Posts tagged ‘Dahab’

Comparison of Berlin areas

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

After living in Berlin for 1+ month I had to move to another apartment when the owner was coming back to the room I rented. Even though I really liked living in that apartment, not only because of the people living there but also because of the location, this gives me an interesting opportunity to compare how it is to live in two different areas of Berlin.

The first area I was living in, Friedrichshain, is the main clubbing area of Berlin and where a lot of tourists end up at least for the night when partying. Here you find famous night clubs like Berghain, Suicide Circus, RAW and so on… There is not one single night in the week where the Warschauer straße is not full of people, mostly foreigners, all the way to late morning. Here you find a lot of Asian restaurants, mainly Indian and Thai, together with the usual kebab places that is one of Berlin’s trademarks. There is not so much shops in the area, mostly second hand clothes, which makes it less crowded during the day times. At the same time it’s very near to tourist monuments like the Berlin Wall or the Oberbaumbrücke.

Yesterday I moved to Neukölln, which is the up-and-coming area of Berlin. This area has during the last five years become more and more attractive, and at the same time more expensive, to live in. Here you can find a lot of restaurants, bars and cafés combined with a huge Turkish area. Neukölln is more “ruff” then Friedrichshain and at the same time more social, probably mainly because of the mixed southern nationalities living here. As soon as our moving truck arrived to the street, a gang of people came to help us carry our things up to the 4th floor, and some even came back the second day to continue to help us.

So why do I need a moving truck to move, when everything I own is in my backpack? Actually, at the same time it was time for me to change apartment a German couple I met in Dahab about 4 months ago told me I could stay at their new place where they are currently moving into. So here I am, helping them to move & fix their apartment in Berlin and at the same time I get the opportunity to live together with good friends I thought I would not see again for a long time.

Peace out

Living in Berlin

Apartment areas Berlin

Again in Brussels

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

I took some days off to visit one of my new European favorite cities, Brussels. It was just 3 months since I was in Brussels last time, on my way to Dahab. After two months in Egypt it’s was very refreshing to be back in Europe. The contrasts were big, like the gray weather which I had missed so much and the quietness even though the city is big.

Brussels is very idyllic with green parks and beautiful streets. Most people are happy and smiling here, but at the same time they are “trapped” in their boxed every day lives not integrating with the people around them. Here, for example, people look strange at you if you start a conversation or smile to a person that you don’t know. While it’s very relaxing to be back in a “civilized” city I can also miss Egypt where you start conversations with random people on the street several times per day.

Belgian tree

Bois de la Cambre

Brussels bus

Brussels lake

Brussels park

Etang d Ixelles

Flower girl

Belgian swan in Brussels

Mirror effect

Belgian graffiti

Graffiti Bruxelles

Jupiler Belgium

Abstract plants

Atomium Brussels

Egypt to Jordan (Dahab to Petra)

Friday, July 8th, 2011

A lot of people continue east after Egypt/Dahab and most of them go to Petra. There are one-day-tours from Dahab for example for the people who want to do it the easy way. These cost a bit more then 200 euro and will let you stay in Petra a total of 3 (!) hours. Instead of this I recommend you to stay in Petra for a few days, and here is how to do it:


Egypt to Jordan

To travel to Jordan from Egypt is most easy done with the ferry from Nuweiba in Egypt to Aqaba in Jordan. There are two ferries with departures every day:

Fast ferry (1 hour), price 70 USD.
Slow ferry (3 hours), price 60 USD.

In Nuweiba you can only pay your ferry tickets in USD while in Aqaba you can use both USD and JOD. If you plan to go back the same way you will save money buying a return ticket at the same time.

On top of the ferry price you have to pay around 5 euro in departure tax. As with all transportation in Egypt, count with delays.

To go to Nuweiba, take the bus from Dahab which costs 1½ euro. From Cairo, the cost of the bus to Nuweiba should be around 10 euro.


Entry visa for Jordan

A normal entry visa for Jordan cost 30 USD but if you enter through Aqaba (with the ferry like described above) you get a free visa to Jordan. Get the visa on board the ferry. In other case you only have 48 hours to register with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority visa office after arriving, to get the free visa.


Aqaba to Petra

After arrival to Aqaba the best thing is to stay there overnight (around 9 euro for a hostel) and wait for the bus, which costs 8 euro. If you decide to go to Petra directly by taxi instead, this will set you back around 30 euro.


Petra entrance fee

To get into Petra you need to buy an entrance ticket. The price of the ticket is 50 euro for one day, 55 euro for two days and 60 euro for three days.


Hostels in Petra

For a roof over your head in Petra, count with around 6-7 euro per night. It can be a good idea to book a hostel in advance to guarantee a place when you arrive.


