marsa shagra

Living in a bustling metropolis like Cairo can take its toll. Thats why people retreat to the numerous resorts dotted along the coast for some relaxation. We decided to be more adventerous and ventured further to the red sea and the city of Marsa Alam, famous for its sea-life and and a haven for hardcore divers.

We arrived at a diving resort called Marsa Shagra which is situated at the heart of the coral and boasts one of the best diving places in the world. The red sea has a high salinity (4% more than average, apart from the red sea), making it abundant with many species of fish.

By the second day I had tried snorkelling and as I write this it is the third day. This morning I woke up early, wanting to get good visibility in the sea. After a leisurely breakfast, by 8am I put on my life jacket, goggles and snorkels and waded into the sea. Because I’m not a strong swimmer, the life jacket enabled me to go further without drowning.

It was the most inspiring and awe (insert more adjectives) moment in my life.


We had arrived on a wednesday and booked ourselves in a royal tent, complete with a mini fridge and fan. By the afternoon they warned us that there was a storm due that evening. As the sunset a flash of lightning struck. The monsterous roar of thunder sounded and a few moments later it started raining. A few drops at first, and then a heavy downpour. People started to panic and grab the cushions to take inside. Others fled into the restaurant. I hadn’t seen rain for a few months and it felt amazing.

That night we moved to a hut and slept to the sound of the wind strongly blowing against the shore, wondering what adventures the morning would bring.


Spring in full bloom

Spring is a time when Egypt is totally transformed from an area of brown dust to a burst of colours. Dirty streets are lined with exotic trees, their branches flowing with blossom-pink, red, purple, green, orange, yellow, all competing with each other. They are the makeup added to a dull canvas.

The spring breeze gently blows away the layers of dust and grime that colonised all stationary objects during the winter months. The luminous colour of a retro Volkswagon beetle basks in the sun, oozing sex appeal. An idle dog sleeps under the shade of a car, half stirring when a small family of four stroll past. Two friends sit on worn plastic chairs deep in conversation about the upcoming elections due in May. As the day moves on, one friend decides to make tea in the tiny faded hut, its roof made from sticks intertwined to form a giant sombrero. A cart burdened with woven baskets sits vacant under the shade of a tree, its deep basket used as a bed by a jaded street cat.

Slowly though as the season comes to an end, so to do the flowers. The intense colours are steadily fading, the edges shrivelling and turning brown. The bottom of a tree is covered in a carpet of pink, momentarily disturbed as a speeding car cruises past. Soon the trees will be naked, only green leaves to cover the bare branches. Soon the dust will settle once again, and soon the streets will go back to the dull tinge of brown.