This text was voluntarily translated by Michele Fidelhoc. Thanks!
Getting to Dahab was a relief. For a moment I thought that the Desert of Sinai would remain completely desert. Not that I was looking for something specific, but I particularly love to interact with the Arabs, and was starting to miss the Bedouin hospitality here.

The city of Dahab is located in the Aqaba gulf, in a little spot where I believe that water is the only thing that manages to pass quietly. On one side, Egypt; on the other side, Saudi Arabia. In the north, Israel and Jordan. According to one of the guides, a Japanese guy that once thought it was ok to cross the gulf and visit Saudi Arabia is still trying to come back (jokes put aside, it’s not worth the risk).

Tourism is the main – and apparently the only – commercial activity over here. The area is dominated by Bedouins whose traditions include the breeding of animals and consumption of underground water, traditions that are passed from generation to generation. Of course that the movement of tourists from all over ends up compromising the authenticity of their attitude, but generally speaking, the people over here showed to be very willing and fun to talk to. They sit with me, talk about soccer (little tip: knowing the name of an Egyptian player can open a lot of doors – or at least qualify conversations) and make the whole experience more and more pleasurable.

The beach is something unbelievable: less than 2 meters from the sand, it is possible to snorkel and observe a majestic coral reef and a diversity of fishes that I, big city guy, had only seen in screensavers. From one of the seaside bars, one can see the wilderness of the Red Sea and its divers on one side, and on the other side, the movement  of the merchants, torn into offering goods almost by force, and cleaning the sidewalk every five minutes. With salty water and soap.

The water from the tap and the shower is also salty. Not as intensely as the one from the sea, but salty enough to irritate the eyes during shower and to frown from the unpleasant taste while brushing your teeth. The advantage is that the restaurants’ kitchens are not visible for the tourists, which spares them from knowing about which water the meals are prepared with.

While I snorkeled – I’m not the biggest fan of deep diving – I got a little upset to see some garbage bags dancing together with the shoaling fishes. I discovered afterwards, that a local residents’ organization invites the tourists for a “underwater cleaning” on the first Saturday of every month. More than that, it is very clear the impact of a single piece of trash when improperly discarded. I decided to write about the experience of diving in another text, so as to not mix things up and ending up losing the beauty of the place.

During the day, it is worth going to a beach to dive. And that goes also for the main beach, down the stairs from any one of the seaside bars, and to get blown away by the existence of so much sea life so close to the surface. At night, having dinner and drinking a local beer like Stella (when I ordered, I also thought that her last name would be Artois, but I think it actually was something more like Al Sheik).

Since I was there in a “low season” and during Ramadan, it was possible to get closer to local people, as opposed to only interacting with the other tourists. During Muslim festivities, even though they are fasting during the day, wit and hospitality seem exacerbated, and at least for the Sinai I recommend this season. The prices are quite affordable (meals for something around  $ 3.00, $ 5.00 per stay with air conditioning and all) and you can walk the entire region on foot. To access specific points of diving and water and wind sports it is worth taking a taxi, which won’t cost more than $ 1.00.

I stayed at the Seven Heaven Hotel and ate at different restaurants with an emphasis on the service and the ordering options of Yalla Bar and my last day with the people from ElFanar Restaurant (where I exchanged Brazilian songs for Arab songs, and a Brazilian key chain for my bill). Almost all Bedouins with whom I spoke to said they wouldn’t change Dahab for anything and criticized the behavior of the Egyptians in the country's largest cities, like Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, as to the exploitation and disrespect for tourists.

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