It all started with a job interview. A friend mine put me in contact with a guy who is helping me finding a job here in Cairo, and I met him to give him my resume. We sat in a cafe smoking shisha and drinking a fruit juice (delicious!). I was supposed to travel to Alexandria on the following day, but suddenly I received a phone call: the trip was canceled.
The guy in front of me came up with the proposal: “I’m going to Hurgada tomorrow, would you like to join me and my friends“?
It took me a very little time to decide. And of course I agreed.
For some reason I never really wanted to go to the Red Sea before. I’ve been almost everywhere in Egypt but not in that area. I always thought it was too different from the Egypt I love. But this was the perfect occasion! I was about to go there with Egyptian people, not with a tour operator or an organized trip. So I couldn’t let the opportunity slip!
Going to Hurgada from Cairo takes about 4/5 hours by car (depending on Cairo traffic of course!). The trip across the desert was fun, even if we got caught on a speed camera (see my previous post), but that turned out as a funny fact too in the end.
Then we finally got to Hurgada. The first impression was weird: Russian writings everywhere – the percentage of Russian tourists is massive and it looks like everything in Hurgada is made for them. Menus, signs and brochures are in Russian. Luckily I studied Russian at university! But no, I didn’t like this thing. Not that authentic. Anyway, Hurgada is a super famous in Russia and Italy, but apparently it’s not that well known in the USA, so I hope this post is interesting to you American followers!
Another thing I noticed were the many constructions sites around, and the fact that you actually can’t see the sea from the street. Buildings hide it. But hey, shouldn’t it be the first thing you see when you get there? Pity!
But now here are some pros: I had the chance of visiting other places on the Red Sea in the following days (Sharm el Sheikh and Dahab) and this is by far the most “Egyptian” place (in spite of the Russian writings…) because yes there is traffic, and yes there are non touristic areas. Another thing is that overall it’s a cheap place. We paid 10 Euros/night per person in a 4 stars compound with pool and all comforts. A full seafood dinner at “Starfish” restaurant was just about 7 Euros. Not bad at all!
During the day of course we went to the beach. Activities in Hurgada are mainly going to the beach, snorkeling, diving and… clubbing! Not really my ideal holiday but good for a few days, and I was there just for 3 nights. The water was amazing, the sun very hot (the only time I checked the temperature it was 40°C/104°F at 10 am!) and the guys around were hot too. Ha ha.
The absolute new experience for me was… driving in Egypt! No I don’t have an international driving licence (ops, did I say that?) but I became the driver of the group. And it was fun! Honking all the time and overtaking on the right. Egyptian style!
Moreover, I learned a lot of Arabic, as I was with Egyptian people all the time.
I admit I was missing Cairo all the time. On my last night in Hurgada while dancing in a club I couldn’t help but thinking about how happy I am with my choice – moving to Egypt. It’s just the perfect Country for me: there are history, culture, cities and even metropolis such as Cairo. In a few hours you can get to the desert, or you can reach beautiful sea resorts on the Red Sea. Egypt has it all.
By the time we got back to Cairo, while driving along the Nile, the sun was setting on the river and I fell in love with this city once more.
The following day someone else asked me to go to Sharm el Sheikh and Dahab and I left again… but this is another story.