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Marsa Matruh - The Bluest Water Ever


EGYPT, Marsa Matruh: The Bluest Water Ever 

    I'm on my way to Siwa from Alexandria on a bus.  About four hours into the trip, I look out the window and I'm amazed at what I see.  It is the clearest, bluest water I've ever seen.  It is more beautiful than on the other side of the Meditteranean.  I find out that this place is called Marsa Matruh.  It is located in the Northwest corner of Egypt.  This place is Egyptian Mexico.  Crowds come pouring in during the summer but fortunately it is only May so it is fairly quiet.

    The main mode of transportation in this town is a passenger jeep.  Sylvain (my travel companion) rides on this vehicle for the first time.  Finding a hotel is very easy.  We are the only two staying in the hotel we find.  We are open to choose our room.  We pick one with a sink, a balcony and a clothes line.  Today is laundry day.

    We go to the tourist office to find out the best beach to visit in the morning.  With the help of the agent we decide to go to Cleopatra's Beach.   It looks like paradise in the photographs.  The only way to go there is to hire a taxi that will drop us off and come back to pick us up.

    For now we will visit the beach around town.  It is just a block away from the tourist office.  At the beach, someone is playing really good Arabic music.  It really sets the right atmosphere.  We go for dinner at an Italian restaurant.  At the entrance, we are greeted by a howling toy monkey.  It is quite odd since the rest of the restaurant is conservative.  We are the only ones dining in the restaurant.   There must be about five staff members working.  I don't know about any other part of the world but Egypt is the only country I've been (and I've been to about 30 countries) where there is a cover charge to get in the restaurants.  I enjoy my meal regardless.

    I am ready to explore the nightlife in the town.  It is nothing like nightlife in Europe or North America.  We shop for razor blades because Sylvain desperately needs to shave. However, the prices are even more expensive than in Canada.  We stop by at a barber shop.  He gets a shave with a big blade.  They do an extra service such as thread his whole face.   My eyebrows need tidying so I get thread as well.  It kills but the results are great.  Sylvain is a very satisfied customer.  (Note:  Sharing un-sterilized blades is very dangerous.  Diseases such as hepatitis or something worse can be transmitted.)

    The morning prayers wake us up.  The speaker seems like it is just outside our window, and it is.  Today is our big day to go to paradise--Cleopatra's Beach.  Luckily we find a taxi that will drop us off and pick us up later. The water is really blue.  It is very quiet.  The only sounds are the waves lapping on the shore.  Rock formations erect out of the waters.  Near the shore are little tubs in the rocks where I sit comfortably.  This is paradise.

    We become a little disappointed.  We see a no swimming sign.  Rocks make up the shore.  The waves are really strong.  I sit comfortably in my little pool enjoying myself when the trouble starts.  Two policemen came walking by us.  They are the beach patrol.  I tell Sylvain not to talk to them but he doesn't listen.  They don't speak English so we have a very hard time communicating.  They are a pain to get rid of.  My paradise is more like hell with these two hanging around us.   They are really making sure that we don't swim.  After about an hour with our babysitters Sylvain and I become aggressive.  I came to the point of yelling at them to leave me alone.  They understand imshee which means go away. After all that my trip is quite pleasant again.  I notice the rock formations along the shore.  Once again they amaze me.  Some people are fishing on the elevated plateaus.  I sit comfortably back in my little pool.

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