Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hurghada and the Red Sea

Hurghada is a coastal beach resort city located on the gorgeous Red sea.  Just twenty years ago, Hurghada was just pure desert area and now it is built up with over 200 hotels(, restaurants, shops, and your commercial spots keep on coming-they just recently built McDonalds locations, which they are quite proud of by local report.  There famous hotels include the Hard Rock, the Marriot, and the Sheraton.  With a growing population, it has around 250,000 people living in Hurghada with a mix of Egyptians and Eastern Europeans.  Russians seems to take occupancy over any other  country.  It is pretty much like a small town of Russians and Egyptians.  
On the streets, you will find many couples consisting of Egyptian men with Russian girlfriends. When you go to the super market in the afternoon and even mid morning, you go to pick up a yogurt and you can look to your left to see a long set of legs, a black mini skirt, and cheap stiletto heels- Russian dolls beach attire ha! It is funny how the Russians make very poor attempts to assimilate into these religious cultures i.e. Muslim and Hindu(India, Egypt). This is based off my experience, but not all are like this-especially my lovely Russian friend, Lela.  Many Russians seem to run around town doing their own thing and they really do not care what people think of them, which has its positive and negative attributes.  Overall, I do not have a probem with them rather I find them quite entertaining, especially when they are trying to make a deal or just going to the beach or ordering food.  Everything is a big deal and they end up trying to discount everything until it has no more worth.  In the supermarket, there is a big, large sign that says, "No foreign currency," but what do the Russians do? They try to give American dollars and then they sit thinking the clerk might just make an acception.  Again, it is very entertaining to watch-oh the Russians. 

In general, Hurghada is known for it's water activities: snorkeling, scuba diving, wind surfing, kite surfing, and sailing.  The coral reefs are some of the best in the world and scuba diving is among the most popular activity along with snorkeling.  It was in my plans to do snorkeling and scuba diving if I could face my fear and actually try it out... stay tuned..

Like in many other beach cities, the nightlife consists of sheesha cafes, hotels bars, and beach/pool parties. While the party scene does not interest me, I managed to go out two nights, which is a lot for me since I pretty much have stopped drinking and partying.  One night we went out to Shade, which is a live music venue with bright colored bean bag chairs, black lights, and light blue writing. It gives quite the upscale, beach vibe, which I enjoy.  The marina in Hurghada reminds me of the Clark Quay marina in Singapore-nice restaurants, lounges, cafes-all pretty much upscale and happening.  I definitely enjoyed the marina, especially the cute restaurants The White Elephant for Thai and Heaven for fish(not that I went there, but loved the outdoor ambiance) We then ventured off to the Hard Rock cafe, which was a bust and  consisted of the "bigger, less attractive Russian girls" dancing and local Egyptians hanging out.  While I sat there, I was thinking of all the things I could have been doing.  I remember my friend from Chicago saying that, "When you get older, there has to be a good reason for going out." And I am definitely feeling this as I get older. It has to be a nice place with good atmosphere and excellent quality music/DJ or with people I want to spend time with, which makes the type of place not AS important, but still important. 
The first place, Shade, was a great place, but our trip to the Hardrock for "ladies night" pretty much was disappointing for our three some-me, Sheddy, and Asam(two nice boys from the upstairs flat-both couch surfers)
The flat I was staying at in Hurghada was perfect- a beach apartment with a big couch surfing family mostly consisting of boys all in their mid twenties, my lovely original host Ghareb,  and the lovely Russian girl-Lela- a ray of sunshine.  They are always hosting people in the downstairs of upstairs flat and they were all quite nice to talk and interact with especially learn about Egypt.   We had a nice time at the local cafe together, eating and Egyptian dinner, and attempting to listen about the discussion of the election. A nice time in Hurghda... 

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