Our last day at Cairo was a very slow pace day. We didn’t have to get up too early because only have one place to visit, which is the Egyptian Museum. The museum is not far away from our hotel, so we can take our time to either sleep in, or get our luggage pack to be ready to check out in the afternoon.
I packed my luggage the night before, so when I woke up early in the morning, I decided to check out the hotel facility and snap some pictures, after all, how often do you stay in the best hotel in Egypt?!
From the balcony of my room, the courtyard of the hotel seems lifeless when it was about 7 am.
The hotel lobby was definitely busier then the evening, you can also tell they did a good job to keep it clean and welcoming at all time.
Through the side of the lobby is a grant looking staircase that lead to the courtyard and the hotel restaurant. It’s the stair we used everyday to get to the restaurant where we have our breakfast.
The decoration inside the restaurant is very royal like, big tall ceiling and big chandelier that you would never want it to fall on you!
There are two divided rooms before the entrance to the breakfast buffet area, the ceiling do look similar, but the furniture is different. I think this is like a mini lounge area where hotel guess can hangout, wait for their party or just chill.
Looking at the furniture and decoration, you can feel like you’re living in a royalty, there are just so much gold trim all over the place.
The second room has some sort of screen divider, make it feels like it’s a maze that get divided all over the place.
Since there is nothing to photograph in the break fast area, and I think it’s rude to photography people eating, I when ahead and check out the courtyard for the first time during day time because every time we got back to the hotel, it was dark and I was too tired to walk around trying to photograph in the dark, especially I don’t carry a tripod in this trip.
The courtyard area is huge and long, as if you can’t see the other side of the compound.
Once you pass the out door dining area, there is pathway to lead to some hotel rooms that look like apartments.
I guess if you don’t like those elevator exit then find your jail ceil kind of hotel room, you can always get one of these more cozy apartment lifestyle facility.
In the center of the apartment area, you can see a big open space gazebo area.
I can just imagine it could come alive at night to host all kind of high end functions, with cocktail waitress and live band music, it’s a truly luxury function.
From the open space gazebo area, you over look the hotel swimming pool, and the building where the hotel lobby, restaurants as well as shopping area is located.
Once I was done taking photos, it’s time to head out to the hotel entrance to meet up with our tour guide. From the entrance of the hotel, you really can’t tell there is such a luxury and large facility hiding behind these boring wall of windows and balcony.
Once we hobbed into our bus, it only took us 20 minutes yish to get to the Egyptian Museum. On the way there, we were told that photography is not permitted and if we were to bring our camera, it has to be checked in a the security check point. To avoid hassle, I just take the photos of the museum exterior from the gate, and left my camera backpack in the bus where the driver will be keep an eye and waiting for us.
The museum visit was very interesting, I did learn quite a bit about Egyptian kings, the artifact, and the highlight of the visit was to tour the treasure area, where I was standing in front of 250lb of pure gold coffin! It’s fascinating to learn that the people of Egypt paid so much respect and importance to their king in the old day, especially planning for their after life.
After the museum visit, we headed back to the hotel to settle lunch, pick up our luggage and get ready to check out of the hotel. At the hotel entrance, we decided to take a photo of the chair that really caught our interest every time we enter the hotel, the chair is just so tall and big, kind of like a throne. Using my ultra wide angle lens to take the photo, it does make the proportion look funky!
Everybody in our group sort of separated and went our own way to pack, and find lunch. I didn’t feel like eating lunch but I was really curious of the other desserts that I had the night before. Realizing that it will be a while the next time I have these kind of dessert since they’re so damn hard to find in the US, I decided to eat dessert for lunch!
I swung by the Marriot Pastry shop, and got myself a box of 4 dessert.
The hazelnut praline mousse cake was very delightful.
While I didn’t care much for the dark chocolate mousse, I always wonder how the chocolate mirror glaze taste like. After having this dessert, I have to say, the mirror glaze taste quite natural for being a highly commercialized product!
The strawberry heart was a bit on the tart side because of the jam in the middle.
The cherry was quite refreshing, although I can hardly taste the cherry because after all the sweet stuff, the mild fruit flavor just hard to come through.
After my sugar fix, it was just a matter of double check my travel document, ensure I have all my belonging and then get into the bus to head to the airport. The rest of the day was very slow pace, starting from a one hour flight from Cairo to Hurghada, which is the second largest city in Egypt and is located at the Red Sea coast.
