Friday, November 11, 2005

Back in Sharm

I am in Sharm el-Sheik again... but will leave tomorrow.
I enjoyed the rest of my time in Nuweiba very much. I was the only guest my second and last day/night there. I got to know some of the people there fairly well in the 2 days. They have an excellent chef, Eid. He is, I think, 25 years old and has been cooking for many years. We had a good chat my last evening. I sat around with a couple of the guys in the back while they smoked their sheeshas.
Everyone here seems to be obsessed with either sheeshas or cigarettes. So many Egyptian men have REALLY bad teeth... black, gross, etc. I think it is a combination of the smoking, drinking tea with TONS of sugar, and not cleaning their teeth.
I am staying at a nice hotel here, downtown Naama Bay, the Kahramana Hotel. I got a fairly good deal on the rate because Ahmed, from Nuweiba, has a cousin/friend (Adel) that lives here and has contacts... he knows the manager or such of the hotel.
Today I spent the entire day lounging on the beach in the sun. It felt so nice. I have been spending my evenings in Sharm at a little Beduin cafe along the strip, with my friends Ehab (21) and Mohammed (22). I met them when I was here a few weeks ago. I have kept in contact with them. They are some of my favorite people that I have met in Egypt. I have such a great time when I am with them. I am supposed to go to both of their homes to meet their families in the next week... unless problems persist. I am supposed to go to Alex with Mohammed tomorrow. He is from a town/city near Alex. He has been planning on this vacation for a while, but another guy that works there was on vacation in Cairo and lost his money (and bags?). Mohammed is supposed to wait until the other guy is back, which seems to be a big problem. After a few days in Alex, Mohammed comes back to Sharm, and then Ehab gets his vacation. He lives in a town/city near Cairo.
In the cafe, there are no chairs. You sit on cushions and lean against palm trunks that are covered with blankets. They serve drinks and sheeshas. While I am there, the guys keep bringing me things: drinks (tea, juice, cola, etc) and snacks (chips and such) and if I am hungry, food appears. So far, I have not had to pay for a meal. It is quite nice. (I could probably have had full board at the hotel if I talked to the manager, as Adel suggested, but I wasn't planning on sitting around the hotel all day.)
I am going to meet a guy from the hotel in a bit. He works in the restaurant. I seem to meet a lot of people that love to talk to me, because I know that little bit of Arabic. I saw Essam on my way back from taking a long walk along the boardwalk. We talked for a short time before I went to meet my guys. This morning he asked me if he could go with me on my walk, or sit down for coffee. Many men here are creepy and expect certain things to happen, but my intuition seems to work quite well. I am very careful. It is nice, though, to talk to people. Because I am travelling along, I get a bit bored at times. After that, I will be back at my cafe.
It is very hot here during the day but then at night it gets very cold. Sitting in the cafe and watching people go by is very interesting. I see a lot of interesting things. Even at night, many people walk by still in their shorts and bikini tops/T-shirts/etc and seem to be unaffected by the temperature. On the other hand, there are people around in long sleeve shirts and sweaters and jackets. There was even one guy, an Egyptian that was working for one of the shops, wearing a down-filled parka. When I am walking, I am comfortable with a sweater on, but when I am sitting, I have 2 sweaters on and still feel very cold. I am not sure what the actual temperature is.
InshaAllah I will be on a bus to Alex in the morning.

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