10th cruise day: First time in Egypt [YQrtw Day 21 Apr 28]

Naama Bay

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 10]
Location: Sharma El Sheik; Na’ama Bay, Egypt

After a day of R&R on the ship, I was ready to conquer Egypt, or at least the tourist town of Na’ama Bay.

Naama Bay
Naama Bay

I booked a shuttle transfer from the ship to Naama Bay since I desperately needed to buy a 3G SIM and a razor.

Na’ama Bay is a tourist town, meaning the streets were lined with shops that have English signs. It also meant that stall owners prey on the tourists.

While walking around in the hot sun, I was called out by stall owners. I usually use my umbrella to shield myself physically and visually from them.

One man shouted at me after I shook my head when he invited me to see his wares. I made a loud noise as well. I’m not sure if that managed to scare him off or not.

Another tout shouted at me when he saw me approaching the square. I stopped in my tracks and turned around. He stopped as well. I had to return to the square because it led me to Carrefour, the tout walked to me, saying something loudly. I shielded my eyes with my umbrella and went on to Carrefour.

At Carrefour, I was very happy. I got the thing I need and other groceries. I found mini face loofahs and a natural hair remover. I also bought a box of hibiscus tea.

Groceries from Egyptian supermarket
Groceries from Egyptian supermarket

[I am not kidding about the women’s razor. It’s unique selling point is that it’s small enough for women’s hands. Whaaat.]

3G data shopping

After the satisfying grocery trip, I stumbled upon a Vodafone shop and bought my data SIM. I tell you, buying that SIM is the best thing that has happened to me that day.

The shop assistant, Mohammad, said there was a cheap 3G package. For 60 Egyptian pound, I could get 4GB of Internet. I almost foamed at my mouth when I heard that. That is about S$10 for 4GB! (I later found out that it’s actually 4.5GB. Hurray!)

I happily Whatsapp and called my mom with my SIM. While I was happy with my data plan, one of the text messages from the mobile operator mentioned 500MB. I got paranoid and thought the sales person might have accidentally signed me up for a wrong package. I had to go back and ask again. (In the end, I found out online that the package was correct.)

With my groceries and 3G SIM card, I hopped on the shuttle bus back to the ship. The rest of the day was tame, compared to my 3G SIM card. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get signal out in the sea.

At dinner, I was reminded that we will reach the Suez Canal at 2:00am. I retired early, setting my alarm to 2:05am, so I can catch our entry into the canal.

9th cruise day: Birthday onboard [YQrtw Day 20 Apr 27]

Birthday on a ship

Location: Legend of the Seas [Day 9]
Location: Safaga, Egypt [Didn’t visit]

Today was my birthday. Happy birthday to myself! (I’m 27–if you are curious–which is my lucky number.)

Birthday on the ship
Birthday on the ship

After a tiring day at Jordan, I decided that I would stay on board for the day and skip the Valley of the Kings. (Yes, I can hear you gasp.)

OK OK… I decided to skip the day on shore because I want to save money. Besides, being on board is less boring than you think.

The day passed with a lot of reading and sitting in social sessions. I like the reading part but forced myself to do more social things.

In the evening, there was a theater screening of Les Miserables which made the day even better than it was.

Les Mis blurred looks very much like a zombie flick.
Les Mis blurred looks very much like a zombie flick.

At night, I gave rock climbing another try. The first time I tried rock climbing, I gave up halfway. This time, I was sent to the beginner’s lane.

About 2 squares before the bell, I wanted to give up but a lady I met cheered me on. I didn’t want to embarrass myself any more so I pulled up the few rungs and rang the bell with much gusto.

Before we leave, here is a badly stitched up photo of Safaga port.

Safaga, Egypt
Safaga, Egypt

8th cruise day: Jordan’s Rose City and Wadi Rum desert [YQrtw Day 19 Apr 26]

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 8]
Location: Aqaba; Petra; Wadi Rum, Jordan

After 7 days at sea, we finally had a port call. Today, it was Aqaba, Jordan. Persuaded by two other ladies, I signed up with a private tour to Petra the Rose City and Wadi Rum the desert.

Surprisingly, the tour bus was waiting for us at the port even before we were allowed to go out.

Our tour guide was a woman–one of the 66 lady tour guides among the 1,000 or so tour guides in Jordan. She kept us entertained on the bus and was a stark difference compared with the Hoi An tour guide who was just talking nonsense most of the time.

Our first stop was Petra the rose city. The journey from the port to Petra was about an hour.

Since Petra was at a higher altitude, the weather was cool. By cool I mean air conditioning cool. Of course, the sun was so piercingly strong and the walk to the sights so challenging that everyone was hot by half way of the tour.

Petra's famous Treasury.
Petra’s famous Treasury.

There was a lot of walking on stoney paths in Petra. The most famous sight is the Treasury which was also where they filmed one of the Indiana Jones movie, or so I heard.

The Treasure and other sites were nice but I kind of like the houses facing the valley more than the historical sights. The houses were the color of sand and like boxes with square holes of windows.

After lunch, we took a long bus ride to the desert. The Jordanian desert is not full of sand like the picture books I read when I was a kid. Instead, there were rock mountains jutting out here and there.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom at Wadi Rum
Seven Pillars of Wisdom at Wadi Rum

Lawrence of Arabia was stationed at Wadi Rum for a period of time. Sadly, I didn’t do any reading on him so the excitement of being where he was didn’t mattered to me.

We had a 2 hour ride on the back of a pickup to admire the scenery, be baked by the sun and to see some of the souvenir places along the way.

At one of the stops, I tried running up one of the sand dunes but the sand grabbed onto my ankles with each step I take. I was breathless around one-third of the dune’s height.

After the desert jeep ride, we raced back to the port and was back an hour before we were required.

That night, I rested very well.