Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

(Upper) Egypt - Snorkeling by the Desert

Dedicated to DJ. (Thinking of you - Good Luck!)

Just a quick note to say I am still having a brilliant time, but it has been time spent without any internet access. I am been jotting down the posts for the last few days on my mother's laptop, so there will be plenty for you to catch up on when I return to Cairo tomorrow night. They shall be inserted at the appropriate dates for when they were written.

I can't put them up here because this is coming from an internet cafe in the Conrad Hilton at Hurghada. It's a strange place, and the second night spent in a "resort". Resorts are simply odd. They are full of Europeans who are very keen on dozing in the sun and eating to muzak. We have decided that "muzak" is defined by being equally annoying to all listeners.

This area, a long strip of utterly barren open desert laden with land mines and military outposts, bordering the long, straight, flat and coral-reef-lined Red Sea, is developing resorts like a sudden emergence of wildflowers. Colourful, repetitive, partially complete or ready to bloom, and devoid of human life. Instant artificial towns created in the absence of any appealing landscape characteristics, aside from a thin but glorious strip of coral, and the potential existence of a great deal of mining wealth. I'm sure they will make interesting archaeology one day.

I spent this morning snorkeling amongst a spectacular and phastasmagoric array of tropical fish. I was feeding them (on the resort operator's suggestion, contrary to environmental principles) with bread and subsequently immersed by schools of resplendent colourful creatures. New species emerged with each pinch, and according to onlookers they followed me like a glittering neon V-shaped school. When I emerged, the onlookers pointed out around 12-15 large grey fast-moving shapes that turned out to be sharks. Although I didn't see them whilst underwater, at one point they approached within a couple of metres from me. They were reef sharks, so not known as a dangerous species, but they were about as long as me (5'11 or 1.78m).

A wonderful experience indeed!


  • At Tuesday, December 06, 2005 7:05:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great to catch up on your travels again,Sam, and,like many others I'm sure, I am really looking forward to reading your updates.

    Love to you and your mum and dad: great that you can be together



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