We went to Al Sahel Al Shamali (the North Coast) last weekend, a narrow strip of air-conditioned resorts between desert sand and the brilliantly blue waters of the Mediterranean.
There really are no words for how beautiful it was. The ocean was unimaginably blue, and so salty you could flavor soup with it. Especially because there was not a single thing living in it — no seaweed, no fish, nothing. The salt made the water so buoyant that I could float without effort, bobbing in the waves as the sun beat down on my skin with a ferocity I’ve never felt before. I could practically feel my skin blistering beneath it — don’t worry Mom, I set the alarm on my watch to remind me to reapply sunscreen every two hours.
We stayed at a five star resort, and the entire experience was more luxurious than any I’ve ever had. My room faced on to the ocean, and the sea breeze was so nice that at night I turned off the air conditioning and opened the door onto the balcony so I could fall asleep to the sounds of the waves.
We arrived at the coast around 1:30 p.m., swam and played and talked and read and sat in the shade until heading back to our rooms at around 6:30 to shower and get ready for dinner. There was an astonishing array of food at the buffet, and even though most of the main courses were meat there were enough salads and dips and bread to keep this vegetarian more than happy.
Top Photo: Heaping helpings of baba ganoush, hummus and tahina (the three gray-ish dips on the left hand side of the plate), tabbouleh and green salad on the right.
Bottom Photo: Whole wheat bread (A rare find in Egypt!), olive bread, roasted red peppers, and stewed green beans in tomato sauce with rice.
I also had a second plate of salad with more red peppers — I’ve had so few fresh vegetables lately that the spinach and peppers tasted like the food of the gods. I am excited to eat a lot of salad when I get home.
After we went walking on the beach, holding our shoes in our hands and letting the waves wash up on our bare feet. It felt like something out of a travel magazine, or else a cheesy romance movie. It was wonderful.
Friday morning I woke up early and swam laps in the hotel’s pool with my friend Avanti (my best Nadi buddy) and we headed to breakfast together. After a few more hours of swimming and lazing about in the warm sand, it was time to head out. We ate lunch at the hotel, and I had an amazingly, luxuriously delicious cappuccino (Non-instant coffee! What a concept! I think it’s the first I’ve had in Egypt.) Then we reluctantly got back on the bus and dozed through the two hour drive back to Alex, dreading the return to noise and trash and school work. It’s already Tuesday now — hard to believe it’s been a week since I was floating in that incredibly blue water — and I’m looking forward to the start of another weekend tomorrow. We’ve got big plans — another trip to the beach, an Iftar dinner, shopping in Manshiya, visiting an Arabic bookstore, and studying for our final exam on Sunday. I’ll report back when it all happens!
I know this was a short post. I think that the pictures say a lot more than any description I could give, and either way I’m too tired to write more. We’re all pretty burnt out from school work, and every night I look forward to the moment when I can collapse into my bed with more and more anticipation. I am not at all ready to leave Egypt — there’s still so much left I want to do, and see, and experience — but I can’t say I’m not looking forward to the end of classes.
!أريد أن أنهي دراسات
That’s all for now. Ma Salama!