So diving in Hurghada is wicked, for $60/day you can stay in a shabby but clean downtown hotel (‘4 seasons’, not the real one), 2 boat dives on the Red Sea (slightly damaged reef due to overuse), all the food you can eat, 3/4 dinner beers and some tea. The shit! Plus, for a $5 tip (3 half-litre beers), the dive guide will take you on a 35m deep drift-dive on the edge of an awesome reef (Ras Disha) where you will find 4 large lion fish under a boulder, hectic! (still need to get my AOW).
Unfortunately I had to leave Hurghada, got way too windy and the Red Sea Police kept closing the sea, so no diving, giant sad face. I’ll be back for sure, I need to do the ‘MS Thristlegrom’ wreck dive (17-25m deep, small military cargo ship that sunk in 1941, the wreck is complete with motorcycles, jeeps, rifles and 2 train locomotives which were bound for Egypt. Sorry, got a little side tracked there. This closure also meant the ferry from Hurghada to Sharm el Sheikh ($40) couldn’t operate so I had to get a 30min flight with Egypt Air (this was only $57, booked the night before, not bad).
Arriving in Sharm el Sheikh, I opted to stay in a diving village in Shark Bay (10km outside of the 5-star city centre), this is after arguing with taxi drivers at the airport which involved pretending to walk there (6km) to get a ride for 50LE (down from 150LE, should have been 20LE really, fuckers). On top of this, the resorts prices had increased by 950% (slap on wrist for you Lonely Planet), you can tell the place has been done up recently so it’s kind of justified….. :S.
They weren’t kidding when they said Sharm is expensive. I was told by a local Egyptian in Hurghada that Sharm purely exists for tourists. There are no average Egyptians living there, everything has been built for tourism, kinda depressing.
Shark Bay’s Umbi diving village (my accommodation) is a series of Bedouin (desert folk) run huts and villas cut into a mountain face, very cool (except for the mosquitoes and large ants). It is complete with a dive centre, dive shop, small supermarket and restaurant. I agreed a price of approx 3000LE ($480, after some haggling) for my advanced open water ticket (inc course notes), 5 nights accom (no A/C, no bathroom), 1 double boat dive and the last day snorkelling, bit more expensive than Hurghada but still cheaper than Aus.
Later that night, after dinner, I thought I’d go for a walk down the coast, scope of the other hotels and practice some night-time photography. I got about 30m south of Umbi before a security guard from the next hotel asked me for my arm band (to show I was staying at their hotel); fail. After arguing with him for while and trying to explain that I just wanted to go for a walk on the beach I turned around, he wasn’t having any of it, I returned to the confides of my hotel. This on top of an earlier experience where I tried to walk north of the hotel at lunch time to snorkel under a cliff face and another security guard told me this beach belonged to their hotel and that I couldn’t put my towel down there (unless I paid for it of course).
So yeah fuck it, I’m leaving, I wasn’t spending 5 days on a 50m stretch of beach with only 1 choice of place to eat. Heading either to the youth hostel in Sharm town centre (only if the beach is free) or straight up to Dahab on the local bus (40LE).
I heart resorts!
E ntry to
O nly in
R esorts is
(no stealing my hectic poem!)