Hurghada - the Red Sea city

Hurghada Travel Blog

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View of the harbour from the Fisherman's Restaurant.

We set up our morning call with the operator before bed and as per agreement the telephone rang precisely at 4 a.m. and by 4.30 a.m., I am already down at the lobby. Soon after, we left for the airport. Our flight to Hurghada is at 6.05 a.m. When we reach Cairo domestic airport, the guy in the brown suit (for the love of God, I forgot his name) was already there. He quickly collected our flight tickets and luggage. We don’t have to do a thing. The airport was practically empty. He was back in ten minutes with our boarding pass.

 

The General arrived soon after. The ritual of kissing on both cheeks followed. He had a day old beard, so it is kind of itchy when you rub your cheeks against him. I am not complaining, I am just saying, it is itchy.

The boat that was to take us to Dream Island.
When the boarding time was announced, the General lead us to a VIP car which already parked right outside the boarding area. Everyone at the terminal, who was diligently queuing since the announcement, was straining their eyes looking as us wondering who we are. It is kind of embarrassing for me. I am not used to it.

 

We were the first to board (of course). Later, the seats started to be filled. Inside, everyone (and I mean literally everyone) still staring at us. It was the most uncomfortable flight I’ve ever took.  They must be thinking, since we are VIP, what are we doing in economy.

 

It was a mere 45 minutes flight. When we landed at Hurghada airport our seats are still cold.

God I look so fat & stupid, like I just escaped from a mental institute. The scenery at the back was great.
The view from the plane as we approached the airport is spectacular. Desert for miles and miles and suddenly without warning and outline of a city appeared with shapes of triangles and squares all with the colour of the desert.

 

We touched down safely. Hurghada airport doesn’t have a VIP car, so they send a whole bus just for us. Again with the staring, I better get use to it.  Less than two minutes, we arrived at the terminal. We were given a VIP room to sit in while waiting for our luggage to arrive. Mint tea and coffee was served.

I wanted to shout “You people out there, who had to stand while waiting for your luggage to arrive, suck it.”  I slapped myself.

 

We were staying at Sea Star Beau Rivage Hotel, a good half an hour ride from the airport.

Me, pretending to pilot the boat.
The roads were recently paved and were deserted. Not a soul in sight. We passed through old houses in the middle of being torn down and I feel like I am in the middle of a war zone.

 

The hotel is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by empty buildings. Only three are occupied by a mini market (equally empty except for bottles of sun block), a souvenir shop and a pharmacy. If I were to drive on my own to the hotel, I would drive pass by it. It was so inconspicuous. It is sandwich between two buildings still under construction. It looks so small from the outside. The resort is actually a km long stretching from the main road till the beach. It was full of Germans and Russian tourists.

 

Breakfast followed (no general manager to accompany us this time so we are being our sloppy self), keys were given afterwards and we escorted ourselves to our room.

The view of the marina, from the boat.
We were told to be at the lobby again at 11 a.m. The room is ok and I assume still recently renovated. I can still smell the fresh paint and the odour of new furniture. I was tired, took a short nap, woke up again 1 hour later, took a hot shower and was at the lobby by 10.30 am.

 

The General was already at the lobby. He introduced me to the manager of the hotel, a very polite young bald man, whom I assume is still in his 30s. He took me on a tour of the resort. It has one of the best beaches, two swimming pools, six restaurants and even a mini golf.

 

We depart to “I don’t know where” at 11 am. There is only four of us this time (one member of our group was sick and decided to stay behind).

Approaching Dream Island
The view is till the same, old buildings being torn down. I must say, prior to coming to Egypt, I have never heard of Hurghada before. Even when you google Hurghada, there is not much information from it, except for a few website offering diving activities. A few years ago, it was just a small fishing village. One fine morning, I assumed somewhere, someone woke up and said “Wait a minute, this place has a 40 km worth of fine sandy beaches, excellent corals and fishes and excellent weather. We should turn it into a tourist city”, and so they did.

We turn a corner and suddenly there was a buzz of activities. There were shops everywhere, people were strolling along. There is even a huge shopping mall. Finally we arrived at Sinbad Resort, a sprawling complex with three hotels, water slide parks and an excellent view of the Red Sea.

