The van that's going to take us to Sharm El Sheikh.
We were told to be at the lobby with our luggage sharp at . We were supposed to catch a ferry from
Hurghada to Sharm. The ferry service, operated by International Ferry (four
times weekly to Sharm) is notoriously famous for being unreliable (because of
the harsh weather on the ReadSea,
not because they are inefficient). In keeping with its notoriously famous name,
it wasn’t operated that day because of the rough weather. We were stuck in
Hurghada and might have to spend two more nights in order to catch the next one.
It was decided, we were to drive from Hurgada up north, cross the Suez
Canal and drive along the Sinai Peninsular down south to Sharm
Our first rest stop. A little oasis in the desert.
When we inform of our plan, everyone looked shocked like they just
saw a dinosaur.
I was excited about the idea of traveling by road, finally I
would see the real Egypt (yeah, like the one I saw for the past two days wasn’t
real), instead of the five stars treatment we were getting for the past two
days, not that I was being unappreciative. By , five of us, the General and two drivers set off from Hurghada,
passing through the desert landscape of Egypt.
At last, I’ve got to see the Sahara up close and
personal. I promise myself, when we stop somewhere for a break (assuming that
we would stop somewhere for a break, of course we would), I would grab some
sand with my bare hands and said “fiddle-dee-dee, by the sand of Sahara,
I would never go hungry again”.
The General and the other travel mate from Indonesia.
An hour later, we stopped at a security check point. Two security
men in plain clothes ordered the driver to stop. He didn’t and only stopped a
few meters where he supposed to. We panicked (well, I don’t speak for everyone,
I panicked). The two security men in plain clothes came and starts hurling
abuses at the driver, probably asking why he did not stop. The General, who was
seating on the passenger seat next to the driver, get out of the van and
approached the men. I saw him whispering a few words to them, the faces of the
two security men in plain clothes suddenly turn red and we are allowed to pass
without fuss. Who is this General really? Such a mystery.
Two buckets of sweat (not really) and three hours later, we
stopped at a resting area.A small brick building which consist of only a
restaurant and a garage.
The Saharan Desert from the van.
There is a enclosure made of wood to form a tent like
enclosure adjacent to the brick building. We took a seat an ordered mint tea.
The resting area was full with local travelers, heading to a port in the south
to catch a ferry to Saudi Arabia
to perform their umrah (pilgrimage) to Mecca.
Just like I promise, I went outside,
grab myself a handful of the desert sand and shout “fiddle-dee-dee, I will
never go hungry again!.” My life is complete, almost.
A few hours later, we stopped again for some rest this time at
Movenpick Resort El Sokhna (a mere 120 km from Cairo).
It is a huge resort complex covering 62 acres of land. We went inside for
compulsory toilet stop and to relieve ourselves from the heat.
The restaurant where we had lunch, overlooking the Red Sea.
central air-conditioned. We took a golf buggy to the beach to an open-air
restaurant (if my memory is still with me, it was called El-Gezirah Restaurant).
We ordered lunch. The view from the restaurant is simply breathtaking. The sea
was blue, breezy and the occasional ‘whooshing’ sound of the sea water hitting
the beach. In the distance you can see huge tankers, stood motionless in the
open sea, waiting for their turn to use the Suez Canal.
We spent almost a good two hours at the restaurant. We
depart again. I fell asleep soon after. When I woke up, we were already in Suez
and the light is almost fading. Low-cost housing apartments lines up on both
sides of the street. Lots of crowds (young and old) were milling about. It was
a lively atmosphere, festival like. The kids were playing happily and the women
folks were seen gathering in groups, probably gossiping about the sweet girl
next door whom last night elope with the guy who lives down the road, probably.
The Wovenpick El Sokhna Resort and the mountains in the distance.
“Get ready, we are about to enter a tunnel, passing under
the Suez Canal itself”, we were told. Moments later,
there it was. I was excited, all those stories you were reading about the Suez
Canal when you were a kid. The Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel that we are
passing through right now connects African continent (Suez)
and the Asian continent (Sinai peninsular). It is about 1.63 km long, if you
blink an eye, you might miss it. I was expecting longer. In the blink of an eye,
we were out of the tunnel again. We were in Asian Continent now, the Sinai
The highway is better here, it is smooth and wider. By the
time we stop at a resting area it was totally dark.I have no idea where we were or how close we
are to Sharm.
Omg.. that's me.
The resting area consisted of a small tea house adjacent to a
smaller grocery store. The proprietor was busy watching televison, a laugh a minute
local sitcom. We took a seat and order mint tea. Very refreshing. We were the
Half an hour later, we took off again. The general told us
that we are passing through Jabal Al_Nur, the mountain where Moses received his
ten commandments from God. I was excited. The monastery of St. Catherine is
also located somewhere here. Anything biblical excites me. It was pitch dark,
mountain or no mountain, I can’t see anything.
After the last check point, we arrived finally in Sharm El
Sheikh. From the tunnel until Sharm, there was at least 10 check points al
together. Every time we stopped, the routine would be the same. The General
would whisper something to the security men in plain clothes, their faces would
suddenly turn red and we were told to pass with ease.
The desert on the Sinai Peninsular.
Who is this General
really. The mystery deepens. Two cars were waiting for us at the last check
points and we were escorted to the Nubian Village Resort, where we will stay
for the night. It was almost .
When we reached the resort, I assume we would be quickly
escorted to our room. We were escorted instead to a restaurant at the edge of
the resort, overlooking the Red Sea. The wind was rough
and blew almost everything in sight. We were shown to our table and a five
course meal followed. Lobsters, lamb and beef was on the menu. It is quite a
feat to have dinner after
with the wind blowing away everything in sight. By the time we finished dinner,
it was almost .
We were finally escorted to our room, a huge two room villa
with all amenities provided which you would expect from a five star deluxe
After a hot shower and a change of clothes, I slept like a
log. I had a weird dream, I was one of the seven dwarfs and on this dream, when
Snow White begged us to let her stay at our cottage. We threw her out instead.
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