So I've spent some time exploring, seeing what I could find and what the shortest route to the beach is. There is ample lagoon beach which is great. Most of it fronts a hotel or restaurant and depending on the owners, you might get good white sand, or just the local more gravely sand.
First up is a shipwreck. Since El Gouna was founded in 1989, making it only 28 years old, the wrecks are not going to be very old. From the pictures you can see that everything that gets left in the Saharan sun gets bleached white. Except for me. Me, I just go red.
There are however "real" shipwrecks in the Red Sea and some big ones at that. Hopefully I can get under those waters and see some of the wrecks off the Shaab Abu Nuhas Reef. Or even just one...
Another unforeseen adventure
Jody, Kye and I entered a store full of designer clothes, sunglasses, belts and the like. A small shop, no bigger than any of the other stores in town I immediately noticed that the air-con was off. Each to his own. Maybe it was energy conservation. Then I realised that nobody was in the shop. Who cares, we looked around anyway, trying on the sunglasses and hats. When we tried leave, we discovered the door was locked. After about 16 attempts, trying to make sure I wasn't being stupid and hadn't missed something obvious, I got into survival mode. Banging on the wall, hoping the neighbouring shop owner would hear me proved fruitless. Banging on the glass at pedestrians walking by on the other side of the road proved fruitless. Screaming for help at the top of our lungs proved fruitless. (Kyle figured out what was occurring and joined in with the cries for help...). When the boys started going red in the face from the hot, stale and motionless air I told Kyle I'm going to their back room to find water. He says "Ok, dad, I'll go find the air-con!"
It wasn't long after that that somebody came to open the shop. I had no idea what to expect. Who would be more annoyed?? The owner, for having unchecked people wondering his shop? Or me, for being locked in? I decided to play it cool and he was very apologetic after he got over his initial shock!
Botes boys are stuck....
My favourite spot
There is a pier about a 20 minute walk from us. It takes longer in total to get to the end of it as it's 400 meters long...It's awesome though! It comes off the beach on manmade island, stretches the 400 meters across the shallow, crystal clear lagoon and ends on a coral reef. Just hop off there with a mask and snorkel and you can't be disappointed! You can snorkel either direction for ages along the reef seeing loads upon loads of fish. Lion fish, eels, puffer fish, fish that look like worms, huge clams etc etc. Apparently there are stone fish around these parts (I'm guessing they're not too common), and on the odd occasion I have to put my feet on the sea floor, when it's shallow enough. In that microsecond, I always go: "Will I be dead in 30 minutes?" Feet go down. "Oh, ok, I'll live." I thought I saw one the other day and I can only imagine what the exclamations of fear must have sounded like coming out the top of my snorkel...If you think I'm being a baby, just have a read of what the rest of your life is like after you stand on one. Anyway, it wasn't a stonefish.
I took a walk to the hills outside El Gouna. You can see them on the horizon of the sunset picture above. Hoping to find 'that desert solitude and silence', I could not have been more disappointed. It turns out that just in front of them runs a power line which is always an eye-sore, but worse, is the El Gouna recycle centre. Basically the rubbish dump. Every habitation needs one, but if you're expecting the opposite, it's horrible. I had to walk through it to get to the mountain. I only coped with the smell by holding my scarf to my face. A fair number of dogs were present as well and weren't happy with the new intruder. Imagine the disease these things carry. Anyway, I pressed on to the foot of the hills. There is a northerly wind blowing most of the time and sadly, the areas south of the dump are just littered with, well, litter. And the bones!! Bones everywhere. I assume they're dogs...One skull was mostly likely a dog - at least definitely not human....so many bones. Not piles of them, but every 5 meters or so another vertebrae, another femur, another joint....
Anyway, heading north along the foot of hills, the rubbish clears up a lot. Much to my relief. And I've spotted a canyon with some strange manmade structure on the canyon-side. So that's next.
They say, though, that the desert is breathtaking. There are mountains further back from these hills reaching over 3000 meters above sea level. We'll venture out there soon enough. Bedouin land.
This is part of a farm...
The most disappointing thing of all.
The most disappointing thing of all? We've flown all the way to Egypt only to find that Egyptians walk like everybody else.