Still Seven Heaven, Dahab.
Well hello again - and so soon! Just thought I'd finish what I'd started, and fill you guys in on what's been happening in my fun packed life (gloat, gloat!).
Well the last one ended in Petra, with a twisted ankle - which is healing well, you'll be pleased to know. A rather surreal thing happened later that day; I'd been resting in my room (Petra was one of the few places where we had hotel rooms, rather than camp), ankle up all afternoon. I ventured out just before dinner to find out that almost everyone was steaming drunk - it was most odd - rather like a scene from Day of the Dead! People were staggering about, running into walls, alcohol had been spilt all over the carpet in the corridor, one of the lads had fallen into a huge mirror, smashing it (the owners were so nice about that - they refused to take any money, just kept smiling and saying it was OK). It was a scene of absolute chaos, and I am so not used to being the sober one!
We left Petra the next day at 1300 - just as well for all the drunken bums, I reckon! Our destination was Wadi Rum - Rum Valley - a stunning 3 hour drive away. As we drove into the valley we were met at a pre-arranged spot by a group of Bedouins with jeeps who were to take us on our sunset jeep safari. To the best of my recollection, Wadi Rum is the most beautiful place I have ever been to in my life! Miles of desert and wonderfully sculptured sand dunes, punctuated by rocky, craggy mountains, disappearing into the mist - stunning views from every direction.
It's such a still and peaceful place - I had a real sense of calm there, and truly believe I could live there and be happy. I think the desert is in my soul. Practicalities like food and water aside, I could easily cope with the solitary nomadic life of a Bedouin - just give me a camel, and maybe a few goats and I could wander endlessly through the desert, pitching my tent in the midst of such beauty and tranquillity, watching the sun rise and set on a different magical vista each day. I had a feeling I belonged.
We drove in two jeeps through the soft sand, pausing variously at a place with ancient rock carvings, a large sand dune for the energetic amongst us (not me - I'm blaming the ankle!) to run up, and bizarrely a mocked up castle built by a French company as a film set a couple of years ago - we couldn't quite figure that one out. After a couple of hours we found a deservedly picturesque spot for sunset. Despite the constant chattering of most of the group, I felt the peace of the place seeping into my being, and felt more relaxed than I ever have - like I could melt into the sand, and become one with the world.
I left my seat on a rock, and wandered off for some more photos (quelle suprise - around three films that day!). As I returned to my place, climbing up on the rocks I oh-so-nearly put my foot in a dead goat! I had lifted up my leg, when I realised that the sand I was about to put it down on was furry - I looked closer and saw hooves sticking out! Thank god I didn't - a foot full of decaying goat would have spoiled the moment somewhat!! We returned to the Bedouin settlement, from where we were guided to a suitable spot for a campsite - I saw seven shooting stars that night, before I watched the moon rise. Magical.
The next morning , after some group photos, we headed toward Aqaba, and 'sunset camp' on the shores of the Red Sea. I snorkelled some, and it was great. We were to leave the truck here, and continue through Egypt by public transport, so once the heat had left the day, a massive clean up was in order - tents, lockers, truck, and of course sorting out all our gear, so we could - gulp - start carrying it!!!! Once that was done, we got on with the serious job of drinking multiple cases of beer and five bottles of vodka - no point carrying them, right?!
The next morning the time had come to pick up our bags, and catch the ferry to Egypt. Natalie and I were kindly helped with our bags, due to our back and ankle injuries (what are we like?!). As soon as we arrived in Nuweiba, I could tell I was going to like Egypt - by the time we'd completed the one hour drive to Dahab I knew I would - more great scenery! This is one of those cool places where the mountains meet the sea. We arrived here, at Seven Heaven, and were made to feel most welcome by the accommodating manager. It's winter here now (believe me - much different from winter at home!!), so it gets dark early, so the time I'd made the short walk to the seafront, all I could see was twinkling fairy lights in either direction. Cool restaurants and shisha places on the beach,, shops full of groovy clothes, jewellery and trinkets - my sort of place. Shouldn't be too hard to kill another week here!
There is of course diving too - so far I've just done my refresher course, as I want to make sure my ankle is fully healed before I go exerting myself too much. I also wanted to hang with my new found friends before they left...which they did today. That leaves myself, Natalie and Becks and Rachel, two NZ girls who are also doing the Cairo to Cape Town trip. Just before we waved everyone off (to go on a 20 hour bus ride - nice!), we realised that we would actually be getting to Cairo before them, so have promised to be there to greet them at their hotel when they arrive.
Well I think that is it! Unless you want to know what I had for dinner tonight, you're all up to date! Hope everyone is well and happy, and that life is treating you well. Take care, one and all, and until the next time, goodnight!
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