Authentic Lebanese on King St, Newtown

We were in Sydney for a quick stop over on our way to visit family in Nambucca Heads near Coffs Harbour in NSW.  Zorba the Greek was on a quest for authentic Arabic food.

Our Egyptian-Australian host, Hubba, took us to Rowda Ya Habibi on King Street in Newtown.  She warned us that the restaurant was nothing flash, but that the food was good.  To us, that’s what mattered, good food.



We walked in, and like other reviews I’ve since seen, it does look a bit dodgy – like your standard take away kebab shop that you’d visit at 1am on a Saturday night on your way home from a big night out.  But walk through the take away section into the modest restaurant out the back and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised by great cheap food.   It is simply decorated, but that’s not what you come here for.

We were all craving mezze, so we ordered hummus, tabouli, babaganoush, falafel and stuffed vine leaves to get us started.

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The babaganoush was a stand out – smokey eggplant that had obviously been charred properly before being peeled and blended.

The hummus was smooth with a nice hint of garlic without being over powering.

The tabouli was just the way I like it, fresh and heavy on the parsley and light on the cracked wheat.  Tangy and tasty.

The falafel was beautiful – crunchy outer shell and soft nutty inner. They were served on a bed of tahini sauce and when mixed in a fresh slice of pitta bread with tabouli and hummus, they were beautiful. I felt like I was back in Egypt.

Vine leaves I could take or leave, they don’t float my boat and never have.









We also ordered a mixed meat platter, which was way too much food.  The meat was delicious. We each stuffed a piece of soft pitta bread with hummus, tabouli and meat.  Delicious.

The service was friendly, and reasonably efficient, although the owner serving us could have done with an extra waitress. The poor love was run off her feet.

Our resident expert Hubba said the food was authentic.  From what I had experienced travelling through the Middle East, I thought the food was authentic also.

It’s BYO also, another bonus.  Our bill for three people with left over food, came to $75.  Cheap as you like for delicious arabic cuisine as long as you are happy sitting in a plain non-descript restaurant.


Rowda Ya Habibi
101 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
Phone: (02) 95575368

Rowda Ya Habibi on Urbanspoon

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Get me out of Egypt..!

I was so happy that the day I was leaving Egypt was finally here, but I was not ready though for the mission to get to Barcelona.  We had to catch a stinking bus from Alexandria to Cairo, which took, four hours.  We are damn lucky we made it to the bus on time as the taxi to the bus station got stuck in ridiculous traffic and Hubs and I were both stressing that we would miss our bus to Cairo, and hence miss our flight out of Egypt.  Nooooooooooooooo  don’t let me get stuck in Egypt!! I had a good time in Egypt but I’d had enough of the stinky sweaty dirty place. I needed to get back to Europe!! 

Anyway, when our taxi dropped us to the bus station 7 minutes after the bus’s departure time, the bus was pulling out of the dirt carpark that was the bus station. That is, it was pulling out until I stood in front of it!  I was desperate and determined to get out of Egypt and desperate times call for desperate measures.  There was no way the bus driver was going to run down a western tourist – or was he?  I wasn’t convinced I’d be safe, but I wasn’t moving.  Luckily, the rude bastard of a driver let us on – and as it turned out he couldn’t leave anyway for some reason and we were stationary for another 15 minutes.  This is the only time I’ve been grateful for Egyptian time (i.e. not doing anything on time!)  Phew.  We were on the bus and on our way to getting out of Egypt.

After a four hour bus ride, we went to the wrong terminal at Cairo airport and ended up trudging to two other terminals with all our stuff until we found the right one.  Upon check in with Iberian Airlines, I was told that there was a problem with my reservation. In my head I was thinking: Like shit there is!  You had better let me on that plane buddy or else…!!  My problem was resolved, without me ever knowing what the problem was, and we were on our way to Barcelona, via Madrid.  We flew all night and got no sleep.  At Madrid airport we had to wait four long hours before our flight to Barcelona. The shops were all shut and there were no seats without arms to lay down on and sleep.  We were Knackered.  Really.  Someone smart had pushed two rows of seats close together facing each other, providing a narrow space to lay day without being obstructed by the seat arms.  So that’s what i did – lay down and tried to sleep. What was I thinking?!  It was 100 per cent impossible to sleep – so uncomfortable.  I was tired and grumpy, and thirsty but had no water and no where to buy it from because shops were closed and I didn’t have any Euro coins to use the vending machine.

Poor Zorba – I called him on his birthday to wish him a happy birthday and I must’ve sounded terrible.  Happy Birthday future husband!

Anyway, by 6.30am, most of the shops were starting to open giving us something to occupy ourselves with.  Then our flight from Madrid to Barcelona was delayed by an hour, groan.   After a horrendous 17 hours of travel, we made it. A direct flight, had there been one, would have taken five hours.   Anyway, we were in Barcelona – hurrah!  The first thing I noticed is that everyone was wearing nice clothes, not galabeas (dress things that men in Egypt wear), no women had their heads or faces covered, and everything was new and clean.  Aaaaahhhh, back in the first world.  It was also lovely to be in cooler weather and not sweat every minute of the day!

I just knew I was going to relish every moment of being back in Spain.


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Bye Bye Dahab, hello Alexandria!  This is the place where Hubs was born and where her family all live.  It is also the place where you can find the best seafood in Egypt, the best rice pudding in the world, and the best sheesha cafe in Egypt, according to Hubs.  I was looking forward to trying all those things.

