Eilat – Dahab

I got up early today to be at the Egyptian embassy as early as possible (i.e. 8am) to apply for a visa. The embassy is said to offer same-day service, that is, apply in the morning, pick up visa after noon.

The visa section opened at 9.30 so I had plenty of time to get a passport photo taken and have breakfast. The application process was easy even though the office clerk wanted me to write down that I plan to go to Cairo, never mind that’s not on my itinerary.

When I came back to pick up the visa he fooled me into believing I hadn’t gotten a visa. “This is problem” he said with a serious face, pointing at my worn-out looking passport. Well, he was kidding.

So I took a bus to the border and left Israel at 4pm. Border formalities were painless and nobody cared about my ‘Danger Mines’ sign I had sneaked into my backpack at Jesus’ baptism site at the river Jordan. :)
Egypt greeted me with rain sunshine – and with a strike. There were no busses going anywhere today or tomorrow.

A taxi driver kind of hassled me from the border to the bus station. He wanted 400 Egyptian Pounds (about 50 Euros) for the 150km trip to Dahab. In the end I paid 200 Pounds. No idea if that’s still a rip-off. Probably it is.

Almost the entire coast from Taba to Dahab is lined with beach-side resorts, hotels, bungalows, and camps of all shapes and sizes. And they’re in every imaginable state of decay. Rotten, unfinished, plain empty, half demolished, some vandalized. Almost none of them sees any guests these days. It was devastating to see, really.

From Dahab I wanted to go to Ras Abu Galum, but that would have involved at least 7km of hiking along the shore and it was already dark when we finally reached Dahab. So I checked into a hotel kind of thing. Very cheap, like almost everything here.

Dahab itself is a horrible tourist trap, though. Souvenir shop next to touristy restaurant for a kilometer or two along the Red Sea shore. Being in that tourist trap I got lured into booking a camel trip to Ras Abu Galum for tomorrow and back the following day. I’ve sat on a camel before, but only for like 10 minutes. I’ll also most likely buy a kilim or two.

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