It was a time of trepidation and excitement to get to Sharm Al Sheikh. Back in Amman, and at the last minute, we needed to run to the Passport Office to renew our passports.
Quick, run, fill in the application, nods and winks and lo and behold, the passports are out. It was three o’clock, my wife and taxi driver were outside to take us straight to the airport. We thought it would be extremely full, but God helped us, there was no need to wait, it was off to immigration and upstairs to the waiting area.
It took an hour, to get to Sharm Al Sheikh of what I imagined was a straight line from Amman, over to Aqaba, the Aqaba Gulf, and down at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, the area handed back to Egypt in 1978, after it was occupied by Israel since the Six Day War in 1967.
Initial impressions: desert, lit highways, footpaths, big hotels, big dining areas, lots of different bodies, shorts, long, fat, skin, all. Lobby full, dining room relatively full, different tongues, fair skin, was it Russian, Polish, or a rare English, spitting of German I thought I heard. Went to bed early, limbs were aching. Our room, with what seemed like hundreds of others overlooked a series of swimming pools. It was dark.
Next morning couldn’t sleep, up early, that’s better I thought to myself, the blue water, sea beyond, a couple of bodies taking an early swim here and there, with small movements I woke my wife up. It was launching at the resort.
Wishing to move we walked to the sea. It was hot, sun beaming down, lots of bikinis stretched out in deckchairs. The sea was magical, blue with tints of black. It was hot. My wife was drabbed in black, and I had jeans, not at all the tourist type beach buffs.
Went back to our room a bit later and then to straight to the dining room. On these type of holidays, I feel like I am on a constant spree of eating. And today was no different. It was full, noise, commotion, plates, rattling here and there.
Back to sitting in the lobby, going to our room, watching the sun bathers. It was only at 9 pm we started having a bit of fun. After a long wait, an air-conditioned minibus came and took us to “Alf Lila wa Lila” ( One Thousand and One Night), a tourist attraction of fun activity.
The décor was of fine oriental shape, telling us of how it was in the past. Then introduced to two shows.
The Light and Sound show spoke of the history of Egypt during the time of the Pharaohs, and how their kings and queens lived. Running horses and showmanship was supposed to add to the occasion. The show lasted for 45 minutes.
The second show started at 11 o’clock and lasted for 2 hours. We sat around a stage watching an oriental spectacular of colorful dancing ranging from folklore, traditional, pop and the French Can Can.
The show started with a ballet dancer, who performed as we sat eating our kebabs and skewered meat while me having looks in between bites. She juggled her bottom to the music ( I didn’t know how she could do that non-stop).
There was as well the Can Can, daddy long legs, a person walking on two very high sticks, who actually fell over as he was coming down the steps, and helped to get up by the audience—luckily he was ok, and then there was a man ballet dancing. Everybody said he was better than a man from the way he moved.
The show came to an end with the copra snakes, a man was seducing these into action, bringing in members of the audience to see how friendly they are. We got back to the hotel around 2 pm, dropped dead on the bed, only to be awaken with more sunshine and bodies in the pool.
The bus came at 11. We had had signed up on a tour. As the bus moved we started seeing elements of life past the Sinai casino. Hotel resorts, shops, big names like the Hilton.
We moved to the bay, they call it Sharm Waters. The boat was waiting for us. As it got out in the bay, we were told to go down below deck. It was a large glass boat. We sat, and just started to watch the corals that were nefarious had different names, and some were of incredible color.
Surrounding as well were the fish, some were tiny, others not so, and some had beautiful colors, and some were pitched black. I took lots of pictures, my wife took a video. It was an incredible feeling. There was group of us, from Jordan, a couple of Brits and Americans.
Nobody really goes out during the day. It’s hot, more like sizzling, you stay in hotels and resorts. The city is still being built, lots of sands in between the hotels, giving you the feeling that the desert consumes your mind. It’s overwhelming.
I was surprised to find there is a casino in Sharm Al Sheikh—no doubt catering for the many rich people who want to gamble secretly. The Israelis, especially the rich ones, I was told like to gamble, and have no doubt found an outlet here.
In the evening the city became alive. The cafes, restaurants, shopping outlets buzzed with business after sleeping the day. We went to the old markets were we bought much trinkets and souvenirs, had some food somewhere and then went to Nima Bay.
I couldn’t fathom where the myriads of people came from, it was action-packed of people who no doubt spent day on the poolside or the beach. On either side of the road were the shops, restaurants and cafes where people, if they wanted to, sat in a traditional Arabic atmosphere on the floor in tent-like surrounding
We walked around for a while like most other people and then waited for the taxi to take up back to the hotel. Next day we flew back. An interesting sort of holiday to unwind. Short and sweet, three days of discovery.
KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ from Karachi, Pakistan on June 14, 2013:
Very useful information