Hey ETD peeps! =)
Sorry for being MIA for the past few months!! My excuse: lack of /slow internet access, little spare time to sit in front of a computer when there is better things to do/see and just my general laziness!! :p But now that we're chilling out in Dahab, we do have spare time to sit in front of a computer!!
So, let's back track to when we first arrived in Dahab....
After a nice relaxing week away with the in-laws in Cornwall, we had 2 days to pack our summer clothes and dive gear for our journey to the Red Sea. We arrived early to Gatwick Airport, thanks to Mr & Mrs B driving us. We checked in and waited for our gate number to flash up on the screen. Typical (sl)Easyjet, the gate was unluckily the last gate in the whole terminal!! So off we sprinted to the gate to line up for a good seat - since Easyjet don't allocate seats until boarding. The flight was nothing to rave about... and we landed in Sharm El Sheikh in one piece.
|our room at the Hilton Hotel|
|the Hilton Hotel, Dahab|
|the dinner that gave Gaffa a bad belly!|
|Gaffa chilling out at the beach|
|our room at the Dahab Dorms|
Now we were locals! Renting an apartment for 2500LE per month, which is about 285GBP; shopping in the Assala fruit and veg market, and cooking our own meals at home instead of eating out at the restaurants. Gaffa got stuck into the kitchen, making curries and soups...getting his spices from the only spice man in south Sinai...picking and tasting fresh spices gets Gaffa very excited!!!
The vegetables here in Dahab are fresh and quite cheap, priced by weight. But the fruit is mostly imported and a bit more expensive. Meat is expensive too, and fresh meat...hmm... well if you saw the state of some of the butchers shops here, you'd be cooking mostly vegetarian meals like us! They hang the meat outside (in the heat) and there are flies swarming around them all day, not a pretty sight. We've tried packet mince meat, packet burger patties and packet crumbed chicken fillets. But it's just not the same as a nice fresh juicy steak that you'd get back home. There is one store here though, The Chef; where you can get decent meat, frozen but probably the best in Dahab.
Gaffa and I were invited to his friend, Sparky's house for a BBQ, and he cooked us some juicy steaks which were marinated soooo nicely, that I finished off two pieces, plus all the fresh salads he'd spent all day making, plus the brownies that he also made! Best meal in Dahab so far! =D
For lunch we discovered koshury - Arabic for 'pot mess'. It's spaghetti, rice and lentils mixed together, with a tomato sauce, and spicey sauce if you want it, topped with fried onions. For only 5LE, it's a bargain and tastes pretty good. Along the main street of Dahab, there are a couple of men pushing carts selling koshury. They also have rice pudding for 5LE. When we got sick of koshury, we found falafel sandwiches. These were only 3LE each! A pita bread pocket filled with falafel (mashed up chickpea and fried), eggplant, some potato stuff, salad, tahini, some spices. Usually two sandwiches can fill you up. I also discovered Yum Yum Falafel shop, which do a Monster Falafel sandwich, which is two pita pockets inside each other, filled with everything! The first time I got one, I was staring at it for a few moments, trying to decide how I was going to eat it - I could hardly get my mouth around it to take my first bite!
|Monster Falafel Sandwich!|
|The main strip of Dahab|
During our early days in Egypt, we had dinner at El Fanar Restaurant. We met the owner/manager on the first night we ate there - Mohammed Ali (yeah we laughed too, but that's seriously his name!) He was a kind man and genuinely wanted to talk to us, and not sell us anything. He had just taken over the restaurant a few months ago, and wanted to turn it into something great. He asked our opinion on food, decor, etc and we developed a good relationship with him and the rest of the staff at El Fanar. We went back to his restaurant many times, so much that we were regulars and knew the names of all the staff! We felt like it was our second home for a while!! We tried traditional Egyptian dishes that weren't even on the menu. Nowadays, we're living a bit more basic, and don't eat out much. We've tried some of the other restaurants along the sea side, but they're much of the same. There's even a restaurant called Same Same But Different...
|El Fanar Restaurant|
Some other restaurants in Dahab (non Egyptian) though that we do enjoy are The Kitchen - with Thai, Chinese, Indian, Japanese cuisine, The Blue House - Thai, and Athanor - Italian. The Thai curries at The Kitchen are almost as good as the ones in Australia, and the sushi is not bad either. But at the moment the sushi chef is on holidays :( Athanor pizzas are great - better than the 2 for 1 pizzas we were getting at The Kitchen Express (which is now closed down!) They also have the best banana bread ever! And their chocolate thick shakes are scoops of chocolate ice cream in a tall glass with chocolate sauce - Gaffatron heaven! The Blue House is run by Thai's so the food there is generally good, but it was being renovated so we haven't been back since. Another place to try in Dahab, is Nirvana. We've only tried to homemade ice cream there, but it's enough for us to keep us coming back! They have different flavours all the time like chocolate, vanilla, chai, mango, cookies and cream, peanut, coconut.... again - heaven in a waffle cone!! This keeps Gaffa's cravings at bay ;-)
In Dahab there's not much else to do besides diving and general chilling out. On windy days, there's alot of windsurfers and kite surfers out, but the main tourism is scuba diving. There's side trips you can do to climb Mt Sinai, see St Katherine, visit Petra in a day and you can also go quad biking and snorkeling...But we'll be writing separate blog posts about diving, so watch this space!
In general, Dahab is quite a relaxed place to be, the sun shines here 99.99% of the year, with only about 2 days of rain (if any). The prices for most things are cheap compared to Australia and UK, so it's a perfect holiday destination for all. Facilities are good, if you book into a nicer hotel rather than a 'camp'. The majority of dive centres are well run and you can't complain about the diving conditions here. The only downside to Dahab is trying to stay away from foods that may give you an upset stomach, which can ruin you holiday plans for a few days if you're not careful! Hahaha