Total price for Petra trip from Egypt

An estimated total price one way travel from Dahab to Petra including a 3 day ticket and hostel for three nights: 145 euro

Camping in Ras Muhammad

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Sometimes things just come to you when you wish for them. One recent example is that I really wanted to visit Ras Muhammad one more time before leaving Egypt in about a week from now. What happened to me was, one morning a girl I met the day before called me and asked me to join her and her free diver friends to camp one night at the Ras Muhammad. They were leaving town within 15 minutes so it was a quick decision followed by rush packing. Just a moment later we were leaving Dahab in a rented car full of free diving and scuba diving equipment, heading out for Ras Muhammad.

The group was very mixed, with 8 people from Russia, Brazil, Argentina, France and me from Sweden. We also had a big dog with us (“Hurry”) who was currently traveling the world, on his way to Bali. Dogs (and camping) are not allowed in Ras Muhammad, but we managed to talk the guards to let us pass with him.

When we arrived everybody went into the water directly, followed by a Argentinian barbecue and some vodka. The weather was warm and there were no problem sleeping under the stars, except for some biting flies and mosquito which i still have 50+ dots from.

The next day we went up early and went free diving in Shark Reef. Everybody were excited for what we would see, and like the day before we again find a shark (or he found us). This time, the about 1½ meter shark swim up to one of us to check him out. Also, we found a lot of turtles and other beautiful animals during the 2½ hour swimming in strong current.

After Shark Reef, we went back to the first reef to do some combined free- and scuba diving and then head back home to Dahab.

Note: If you are trying this for yourself, have long sleeves and a sleeping bag with you. Be very careful with the current, and don’t get into the water if you are not familiar with how it is moving at that specific reef. Drink a lot of water and stay in the shade, as one of us got dehydrated and had to go to the hospital.

Shark bay Sharm

Ras Muhammad guitar in the morning

Ras Muhammad camping

Shark bay Sharm Egypt

Ras Muhammad stingray

Ras Muhammad shark reef

Freediving Ras Muhammad

Ras Muhammad big fish

Ras Muhammad Yolanda reef

Ras Muhammad big school of fish

Ras Muhammad fishes

Ras Muhammad free diving

Ras Muhammad napoleon fish

Ras Muhammad toilets

 

Ras Muhammad turtle

Ras Muhammad swimming turtle

Ras Muhammad freediving

Windsurfing in Dahab

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Windsurfing is getting bigger and bigger here in Dahab, with some specific coast spots designated for this sport. If you travel to Dahab and want to learn how to windsurf by taking a course, or if you are a professional and want to rent equipment at a center where you can meet other windsurfers, the starting point for you should be the Lagoona. Along this beach, which is the only real sand beach in Dahab, you will find ten or so wind surfing centers together with kite surfing and other water activities like wakesurfing, wakeboarding, water skiing and more.

The price to rent wind surfing equipment are from 15 euro per hour to 105 euro for a whole week. For a one week course (10 hours total), be prepared to pay around 150 euro. Be aware that the weather conditions change a lot from day to day, so don’t book a course if you only have 5 days here, as 2 of them might be to windy for you to practice.

To find the beach, walk 30 minutes out from Mashraba along the coast out from Dahab, or take a pickup taxi for 50 cent and ask for the “Lagoona”.

If you are looking for scuba diving or snorkeling, then this is NOT the place for you. Instead go to the “Lighthouse” inside the center of Dahab.

I was lucky enough a while ago to get stuck on the beach with some friends at night time after wind surfing, and without we knowing about it in advance we witnessed a full moon eclipse from there. A night like taken from a fairy tale!

Windsurfing Dahab

Kitesurfing Dahab

Lagoona/Lagoon Dahab

Scuba diving in Ras Muhammad & SS Thisselgorm

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Yesterday I did one of the best scuba diving ever in my Life. The day started with getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning to get a 2 hour minibus to Sharm El-Sheikh. From there, we took a boat 3 hours to SS Thisselgorm, in the outskirt of Ras Muhammad. Thisselgorm is a 126 meter long freight ship which sank in 1941 after getting bombed by German bomber planes, and discovered about 10 years later by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The ship now lies on 30 meters depth with great visibility and still beautifully preserved.

At Thisselgorm we did two dives, one on the outside along the ship and one on the inside. On the inside it is possible to dive 3 levels, with two of the levels levels loaded with motorbikes, trucks and other wartime cargo. The last level is the small kitchen and connected rooms, which have air pockets in them creating an incredible unreal and beautiful mirror effect in the roofs. Don’t try to breath the air though as it is used and somewhat poisonous.

When scuba diving inside the ship you really need to have good buoyancy because most of the rooms are cramped, with you scuba diving on top of vehicles with only half meter to the roof.

After Thisselgorm we headed away with the boat, about two hours in the direction of Sharm El-Sheikh, where we found the two connected dive sites Shark Reef &  Yolanda Reef inside the national park of Ras Muhammad. When entering the water, the things I saw the first 10 minutes was better then any National Geographic documentary. Here, the marine life is abundant and everywhere are 100+ schools  of fish bigger then you have ever seen before. The visibility is superb and feels limitless.

