Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt. Once a tiny Bedouin town it’s now a, well… tiny tourist town. While it’s neighbour Sharm El Sheikh has all the fame and glory there is just something about Dahab that draws you in and never wants to let go.
This sleeping little town has an abundance of things to do. A large majority of the people here are divers. Located in the Red Sea, Dahab has some of the most amazing diving in the world. Even just swimming and snorkelling here is magical. And if you get sick of the sea, which less face it, how could you? then there is the desert. Take a quad bike, or a camel or just go for a walk. The desert here is amazing. There is also clubs and so many restaurants and cafes that it takes a long time before you get bored here.
Many of the people I’ve met that live here are here because they came for a few days and never left. And if they did leave, well, they ended up quitting their jobs, packing up their lives and coming back. And my story is no different. Despite this being my third time to Dahab, I never intended to stay; I was just passing through. I was going to stay for a few weeks and then move on, but seven months later I’m still here.
It’s one of the most amazing places in the world to live. But at times is also one of the worst. The people here are just so inviting, and the lifestyle is nothing like what you would experience back home. Everyone is friends with everyone, and someone is always out at a café having a shisha and a drink, so that you never find yourself alone here. It’s normal to be up until one or two in the morning and everyone just gets up when they feel like. The whole country runs on it’s own time, “Egyptian Time” It’s one of those things that at times is endearing and part of the reason you love the place so much and at others makes you want to pack up and head back to civilisation. If you have nothing better to do well who cares if someone tells you half an hour and then rocks up three hours later? And if you are running late somewhere it’s ok; everyone knows that when you give a time you can basically turn up whenever you want. But when it’s something important it’s down right infuriating! Like when the power is out and you’re waiting for it to come back and keep getting told “ten minutes inshallah” only to be waiting for hours. Or if there is a problem with the water, “half hour, inshallah it will be back” so you wait, and wait, and wait, until it does eventually come back, long past the half hour deadline you were given.
But the positives of living here do certainly outweigh the negatives. There is just a whole laid back approach to life, and the law. Road rules for example seem to be more of a guideline than actual law, one which most people tend to ignore. Don’t want to wear a helmet on your motorbike, well then don’t. If you don’t care the police don’t either. Same goes for seatbelts, driving on the right side of the road, speeding. Basically everything. If you are approaching an intersection why stop. Just toot your horn in case anyone is coming the other way and keep going. And if it’s busy and there is only two lanes, well, you can certainly turn that into three. The same applies for overtaking. If you need to go around someone slow and there is traffic just go anyway. Both the person you are overtaking and the oncoming car will move over so that you can fit nicely down the middle. Pretty much anything goes here, in all aspects of life. And it’s one of the hardest things to give up when heading back to Western Society. After living a life of doing whatever you want it’s hard to go back to a world with so many rules and regulations. Ones that are actually policed.