Once we landed in Hurghada, the dredged 6 hours bus ride began and took us from Hurghada airport to Marsa Alam, a small town where our live aboard was waiting for us at the marina of Port Ghalib. Word can not describe how greatful I was to get off the bus because riding the bus in complete darkness was just plain boring, all we can tell is we were surrounded be desert, road, moonlight and ocean. My tablet screen was too bright to view in the dark, causing eye strain, and it’s not the most comfortable bus for passengers to sleep in either.
The first thing we got off the bus was of course to settle into our live aboard, which is the Blue Horizon operated by Blue-o-Two.
The friendly staff helped us to carry our luggage onto the boat, while we all got in to the lounge area to get some basic orientation, follow up signing our life away for a series of scuba diving event the next couple days.
When all were said and done, we were instructed to put our necessary stuffs into our cabin, and then take out the big luggage so the crew can store them some place else because the cabin is not big enough for that kind of storage. The cabin is located at the bottom of the ship, my first impression was, they waxed the floor! They were a couple times I almost slip and fall because it was that slick! I can’t imagine if I were to walk around the area with wet feet, I think that’s the main reason they asked us to dry off before we get into the cabin,or any interior part of the ship.
Above the cabin floor is the dining area.
Outside the dining area is the scuba gear up area. Underneath each tank is a basket where divers can put their small belonging like mask, weight, flash light etc.
We were told to choose a tank we want, and that will be the tank we will use for the rest of the dive trip. The ship can have up to 26 divers, but half of them have not arrive when we were there, so I quickly chose the one in the middle so that I won’t be at the side of the ship where divers traffic could be congested. We had to put our BCD on the tank and set everything up so that the next day we would be ready to go.
The dive operator has an interesting and clever safety check system. Each diver has a clip on tag that he/she would have to take along when go diving, once the dive have ended, the diver need to put the clip back to the board so the crew members can identify who is not on the boat when the dive has ended. My tank was on slot number 12, so I got the number 12 tag, and my name was written on the board for quick identification.
On the third floor of the ship is the lounge area, where divers can hangout, fix tea/coffee/drink.
The lounge also has a big screen TV where divers can watch movies, and some times the dive master would use the TV as briefing tool by showing some DVD materials.
Outside the lounge is the dive briefing area, where over time, smokers took over the deck as they’re not allow to smoke inside.
There isn’t a whole lot to do inside the boat once we put our stuff away. We won’t be leaving the port until the next day morning since another group of divers will arrive around midnight. Before we disappear into the ocean for a couple days, we better take a quick stroll into the port to at least check out the surrounding area.
The marina seems to be very new and clean, and it looks like a vacation home opportunity area where the first floor is shop unit, while the top two floors are apartment lot.
When we saw the show room advertisement, it all make sense and confirmed my observation. Too bad the show room advertisement didn’t show much information such as floor plan, price range and amenities.
The marina has quite a few restaurants, it was weird that the surrounding was very quiet, perhaps the crowd didn’t get in yet, after all we were there after European’s summer was over.
Throughout the marina, there are pockets of area where they are very well designed, with interesting light and hardscape.
A mini courtyard also exist in between buildings.
Across from where the boat dock, there seems to be another big hotel with apartment kind of place to rent.
Not knowing what to expect for the next day, I hit the sag shortly after we returned from the marina. All we know is the ship will leave the port around 7:30 am.
I woke up quite early probably because it’s a new bed for me. Since they other group of European divers didn’t get in until quite late, they slept in so breakfast was serve a bit late. I took the time I had to check out the area now that it’s broad daylight.
Since it’s safer to walk around the boat now that we have daylight, I got access to the top deck which require you to climb up a narrow ladder, and get down by walking backward.
From the top deck of the ship, you can finally see what’s ahead of the ship, which is the other side of marina where you would require a water Taxi to get to.
Zoomed into the other side of the marina, it looks like they are some hotel, shops and apartments where they’re trying to build a mini gold course.
Along the side of the marina, there are more ships dock along the area, it’s mind boggling that there are so many divers in just such a small area!
Over look the surrounding area of the marina, you can’t find any mountain with any sort of vegetation. All the mountains are plain old boring brown and tan of desert, it really put the desert in Arizona to shame!
While we couldn’t see well at night, but once the daylight appear, it’s obvious that the building behind the ships are just hotel rooms with a big front yard, and it was really weird to see workers trying to water the landscape with hose instead of automatic in ground sprinkler, I guess manual labor is still the way to go in this part of the world!
The ship left the port while we were having breakfast, the rest of the trip was very interesting, fill with both joy and painful memories. Now that I’m “back” to the Red Sea, the rest will have to be explored while I’m in the water!