This is our latest article for the Hello Egypt publication…enjoy
Dahab in paradise, then and now
Most of us want to travel and see something different at some point in our life, but then most of us expect to go home afterwards too…I never did. I came to Dahab in 1997 as part of a world tour and never left. A one week holiday has turned into a lifetime of living and loving in Dahab.
I look back at those times and realise that I was very brave to give up everything I had in the UK. I had a well-paid job that I loved, friends, family and a whole different life. The decision to make Dahab my home was not an easy one.
People see pictures of Dahab how it used to be and sigh ‘why can’t it be like this anymore’ well yes it looked lovely and in a lot of ways was…but the facilities that people take for granted were not there…forget regular power, water and clean food and we were very much ‘cut-off’ from the rest of the world, due to no mobiles, computers or Wi-Fi. Also there were no good Doctors, Dentists or Schools etc. so yes life was tough and challenging.
The only way of contacting the outside world, was by buying a phone credit from the local supermarket which allowed about 1 minute of ‘talk time’ and by then queuing for the only pay-phone in Dahab, next to the ‘chicken shop’ watching them get their heads snapped and popped into a chicken de-feathering machine…only increased my resolve to continue being vegetarian….
Fast forward on and here I am now with an amazing husband, Helal and our family of 3 beautiful kids: Nadia 20, Hebba 14 and Sameh just about to be 12. We own and run a boutique guest house/dive centre, on the shores of Eel Garden, called Dive Urge which we started in 2001. It is a labour of love which stands out from the crowds for its uniqueness in a sea of same same places.
We designed our place with disabled guests in mind…it just seemed natural to do so…and with the environment in mind too (we are the only dive club in the Red Sea which guarantee 4-1 divers to reduce impact on the precious environment and have also achieved a massive ‘no plastic bottles’ in our resort…but one of the most important features can’t even be seen…we set out to look after our staff, and make them feel valued and cherished…to be treated the way we would want to be treated.
The great thing about Dahab is that there are never 2 days the same…you’ll wake up with your ‘things to do’ but then you’ll get chatting to a lovely interesting guest or a local ‘Dahabian’ and your day will take a shift….I guess, in a lot of ways, leaving the monotony of life in the UK was a breath of fresh air…no more Monday-Fridays 9-5.
Dahab is not perfect, that’s true, but show me anywhere that is, it has heart and soul and an amazing energy that either embraces you or spits you out. Not many folk have lasted their lifetime here like we have, because it is not easy…many come for a holiday and think hmm this is nice, but normal life continues even in paradise, there still work, school, life and all the stresses that come with it.
So if you are thinking to come to Dahab on holiday, then do it. There is plenty on offer here: scuba diving, snorkelling, yoga, camels, horse, quad bikes mountain exploring to mention just a few.
Try not to be cheap, these folks have had a really hard few years and for every worker or shop keeper you see there’s a family behind him to look after too.
Maybe the thing that is most elusive in this life is the art of doing nothing…turning off your phones and constant updates….battling the need to be ‘in touch’ every day. We need to regain the ability of doing nothing…a lost skill and a valuable one too…don’t pack your day with loads of ‘stuff to do’…try and come and just be…sit on the beach and watch the waves…look at the palm trees swaying in the wind…we are from nature and will all go back to it at some point, so why not connect now?
Come and enjoy Dahab, choose an environmentally aware place, not based on price but on what they offer and give back to the community and spend your money without bargaining, smile at everyone, you’ll be surprised at how many smile back.