In transit, from Luxor to Dahab, then a stay at a gorgeous hotel, Le Meredien in Dahab, la dee dah

Egypt Travel Blog

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In transit from Luxor to Dahab
The bus ride was approximately 17 hours long. The first 2 hours there were about 5 stops as more Egyptians were boarding, and for the driver's cigarette breaks. Errr, frustrating-

Some Egyptians were pissy because the foreigners were told to sit wherever we liked, as none of us could read our ticket stubs that were written in Arabic, and the seats were numbered in English...and every so often there would be a great argument and yelling for a foreigner to get up and move their seat and then there would be someone already sitting in the seat they should have been placed to begin with. Lotsa musical chair round abouts. Very disorganized.

Anny was pissy, though she at least got the aisle seat as she had yet again called "dibs" as she did on the airplane, and kept complaining about all the stops and demanding the driver why we kept stopping.
Roadside toilet, scary stuff :)
I was annoyed and snapped at her because she kept complaining and I wanted to sleep through as much of the bus ride as possible which was difficult with her complaining. There were several passport checks along with one officer boarding and holding onto his gun. Didn't care for that-

Then at some point Anny and I had a brief argument which I started in my half awake state about her using my stuff, then I fell asleep. Later, I woke up at one of our stops, used a toilet that would not flush and had no tissue. Luckily I carried both tissues and wipes, then upon exiting some random person called out from 15 feet away for baksheesh which I ignored. Broken toilet, no tissue, unclean facilities, right, yes sir you deserve a reward, and where did you jump out from??

I walked back to the dining area where Anny and Erica were.
The lobby of Le Meredien
Erica was having some odd bits of a few random things she ordered and massively overpaid for. I chewed some bubble gum, looked out at rubble, rocks, sand, and felt the sun shine on my head. Our argument was not continued, forgotten. Instead we chatted about the closeness of our destination and the end of the annoying bus trip.

We arrived in Dahab late afternoon, said our goodbyes to Erica, Desiree and Benno. They all climbed into a pickup and departed to the same hotel that was arranged by their tour guide, while Anny and I haggled with the taxi driver to take us to our hotel for about 10EP. We were too exhausted to work it down more.

Our good cheer was restored when we saw the sparkle of the water, felt the cool breeze, and the smooth white stone of the hotel facade.
The lobby of Le Meredien
We had arrived! Our bags were whisked away, we were given steamed towels to refresh ourselves, fresh guava juice, and were checked in.

We explored the grounds, walking through the lobby, we saw the shore from atop the hill of the hotel. Down a few staircases, a few grand, wide staircases with a small waterfall running through the middle was the dark teals, blues, and greens of the water. The sand clean and tan, with rows and rows of plush seating to lounge around seaside.

We walked up the stairs, up the pathways, and past the four pools, two of which were saltwater pools, and were escorted by the manager to our room. Our garden view room was a private bungalow, all the rooms are attached actually into single units. We unpacked a bit, showered, and called our parents at exorbitant rates, and went to have lunch by the pool :D.
The lobby of Le Meredien
Yes, darling, lunch by the pool. I ordered grilled fish which came with a scoop of mashed potato and some mildly spicy sauce. I can't recall what Ann ordered. My food while fairly savory didn't hit the spot, the fish grilled didn't have much flavor though I really liked the mashed potatoes...but mainly I was craving some spicy Thai/Lao food at this point, can you imagine just a week away, what will I do when I'm away for much longer?? The food was around 30-50EGP an entree.

I think I either went to nap at this point or took a dip in the pool, probably some combination of both. Then at night we took the free shuttle into town. We dropped by an internet cafe almost immediately, which was 8EGP for an hour. Ann left to wander a bit, I stayed a bit longer to figure out how to cross into Israel, I hadn't bought a guidebook for Israel, and only Ann had a guidebook for Egypt (I printed out pertinent guide info from TBs, Lonely Planet forums, etc.
Bathroom at La Meredien
).