Also in Yolanda Reef is a sunken ship, a freighter that sank in 1986 after the captain allegedly drinking to much and getting to near the reef. The result is a sight which you thought you would never see under water, a small hill of about 30 toilets standing on the bottom of the sea.

After the scuba diving and the one hour boat trip back to the port, we took a break in Sharm El-Sheikh to let the nitrogen levels in our blood get lower before returning to Dahab. This is needed due to the height difference on the road there which in other case can lead to decompression sickness.

All in all, an incredible scuba diving day that resulted in new friends and a wish to go back to Ras Muhammad to explore it further.

Ras Mohamed Sharm El-Sheikh

Ras Muhammad

Ras Mohammed national park

Ras Mohammed diving

Military action in Dahab, Egypt

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

During the last week here in Dahab the military have started to tear down a few illegally built houses. People started building these houses after Egypt’s revolution thinking nobody would care about it, which they didn’t before now.

Because of this, a group of locals have started to do a walking demonstration on one of the main streets every night. This is the first time there are any problems in Dahab in connection with the revolution, not counting the week without phone or internet in the whole Egypt during the demonstrations, and the recent lack of tourism.

Mount Sinai, Egypt

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

About a week ago I was up on top of Mount Sinai to look at the sunrise over Egypt’s mountains. This is a common thing to do here in Sinai, and although you will not be alone on the top it’s still recommended to go. The sunrise is nice, but even more beautiful is the dark night sky with all the stars visible and a clear view of the Milky Way Galaxy.

To go up to Mount Sinai, take a 2 hour transport from Dahab to Saint Catherine’s Monastery (total price 6-8 euro for two ways) and then walk up the mountain for 1-3 hours depending on how used you are to trekking. If you are lazy it is even possible to ride a camel up half the way. The monastery is around 1500 meter over sea level and the mountain top from where people use to view the sunrise is on 2300 meter. Bring some warm clothes and a lot of water, but there are also cafés on the way up where you even have possibilities to rent a warm blanket from the Bedouins that live in the area.

Remember, if you are scuba diving you need to wait at least 12 hours from your last dive before going up to the mountain, to protect yourself against decompression sickness!

Mount Sinai, Egypt

Mount Sinai mountain

Mount Sinai sunrise

Mount Sinai (Egypt)

Picture of Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai tour

Saint Catherine's monastery camel

Divemaster in Dahab, Egypt

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

After about 2 months here in Dahab I today got my Divemaster scuba diving license. This is a really fun and rewarding education, and even though it is mostly for people who wants to work with scuba diving I recommend it to all scuba divers who wants to take their knowledge to higher level.

First of all, after having the PADI Advanced license you have to take the courses Emergency First Response (EFR) and Rescue Diver, which teaches you how to save people in emergencies both on land and in/under water. The Rescue Diver also makes you more confident under water and teaches you how to deal with different under water problems.

When you are ready with the Rescue Diver, the Divemaster course takes about 1½ month to accomplish. I highly recommend to combine the course with an internship, which will give you much more experience as well as a lot of fun.

Within the course, one of the things you need to do is to learn the contents of “The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving“. This is a really interesting book that covers way more about diving then you will ever need to know, but for the interested is the best dive book you will ever read. The book have 5 chapters, which covers different parts of scuba diving:

  • The Underwater Adventure
  • The Ocean Planet
  • Dive Equipment
  • Diving in the Material world (physics)
  • The Physiology of Diving

With the Divemaster license in your hand you are ready to work professionally with scuba diving if you so choose. Here in Dahab for example, that comes along with getting a work visa, which costs around 600 euro for a year. Also, for a while the government were not giving out more work visas to Divemasters, but that might have changed now. If you get the work visa, you will probably end up working as a freelancer because of the economical situation in Egypt right now.

For me, I will take a break from scuba diving now and find some other adventure. Maybe back to wave surfing and mountaineering, depending on what I decide during the upcoming weeks from now.

Divemaster in Dahab, Egypt

Egypt needs your money

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Everybody here in Egypt are hoping for the tourists to come back. The locals are trying to spread the message that Egypt are now safe to be in, but everywhere you hear the same story: that people are afraid of traveling to Egypt. The economic crisis is a fact, specially in the cities that are entirely built up from tourism and totally dependent of it.

It is now 4 months since the Egyptian revolution took place. In Dahab, like the rest of Egypt, there is no trace of unsecureness or problems. Not even when the events were at their peak in Cairo were it visible in the other Egyptian cities, where life continued as usual. Still, people outside Egypt have got the impression from media that Egypt is unsafe to travel to right now. Not even after that the foreign governments took away their warnings not to visit Egypt the tourists returned.

This, together with the earlier freak accident with the shark attacks here, have taken Egypt to a really deep economic crisis. Only you, the tourists, can help them back on track.

Revolution in Egypt