Jacinto in Cairo

13 August 2006


Our week in Dahab is over. This blog entry is a bittersweet testimony of our seven days in paradise. Dahab used to be nothing more than a small Bedouin village with a few restaurants and campgrounds. Hippies, divers, and the lure of tourist monies changed the place into a low key town built around a bay that looks across the Gulf of Aqaba at Saudi. A cool breeze keeps up all day, and the coast is lined with coral reefs.

Look how relaxed we are, reclining on the cushions of the "bedouin tent" (similar to a Oaxaca palapa) or swinging in the hammock. Patches and flows of turqoise, sapphire blue, and seagreen stare back at you from the sea. Shades of wheat and lavender cascade down the mountains...

Imagine, banning horses and camels in Bedouin lands! Thankfully, no one obeys these signs, and guys ride up and down the corniche on gorgeous horses and camels all day, selling rides. On the other side of the hotel, our block had a family of renegade camels that liked to amble up and down the street. You could walk right amongst them, seeing their soft coats and silent fluid lope. On the night pictured above, they were particularly mischievous.

Bettina and I played a lot of backgammon and dominoes. A group of children started hanging out with us, lounging in our corner of the tent. They taught us a simple form of backgammon, and we taught them a simple form of dominoes. It turns out their grandfather, a local Bedouin notable, owned the hotel we stayed at, and their family owned a few other major local businesses. They invited us over to their home, where we met their aunt and their adorable baby brother. On the floor of their parlor was this rectangular sand pit, about 3 foot long and 2 foot wide. Not until the aunt offered us tea did we learn its purpose: as you would outdoors, she got a coal fire going in the pit and prepared a large metal pot of traditional Bedouin tea, infused with sage and brewed with the sugar to give it a sweetness you just can't get by adding spoonfuls of sugar. She also served us fresh dates right off the trees in their garden - amazing.

The hotel staff prepared towel sculptures for us every day. Our favorite was the bird domino game.

I haven't mentioned snorkling in the Blue Hole, or the delicious food at the local restaurants (locally caught tuna! chocolate crepes! walnut cream tortelloni! fresh pita!). And finally, here are a couple more pictures...


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