Then I met up with Ann and we walked by the stores, occasionally taking up vendors' invitations to go in. Right off the boardwalk, over the bridge, we went into Sam's Quad bikes to arrange a tour via quad bikes the next day. Ann haggled, she was better at it, (I am better with directions). She got the owner down to 100EGP each for a two hour tour of Dahab. We put down half for deposit and got a slip for what we were paying for, and a card etc. The owner or manager laughed and said she was just like an Egyptian girl.

Then back to the boardwalk we went. A young man invited us to his restaurant, I think it was called Ali Baba, right across from Al Capone restauraunt.  Business was a bit slow, so he offered us free sheesha and ten pounds each off of our meals so we would go in.
Bathroom at La Meredien
Seemed like a good deal, so we went in. The restaurant was open air, with a thatched roof, by the water with Bedouin style printed fabrics, and lounges.

We were given hot fresh pita with hummus, tahina, and some sort of potato salad. I liked the appetizers, there was nothing left of them by the time the entrees came! I ordered Fatah (sp?) because I really wanted to be good about ordering only Egyptian dishes, only thing is I forgot to check for what meat it came with, as I have been off red meat for a couple years now. Fatah is a traditional dish served during celebration, so said the menu anyway, and consists of seafood, beef (oops!), rice. It was cooked together, and seemed to taste of beer to me. I plucked out the chunks of beef and fed it to the cats that gathered round my feet, and next to me.
I did try one piece of beef however after arguing in my head that I should sample the local cuisine, and the other side arguing for the poor sentient cow haha, I'm crazy! The whole dish was weird to me, off, the flavors didn't seem to mix well. I don't know if it's the dish itself or just how this restaurant prepared it, so someday I will have to try it again!

Ann ate her kofka (sp?), grilled meats on sticks, similar to sheesh kebob I think. The cats were gathering and started hissing at each other, yes, not the best idea to feed them! They started growling and getting aggressive, ready to fight. So we had to shoo them away, and throw a little water at them so they would scatter and not fight. The guy who invited us into the restaurant, chatted us up, and invited us to an after party.
Bathroom at La Meredien
I said we'd think about it, and then he brought us a sheesha pipe with apple flavor.

Ann kept coughing, as she's not a smoker period. I smoke on rare occasion, so I fared a bit better. It was pretty weak in any case. The ambiance was great, some light music coming out of somewhere, the lights off in the distance. After awhile we paid up and resumed trolling the shops, getting an idea of prices which were fairly high on the boardwalk as all the TBs and LP guides will warn and the owners/managers were loathed to haggle as they knew they could get the prices they wanted from tourists I suppose. But upon going back towards the exit of this downtown area, the prices dropped and there was much more room to haggle. However nothing was bought this night, instead we asked around about fares to Mount Sinai, for a guide and driver, and tours as well. The tour prices seemed fair but it didn't give us the flexibility and times we wanted, the idea was that we'd leave at 12AM for Mt. Sinai, and climb down at 9AM, wayy too much time up there! Instead, we asked around for prices and said we'd return the next day to finalize our plans. We did haggle for a ride back to our hotel, now for the price of 15EGP.

Showered, unpacked etc., and watched a movie on the flat screen before falling asleep in fluffy CLEAN white sheets, with a sheep skin blanket in a controlled temperature room that was room-key activated!

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Transitory says:
yeap it was, great blend of modern and "Egyptian" style, gorgeous place.
Posted on: Aug 01, 2009
hlek says:
the hotel apparently was designed by a famous architect...lucky u...
Posted on: Aug 01, 2009
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In transit from Luxor to Dahab
In transit from Luxor to Dahab
Roadside toilet, scary stuff :)
Roadside toilet, scary stuff :)
The lobby of Le Meredien
The lobby of Le Meredien
The lobby of Le Meredien
The lobby of Le Meredien
The lobby of Le Meredien
The lobby of Le Meredien
Bathroom at La Meredien
Bathroom at La Meredien
Bathroom at La Meredien
Bathroom at La Meredien
Bathroom at La Meredien
Bathroom at La Meredien