with the Bavarian duo was learning Bavarian slang and Where the Dog Goes To Die was one of the funnier ones. Well funny after the fact…
So one of our intrepid dive guides (Sophie from Belgium) sent us for a burger at “Grille House”. Well, there were some signals crossed and we ended up going to the wrong place and it was closed anyway. When we told the driver that we wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe (junior was jonesin’ for a burger .. and I can’t say I wasn’t either) the taxi driver says.. OK.
You know where this story is heading. Yup.. hijacked in a taxi again. I know that there is a Hard Rock right in Naama Bay where our dive shop was and that was only 15 minutes away. Well, 20 minutes later I look up from our conversation and notice we are out in the middle of the desert… really really.
Well, it turns out he decided to take us to the Hard Rock in Nabaq which as was about 30 miles away.. yeah.. REALLY. So finally I start arguing with the guy on why he’s taking us so far away and it is “no no my friend.. 5 minute more”.. “right around corner”.. “see my friend.. we are here”..
After 5 of these excuses we actually do get to the Hard Rock but what should have been a $4 taxi ride he turned into one where he would try and collect $12… Now I know it’s not that much but I am pissed at this point about being taken advantage of and hijacked out to nowhere. So we have a little.. ahem… discussion. It results in me throwing some money on the dash and leaving the taxi.
I will give the guy this, I left my phone sitting on the front seat and he came in to return it to me. So then I felt a little guilty as he wasn’t as bad a guy as I was wanting to believe. But I was still upset and it took me an entire Meister Max 8% beer to calm down and enjoy the moment.
As we were discussing the fact that we were taking for a ride there is a flurry of German discussion between father and son and a lot of laughter. Then the son, my Bavarian Google translator explains to me that they say in Bavaria that this is where the dog goes to die.. I explain that we would in slang call it BFE .. I won’t explain that here.
Peaceful Easy Feeling
So I sit here on my last day in Egypt, reflecting, and it’s interesting that as the Eagles son “Peaceful Easy Feeling” comes on my phone, that it is exactly how I feel. Finally. It’s been a mad rush up to the point I got to Egypt but I’ve had 5 days to dive and enjoy the underwater paradise I love so much.
Then in my inbox the daily mass readings came through and there was this passage that just struck home to me.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:
He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.
You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God.2 Cor 9:6-11
Egyptian Gastronomy And Hospitality
For those that are interested in my evaluation of the food in Egypt.. wow it leaves a lot to be desired unless you are eating fresh seafood which is magnificent.
The hospitality of the Egyptian people was magnificent by and large. Incredibly helpful even if they try and sell you something first 😉 They don’t take offense if you don’t buy.
The Renessaince Golden View Beach Resort was I’ll say nice. Very nice common area and reception. However they are not living up to the potential of their site. The vegetation was overgrown almost hiding some of the walkways, The edges of the paths where they met the walls were allowed to just collect dirt rather than sweeping them off. The rooms themselves are definitely nice but again in my opinion not up to Marriott standards. They are in desperate need of refurbishing as all of the couches and chairs are pretty beat up and/or stained. I think after seeing it from only the outside I might consider the Sheraton closer to Naaman Bay.
To The Maldives
So friends, it is with a little sadness that I couldn’t dive today (no diving within 24 hours of flying). But I am full of anticipation for the next adventure on the list. The Maldives.