Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 14: Nuweiba and Aqaba

Day 14: Nuweiba, Egypt and Aqaba, Jordan

Daytime High - Unknown, but 32 degree celsius in Aqaba at 11:00 pm....

Sometimes in life you have to make tough decisions. At these turning points, you always dread if your choice was the right one...

This morning Vince and I came to those exact crossroads. We woke up in our loft cabana (read - WOW) to a beautiful sunny day (I don't think there is any other type of day in Egypt). I stretched like a cat in the bed and then realized that I had to make that tough choice - do I go outside and snorkel on the stunning reef or do I sit basking in the sun and surf and read my book??? I chose a combination - read my book and took a dip in the Red Sea - gee, I hope I don't regret that decision in years to come...

Nakhil Inn - Nuweiba Beach Resort (Red Sea in Background!)

After lazily wandering around in the morning, we had to pack up and head out to our ferry to leave Egypt and head to Jordan for more adventures. Egypt has been an incredible trip and many "preconcieved thoughts" that we had about this country prior to arriving have definately changed - which is typically the reason for travelling: to validate or disprove the assumptions or stereotypes that you have, and therefore, broaden your understanding about the country and get a glimpse at its cultures.

A few things Egypt has given us and that we will take with us in our travels:
1. There is always a lower price, the question is how hard do you want to fight for it and is it truly worth it.
2. The vendors sell it because tourists buy it (ie. prism crystals shaped as snowman in the middle of the desert)
3. Finding a hotel room in Egypt that is perfect (ie. no leaking toilet, sink, doors that lock,etc) is like finding the Holy Grail
4. Cairo is not ridden with Pick Pockets - they will get your money right before you eyes through cabs, tips, etc
5. "Canada - Dry" is probably the most well known brand of soda in Egypt
6. Having the last surviving ancient Wonder of the World and an amazing and extensively long and rich history makes it all worthwhile....

So, we depart for the ferry terminal. Our tour group of 14 were all forewarned of the bathrooms at the ferry terminal, so the girls queued at the hotel to squirt out that last drop of liquid. When we got to the ferry terminal, we maneuvered through customs with ease (thanks to our tour leader greasing the wheels with a little thing called cash) and went into the waiting area. For some odd reason, there were flies a plenty hanging around our area, so Vince passed the three hour wait by becoming the "Fly-Ninja". He engineered his bandana into a killing machine and proceeded to systematically murder all the flies that were unfortunate enough to come near us. There was a family from Iraq sitting behind us (the daughter was practicing her english with me), and Vince became an idol to their young 8 year old son as he saw this menacing action.

The other highlight of this ferry terminal was the bathrooms that we were "forewarned" about - well, thinking that I have travelled and "there can't be a worse bathroom than..." coming to my mind, I decided to venture over to that area to check out the toilets...two other girls joined me as they were just as curious...well, I have to say, they could have made a horror video out of the bathroom. We had only made it two feet into the door when the fresh smell of feces overwhelmed our nasal passageways and then my vision encountered the horror of a 4" in diameter log sitting in the middle of the floor - how do you miss by 4 feet????? We backed out - the excursion was over.

Mass Transport to the Ferry!!!

The ferry ride over to Jordan was pretty uneventful. The passage took approaximately 2 hours, and being tourists, we got to jump the queues (this must piss off the locals, but we all do it regardless). We nestled into some seats we found and ordered some lunch to burn off the last bit of Egyptian currency that we were still packing. The ferry arrived in Aqaba and we met our guide for the Jordan. We have now been shuttled to our hotel where we will have a good nights rest before our desert safari in Wadi Rum.

First impressions of Jordan are excellent. Very professional customs officers (ie. I didn't see anyone asking for a tip), clean streets, and very quiet. Surreal quiet, in fact, coming so soon from Cairo - we don't hear the random horns honking. I guess that is what happens when you go from a country of 80 million to 6 million.

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