Sunday, June 6, 2010

On Egypt

Egypt, for all its ancient and mesmerizing beauty can at times be incredibly frustrating. 150 years of tourism has turned the place into a carnival of package tours, and rampant corruption has turned it into a place of tour agencies, collecting fat commissions. At the moment, I'm in Hurghada, on the West Coast of the Red Sea. I would like to go to Sinai, on the East Coast of the Red Sea. This much I know. Here's what I don't know:
- there's a ferry that runs to Sharm el-Sheikh. But I've been told by my hotel that it's not running right now. It is, however, not possible to confirm this, as the ferry operator does not have a website I could locate, and the travel agencies around town have no idea. The agencies which [supposedly] sells tickets for the ferry remains closed. Maybe that's a sign?

- IF there's no ferry, I will take the long bus ride around the Red Sea. But the bus station is on the other end of town, and nobody in town knows the bus schedules (and if they told me that they did, I wouldn't believe them anyway). My guidebook has schedules, but it's five years old, and the schedules seem to change daily, so I don't choose to put too much stock into it. I suppose I'll have to give in and take a taxi to the bus station... there's no public transport in Hurghada, obviously - everyone arrives on a package tour!

So, I'm frustrated... But the azure waters of the Red Sea are beautiful, and I do look forward to getting under those waters to go diving. And it's not as stiflingly hot here as it was inland in Luxor and Aswan!

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