So, I just got back from Egypt! Even though I am sick like a dog and my eyes are burning as I am typing these words, I can honestly say I had a dream holiday. One week full of history (yes, yes, the mighty pyramids), sun, sea and yummy cocktails on a beach in Sharm El Sheikh. And oh, yes, pretty strong mosquito bites that gave my legs nice shades of red and purple.
For you, just like it was for me, Egypt is probably synonym for hot, hot weather. And you are right. Some places have rain only few times a year, and some even less. But, this year it turned out to be quite different. They actually had a storm! Luckily, this happened on my last day there but I can tell you, it was an experience to remember.
As I was approaching the pool that afternoon, with the towel and a good will to finally take a dip ( I spent my days on beach and beach only-who goes to the pool when there is a beach just down the stairs?), I thought it just might rain, but I rejected that thought instantly. I mean, I am in Egypt after all. D’ooh!
But, while I was sat reading my book and drinking my coffee, clouds started to roll in and little by little, it started to rain. Still pretty keen on going in, I went for a quick swim and just gave up as it was windy and gloomy so I saw no point. In literally last few seconds I reached the spa area where I wanted to shower. Because lighting and thunder and heavy, heavy rain hit the place of Sharm El Sheikh.
I saw people running around trying to take the water out of the restaurants, shisha areas and bars. I saw them holding the big glass doors to stop them from slamming because the wind was too strong. All of them seemed pretty shocked and clueless to me.
As I laughed because, to me, that was just a bit of rain, I wondered in direction of showers just to get caught in the dark. Power went off. So, I am stood there with a grin, not moving at all and I hear the lady employees laughing and laughing. Yes, that was definitely very unusual day for Sharm.
When power came back (only for a short time though), I went to the lobby to get my last drink and my suitcases (as I already have checked-out) and there I saw a horde of people just sitting around. Turns out, they were new guests of the resort, not being able to go into their rooms as they were flooded and had absolutely no electricity. Ok, so I guessed sh**t just got real. A thought crossed my mind-what if the airport is gonna be closed?! Obviously, there is mayhem out there.
With a very unpleasant feeling I entered that taxi for a ride that turned out to be a one hour ride, instead of twenty minutes. Never would I ever though this is going to be one of the funniest taxi rides of my life. First of all, the driver, called Hany spoke very little English. Which, of course didn’t not stop him to rap to Akon songs throwing in (what seemed to me like) Egyptian words. When we stopped for Starbucks, he decided to come with. I told him he does not need to get wet too, but he insisted. While inside of Starbucks, power went out again so we were holding our phones, lighting the room for a guy who was making coffees. Crazy.
As I was finally sipping my White Chocolate Mocha I was craving for days, we headed to the airport. And let me tell you that I saw what I’ve never seen before. I saw tourists in buses, angry and agitated. And then I saw local people stood on the streets taking pictures of themselves getting completely soaked. Dancing and laughing, walking through puddles. Waving with plastic bags that were supposed to protect them from getting wet, but they gave up because the wind was too strong. That water wasn’t going anywhere. They have no ways and infrastructure to deal with it. But… Some of these people were actually having fun! All this because of rain? Yes. For a Croatian in me, this was crazy. I just had ten days of straight rain before flying in to Egypt. But, for a traveller in me? I loved it!
These are the moments one should travel for-to see and to learn. To become a part of something unusual for them, when it is so so usual (and quite annoying) for you. Rain. One simple, completely irrelevant and everyday thing made me smile and learn more about these cheerful warm people. I felt richer for one special experience.
As I flew out of Sharm (on time), I learned rest of the country wasn’t so lucky, and there were actually some casualties in Alexandria. Buildings and trees were collapsing. And even though it made me sad, as every normal human, I couldn’t help feeling like I learn a lot about Egypt that evening. Rain? All this because of rain? Wow.