New memories - Hurghada!


Why Egypt?

The Egypt. Lots of sand, rocks and the pyramids too. The masterplan was to find some location, the requirements were sun and decent temperature. Sometime we just do too easy travels, because i wanted to explore and do high adventure and go around the world or at least spend few weeks travelling somewhere in Asia or another mindful location.
But this time there was only one holiday week to go, also things were getting a bit hairy in Finland, cause it was so cold that the wolves and polar bears were trying to break into the houses to get some warmth in front of the fireplace.

The weird thing about travel agencies is they always make us to print all the paperwork to go. They got passenger lists at the airports and with just passport you can go far. Sometimes in the heat of the holiday, the paperwork can also be ripped apart accidentally. But no drama, no-one at the airports was never interested to see the documents. We got around six or seven hotel vouchers. They wanted to have one in the hotel reception. Weird stuff. Maybe you need to prit out six in case you lose five others.

The travel offers have some price difference. From around five hundred €´s to +1000 money (we paid 559€ per person, and booked the last minute offer from Novatours). One week, same hotel, similar rooms. The hotels seemed to be similar, but if you don't do your homework, the four or five star palace you have been expecting, turns out to be maximum two stars by European standards. Maybe worse. Hilton Hurghada Long Beach Resort is four stars, looks like they can decide.





Got no reason to complain but met two Estonian couples, whose rooms were described to be more suitable for farming the goats instead for living purposes. Of course these couples paid waaay too much for their travel and after seeing the place, girls started to cry and wanted to go home.
Then it was time to change the rooms for a few times before the accommodation was satisfactory. Imagined, how there was more drama than Shakespeare, then the guys were given the ultimate order to arrange better "digs". Poor guys. Luckily there was all inclusive and free drinks for those individuals.
So, the hotel was bearable and some days even the towel swans or hearts were on the bed. Water was yellow but we were basically at the desert, right?



New Year Eve in Egypt.


It was freshing to spend the new year eve away from home. There's just too much amateurs around here, who like to go haywire on the eve, ask my friend, who used to be a bouncer for fifteen years. Nowadays he does not leave the house on the last day and especially the evening of the 31st of Dec.
The cocktails were funny, it's like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get. Depends on the mood of the bartender and what type of drinks the bar happens to have. If the fake-juice drinks are boring, you also have other ways to train the hands. Like Lt Dan. Local shops at the hotel area do not sell alcohol to go, maybe it's better they close the bar at 10pm, better to do the morning cardio when not too hungover.

Expensive juice in Luxor.


Luxor and the Valley of the Kings were geographically interesting, the Nile really put a zap into the landscape after the desert. If you want to wake up before four on your holiday and spend total ten hours (back and forth) in bus with the tourists who take photos of the sand from car windows. 
 
It reminds me about a guy, whose girlfriend stayed safely at home but wanted him to take lots of photos from Croatia car trip. He did. Two. Last day on location, from moving car, through a dirty window. That was a time before the selfies, damn i miss those days. Also one week battery life was nice.
Anyway, checked out the tombs, makes people imagine how were the infrastucture and construction techniques 16th century BC. But it was easy back then, because they got help from the aliens ( that´s what some "theorists" believe).

Maybe pharaohs finally realized building the pyramids was a pain and you can actually throw a few parties with the savings they did, when just digging the tunnels into the valley for the last place to "chill out" after assumambly hard life with the godlike status.
Also would like to know, what was the Tutankhamuns opinion about foreign relationships or developing the ancient Egypt´s economy, when ascended to the throne at the age of nine around 1332 B.C? Hope the advisors were decents lads.
Note for the travellers: You´ll pay 95 bucks per person to get the agency to take you there. Time on the spot was limited and then it´s time to take you to the local shops and places where the "businessmen" are trying to sell you all sorts of tourist stuff. Just keep walking and say no. Unless you want to have cups made from sedimentary rock. 

 
Lunch was also served on the way, food was included but no drinks. Prepare to pay for the glass of this coloured stuff they call juice, or bring your own water.
Oh, the Valley and the Karnak temple in the Luxor hoods were packed with security guards. all were armed with Heckler&Koch MP5 kurz submachine guns. Like the idea when security has got the suitable rules of engagement when SNAFU goes into TARFU. The idea of these guys spraying the bullets with these little beauties was fun but also worrying. Probably they would hose down more tourists than bad guys. Don't get me wrong, the gun is a great piece and example of quality German engineering. Instead would give these guys a 9x19 pistol and arm the guards of top positions with semi automatic sniper rifles or even assault rifles with decent optics. Something light, with .223 or maybe 7,62x39. 
Actually Egyptian military has big variety of infantry weapons. From the usual AK's into Italian, German, Swiss, Czech, US manufacturers are well presented. Looks like they are not into this old fashioned thinking of western and eastern pieces.

Snorkelling.



Like all similar trips, lots of activities are always offered. The snorkelling is nice way to have a decent activity without having to spend the whole day with the tourist group and local guide, who is hitting all the ladies, who look like humans, no matter if the boyfriends are with them or not.
Compared to Mexico, snorkelling in the Red Sea is possible also without life vests. In the Caribbean, they are worried the tourists might drown, so it's safer to make them wear the life jacket and just let them flow on the surface, all together in a group so someone is always kicking you with the fins. That's why it's always better to keep the distance and do your own stuff. Sometimes make the guide to think you are with the group.
Muraenas were probably used to the people? These beasts like to come out from their hides to check out, what's the deal. Usually it attacks persons who approach its place of concealment.

Muraena. Photo adapted from: http://eljallo.com/fishes-lanzarote/

There was also few divers on the spot, looks like these people had done two hours in the hotel pool before open water. Hope these recreational diver made it out alive. 
But yes, Red Sea is a great dive and snorkel location, horizontal vision was at least 25-30 meters. Water was about five centimeters cold on January, would suggest 3mm or even 5mm wetsuit. it's still way better option compared to crawling in the litter at the hotel beach, probably puncturing the feet by glass or nail from the construction waste, probably dumped into the sea somewhere and washed to the hotel beach. But also we Ain't Got Time To Bleed, beach was ok for running if you don't mind the hotel guards who are trying to keep you in or stay out of the different hotel areas. Those guys don´'t speak english so it's better to keep the conversation on the yes-no-Marlboro level.




To go or not to go?

When analyzing the Hurghada as a holidy location, it seems to be pretty similar to other tourist-oriented countries. The hotel zone is bling bling but when going bit further, the locals are living worse than most of the animals in the north. Those bunkers where locals lived, made former Yugoslavia look like Disneyland.





But of course they got the Giza, Abu Simbel, the Valley and other old stuff. Still I'd rather go to Koh Phangan, there's also other things to do besides full moon party. 

Peace.

M.

NB: Jane added photos :)

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