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We went to the beach. Air temperature 22C, water temperature 24C. The Red Sea is very clear and seems very clean, though I don’t know how it’s possible.

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Egypt Day One: A view of the desert from the highway. The tree in the picture is atypical.

Kostia and I got back from Egypt last night. There is plenty to say, and I’m still organizing my photos and stuff, so maybe I’ll do it in day-by-day installments with a few words and snapshots from each day.

Day 1

We arrived in Hurghada in the early afternoon, paid $15 for some adhesive stamps in our passport which serve as a visa, and were met by representatives of our travel agent. The two things that surprised me the most were the many Egyptians who spoke Russian, and how scary and intense the desert looked. I’d never been to a real desert before. TV and photos can’t really show you what it’s like to see huge stretches of sand without any vegetation. In the distance, sand was broken by a range of jagged mountains which kept things from looking too depressing and desolate.

Hurghada is a resort town, and we learned later that most everything was newly built within the last five years. Resorts mostly populated by Europeans stretch along the Red Sea coast, and beyond their fences lie only the highway and the desert. Near the airport there are hundreds of half-finished buildings that will supposedly be luxury vacation homes. They looked nice enough, but weren’t very close to the sea, so I’m not sure why someone would want one.

In the van on the way to the hotel, Mohamed from the travel company immediately went to work on us, trying to sell us excusions. He succeeded in getting us to sign up for a one-day trip to Cairo and the pyramids.

Our hotel was 35km from the airport, but very lovely, and our room had a nice balcony overlooking the parking lot of a neighboring resort, though if you leaned a bit you could see a bit of the sea in one direction and the mountains and desert in the other.

I’m trying to post some photos, but Blogger is being stupid…

Yesterday when all the kids had gone home except for one little girl, my co-worker went into our classroom’s bathroom, which doesn’t have a lock on it (so that the kids can’t lock themselves in). “Don’t come in here, Alyona”, said my co-worker. Alyona, who is one of the funniest kids in the class, whispered to me: “Она стесняется, потому что она будет какать.” (She’s being shy because she’s going to poop.)

Can I just say that I feel like I’ve done my bit for the Russian economy this weekend? It was really cold (though not as cold as a couple weeks ago) yet I resisted the urge to hibernate and went out every day this weekend, visiting emptier-than-usual establishments.

Friday Aunt Kelly and I went to a new restaurant called Xren (pronounced Hren, it means horseradish and is also sometimes used as a substitute for a swear word). Yummy. I recommend it. Good service too, unusual.

Saturday Kostia and Aunt Kelly and I met up with some friends at Red Club, where a bunch of bands were playing, though we were there mostly for Kim and Buran. We heard a really good funk band too, Kanna P, and some crappy weird band, I don’t remember their name, just that in their first song they kept chanting “Ya hochu v kitai” (I want to go to China).

Today Kostia and I went to see Match Point, which they were actually showing subtitled instead of dubbed, whoo-hoo! I liked it in the end, though at first I had my doubts. Then we went to a cafe for some mulled wine.

Well, it hasn’t been the nicest week. It’s super cold again, I’ve been feeling tired and grumpy, there’s some unpleasantness at work, and I paid way too much for a bad haircut. Hmph.

A week from now I’ll be on a plane to Egypt, though. A week of warm weather and relaxation and pyramids. The funny thing about going to Egypt is that while it sounds pretty exotic and cool to Americans, it is totally not for Russians. Because Egypt’s one of the few countries that doesn’t have onerous visa requirements for Russian citizens, there are tons of cheap package tours available from here. So it’s like, “Oh, you’re going to Egypt? Loser.” I don’t care though.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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