The Blue Lagoon
CZARINA'S TRAVEL DIARY:
EGYPT, The Blue Lagoon
Today is the very first day that I spend on my own without Sylvain, my travel companion. I just don't know where he is. One minute he is in the book store, the next he is gone. I look all over the place for him. I check out all the restaurants but I don't see him. So, I'm free to explore on my own.
I want to go to a place that everyone talks about. They all make it seem like it is a very far off place. Even Sylvain is discouraged from going. Since I am on my own, I will have the time of my life.
The Blue lagoon is in the city of Dahab. The place I'm staying is just on the outskirts of the city. The big resorts and hotels are in the city by the lagoon. Families and the more mature crowd stay in the resorts where they pay over $100 Canadian per night. My room in the Bird House Camp is $2.50 Canadian per night. The bed is very comfortable, the space is sufficient and clean, and there is a fan. The washrooms are shared. However, if I want my own washroom then the price is double.
To get to the Blue Lagoon, I walk along the beach. After about fifteen minutes of walking there is only sand. The restaurants and hotels are clustered closer to where most of the snorkling is occurring.
Two men with camels are heading in my direction. I think they are about to do something important. One of them is showing some interest offers to give me a free camel ride to the Blue Lagoon. Nothing is free in Egypt. After about two minutes he starts to touch me. I demand to get off the camel. He became very irritated and frustrated but he let me off. Then he left
Then I meet three other men who are very irritating. They walk with me for about half an hour. When I cannot stand them any longer I tell them "imshee" which means get lost in Arabic. I only use this word as a last resort. It works.
I'm finally at the Blue Lagoon. It is definitely blue but it is much smaller than I imagine. I recognize an elderly man named Manfred. He is from Israel. Manfred and two other men were in a serious conversation. Apparently a raft that belongs to one of the men is drifting away. He needs to get help from one of the motor boats in order to get his raft.
The other man suggests that he swim to one of the tour boats anchored way off shore to get help. This whole ordeal seems exciting so I volunteer to help out.
This man that I will be swimming with owns a snorkling equipment rental store. He offers me a pair of flippers, goggles and a snorkle. I decline his offer because snorkling equipment suffocates me I have my goggles. The boat does not seem so far away.
The guy gets his gear and I'm ready with my goggles. We head towards the boat.
Swimming in the Red Sea with just goggles is not a good idea. I realize that when it is too late. There are many wind surfers creating big waves. I am at a point where I am not going anywhere. I am exhausted. The guy with the snorkling equipment is almost at the boat. I am stuck. I decide that I will not die in an attempt to rescue a raft.
I change my swim strokes. I try the breast stroke, front crawl and back strokes but I am swallowing more water. I am so glad that I learned synchronnized swimming when I was younger. I start to use one of the most common travelling strokes in synchronized swimming which is the side flutter kick. That saved my life.
I finally make it to the tour boat. The tourists are still snorkling so we wait.
I see the Glass Bottom Boat operator is helping the man with the loose raft.The tourists are coming back on the boat now. They all stare at us and wonder who the hell we are and how we got there. The operators are nice enough to just give us a lift back to the shore.
When we get back, the people who were in chaos over the raft are gone.
I head back to my camp. I'm sure Sylvain is looking for me. On the way back, a guy working at one of the hotels follow me. If I speed up my walking he speeds up as well and if I slow down he does the same. He asks for a date and touches me. I tell him to go away.
I encounter two of the men I met earlier. This time they tell me that they are police men. Then one starts to touch me. I hit him really hard. He stops and leaves me alone.
I now believe that I am responsible for some of this behavior. I am dressed modestly. That is not the issue. My problem is attempting to speak Arabic without knowing what I am saying. Earlier I heard a restaurant owner say "Yalla bint!" to the Bedoin girls who harass tourists. "Yalla bint" means go away girl. Since I do not know the word for man I say "Yalla" to the two men that I encounter. I want to say go away but I am actually saying "Let's go!".
Back at the camp a bunch of people tell me that Sylvain is worried about me. Later on I find out that he looked for me all day long.
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