Monday, September 04, 2006

I Scuba'd

We went back to Taba, Egypt this past weekend for the long Labor Day weekend. In fact, we took Friday off and went with a friend from work for four days. It was fabulous!

The weekend was almost cancelled because of a rumor that the Israeli government had issued a warning for all Israelis to get out of the Sinai because of an impending terrorist attack. What we ultimately learned was that the Israeli government had said there was the possibility of suitcase bombers attacking VIPs in Sharm Al-Shaiq (which was not where we were headed) and of Israeli tourists being kidnapped at Red Sea resorts (we aren't Israelis, but note to self, don't speak Hebrew when on vacation at Red Sea resorts!). An Israeli NGO then reissued a warning from May for all Israelis to get out. So the warning was NOT a new warning from the government of Israel, but the rumor of the warning to get out of the Sinai spread like wildfire through the consulate. About half of the consulate was supposed to go down for the weekend, but almost all cancelled because of these rumors. We weighed the danger, took into consideration that the Embassy in Cairo did not think there was a new threat, and went anyway. And it was perfectly safe there (like I said before, they have a massive hill they have built around the hotel we stay in, so it would be hard to get to our hotel anyway), and fortunately for us but not for the resort, not crowded at all. And ironically, the only incident over the weekend happened when a gunman opened fire on some tourists in Amman, Jordan (nowhere near the Sinai or the Red Sea, and not aimed at Israelis). Like M says, living here is a crap shoot.

Anyway, on the way down to Taba, we stopped at the sign for "Lot's Wife," the 200 ft pillar at Mt. Sodom that is supposed to be the pillar of salt she turned into when she turned around an looked back at the destruction of Sodom an Gomorrah. Now if that is her, that was a BIG WOMAN!

At the resort, M and I snorkled some more, and this time we saw lion fish and an octopus! They are really cool creatures, and I watched for a while as a sea urchin battled the octopus for a crevice under a rock that both wanted. Ultimately they shared.

Yesterday I attempted unsuccessfully to kayak in a one-person sit-atop. Let's just say I don't have the center of gravity for it! Regular kayaks, yes. One-person sit-atops, apparently no. I did manage the two-person sit-atop with M. After a bit, I gave up and M and our friend took a paddle-boat out about half-way to Saudi Arabia while I went to do my discovery dive. Basically, a discovery dive is where you have a scuba instructor putting you into all the gear and taking you into relatively shallow water to see how you would like Scuba diving. It was amazing! The instructor said he "starves" for a student like me because I was comfortable, curious and unafraid. We even went deeper than we were supposed to (9m when we were supposed to only go to 6 or 7 meters) because I saw an eel I wanted to check out in a small crevice on the sea floor. Some friends were getting certified while I was down there, and one snapped a picture of me. I'll upload it as soon as she sends it to me. And I definitely plan to go back and get certified.

Me, M and Lot's wife at Mt. Sodom. Lot's wife is the narrowest pillar formation on top of the mountain, almost directly above my head.

Me on my discovery dive...really, it's me.

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