The tiny opening and the stairs leading to the bowel of the submarine.
Even though it was called the Red Sea, it has the bluest sea I have ever seen.

 

We were being introduced to the public relations officer. She was wearing a white shirt with a yellow bell bottom pants and with that cheesy hair style, she looks like a 70s porn actress (not that I have seen any, only from what I’ve heard). We were given a short tour of the resort and when it was over, cold beverages was offered at the Fisherman’s Restaurant which has an amazing view of the harbor and the beach. Chairs were littered on the beach, mostly were occupied by vacationers. Part of the resort was open in early 2000, more is added every year, I was told. No wonder everything looks new.

 

Even before we finished our drinks, we were escorted to the harbour.

View from the submarine, 22 meters below the sea, the diver was feeding the fish. I did not really wanted to take his picture but he asked me to.
A large boat was waiting to take us to a place called Dream Island. It is a man made (really tiny) floating island in the middle of the read sea (about 20 minutes by boat). Dream Island is the embarkation point for the Sinbad submarine tours.

 

The boat finally depart, we were led to the upper deck. There was no roof on the upper deck except the one that covers the pilot. The weather was extremely hot. The scenery was lovely and soon we forgot how hot we were. On the way, each of us were given a chance to pilot the boat. Imagine that.

 

We arrived at Dream Island.

Back on Dream Island again.
The yellow colour submarine was already docked, last tour of the day. We were led into the submarine by climbing down the small steps inside (just like the one we usually saw in the movies). Inside it was exceptionally large. It can accommodate about 44 passengers with 2 crews. We were given a number and were told to seat according to the numbers given. I was told that the submarine is capable of diving as far as 75 meters deep but to dive that far, light is hardly visible so visitors are unable to see anything, so it will dive only at around 22-25 meters.

 

We left the dock and a few minutes later, we were underwater. Outside, clinging to the submarines, two divers were preparing themselves. They are going to dive along with the submarines, feeding the fish with some sort of plankton I suppose (I am not sure).

Little dervish at the Khan El-Khalili
Besides the corals and the fish, the whole ocean floor was decorated with fake artifacts and fake sunken ships. It was tastefully done. The water was rather murky, we cant really see things clearly. Fifty minutes underwater, we were ready to submerge again. Once we were safely back on Dream Island, each of us were given a certificate of participation.

 

Back at the harbour, while we were waiting for our cars to arrive, when I was positively sure no one was looking, I took a long stick and smashed it on the surface of the Red Sea. “Open up and let my people go!!” I shouted.  As expected, nothing happened. At least I try. We were back at the hotel. Lunch was served.  Raw fish for starters and the main course, lobster. It was great so suck it you little people out there.

The grand dinner.

 

At night, we visited Khan El-Khalili. It was a bazaar but it wasn’t really. Not like the one you find in Cairo. It was actually a shopping mall, connected to a hotel (I forgot what it’s called). Still, bargaining is the normal but most of the goods are sold at tourist prices. We had an excellent dinner, different kinds of salads, breads and grilled beef/fish/lamb.  Afterwards, we were led to an open air theatre where stunt shows involving horses followed by the dance of the “swirling dervishes”. After that, we were adjourned to a tent where a cheesy Egyptians dance was being performed followed by, what else, a belly dancing act. Back at the hotel, we sleep like a log.

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View of the harbour from the Fishe…
View of the harbour from the Fish…
The boat that was to take us to Dr…
The boat that was to take us to D…
God I look so fat & stupid, like I…
God I look so fat & stupid, like …
Me, pretending to pilot the  boat.
Me, pretending to pilot the boat.
The view of the marina, from the b…
The view of the marina, from the …
Approaching Dream Island
Approaching Dream Island
The tiny opening and the stairs le…
The tiny opening and the stairs l…
View from the submarine, 22 meters…
View from the submarine, 22 meter…
Back on Dream Island again.
Back on Dream Island again.
Little dervish at the Khan El-Khal…
Little dervish at the Khan El-Kha…
The grand dinner.
The grand dinner.
Hurghada
photo by: maka77