Alexandria is in the north of the country and has beaches flanked by the Mediterranean Sea.  Don’t forget we are in a Muslim county, so the beaches are not like European or Australian beaches and not really the kind of places we would like to go.  There are some private beaches where you can wear swim suits and be normal, but that’s about the only places where you can go.

Settled by Alexander the Great (Greek), and the Romans, Alexandria has a lot of Greco-Roman influence, evidenced in the architecture. It was also predominately Christian. When Hubs’ mum, Madeline, grew up in Alexandria, she used to wear mini skirts and have her hair in the modern bee-hive style.  Not any more. The Arabs took over, the dress code dramatically changed and there are more Muslims here than Christians now.

Madeline’s flat is on the cornish (promenade), with views to the Mediterranean Sea.  Luckily she lives near an underpass so she doesn’t have to cross the 10-lane road!  Under her flat is a nice coffee shop where Hubs and I smoked sheesha and played dominoes.

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It was so lovely to be in a home again, rather than a hotel room.  On our first day, we washed all of our clothes in our backpacks – yay.  Madeline gave me some of her clothes to wear and we went to get a manicure and pedicure that cost A$6 each.  It was no where near as good as the manicure and pedicure I had in London, but for the price, ‘I no complaaaiin’.  In fact, the lady working on my hands drew blood in two places when cutting my cuticles.  Ooowwww! 

After getting our nails done, all three of us went to the hair salon to get our hair done.  I was so worried about letting an Egyptian loose on my precious locks.  I kept getting reassured by Madeline that he would do a good job – I wasn’t convinced so I kept a very close eye on everything he was doing.  We got to the salon for our appointment at 8pm, but there was a bride and the grooms’ family getting hair and make up done and we had to wait for them to finish.  At 10pm our hair started getting attention.  We left the salon at 1am.  Five hours in that little grubby salon – far too long.  But the result was worth it and it cost me A$40 for a base colour, highlights, cut and blow wave.  Salid the hair dresser blow dried my hair Farrah Fawcett style – hilarious!  The scary thing is that it kind of looked good!

After getting our hair done, Hubs and I were walking the dirty streets of Alexandria with great hair, wearing Madeline’s clothes.  We both had a good laugh at that!

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During our three days in Hubs’ home town, we had lunch with her gorgeous cousins Asraf and Mariam and their two boys David and Danny at Alexandria’s famous seafood restaurant Seagull.  This place is amazing.  It has animals there – like a fun park.  Camels, parrots, baby rabbits, pony rides for the kids.  There was also a little train, some swings and things for kids to climb on, ducks, flamingos, etc. It was pretty amazing!  The good thing is that the kids were occupied and had a great time playing while the adults could sit and enjoy a nice lunch.  The food was ok – the seafood soup was made with frozen seafood and not very good – disappointing.

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The other good thing about staying with a local is that they know where to get everything, and how to get anything home delivered.   We had “the world’s best rice pudding” home delivered at 11.30pm.  Hubs was oo-ing and aaah-ing as she ate her rice pudding, loving every minute of it.  It was nice – the sprinkled hazelnuts added a nice touch, but it had nothing on Gina’s rice pudding she used to make when I was a kid.  Sorry Hubs – it’s good, but not the world’s best.  The other thing we had home delivered was cooked fish.  Yep, you need to stay with a local.

Hubs, Mariam, the kids and I also took a trip to the beautiful jewellery museum that was once the palace where a princess once lived. The jewels of King Farouk, is wife, and other princes and princesses, were amazing.  So many diamonds!  A whole solid gold tea set, including tea strainer, a platinum and gold baby rattle, solid gold stationary sets, and even a solid gold ash tray!!  Just as impressive was the palace itself – amazing stained glass windows sporting Victorian era scenes, frescoes on the walls and ceilings and mosaic floors.  The bathroom was something else too.  It had a shower that was also a steam shower, a foot bath, a baby bath, a hand bath, and a full size bath.  It also had scenes of naked women bathing in a lake – all very tasteful, but hardly Arabic!   I found it hard to believe that the Arabs would leave scenes of such flesh on show, given their women cover up head to toe in public – and this palace was now a public building.  Well worth a visit.

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We also had lunch at Balbaa, the Hanna family’s favourite seafood restaurant.  You go there for amazing food, not for a dining experience.  There’s fresh fish, live prawns, crabs, pippies, etc on display, you choose what you want and they  bring it to you cooked – all at once!   There’s no such thing as waiting between courses – even waiting for one course to be finished before another one is brought out.  It was a little over whelming for me – there was food everywhere – so much of it, plates piled on top of other plates, arms reaching everywhere, plates being passed everywhere – it was full on!  The food was seriously good and FINALLY we had a fantastic delicious amazing seafood soup.  Hurrah!  I can see why the Hanna family loves this place.

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Hubs’ cousin Asraf is the family dominoes champion. He is the one who taught Hubs how to play and he has never ever lost a game.  Hubs, Asraf, Mariam and myself spent an evening in the downstairs cafe having sheesha and playing dominoes.  They are such a lovely couple and good company.   Playing dominoes with Asraf is nerve wrecking because he is so good.  But not good enough for the Bortoletto!  I WON!! I beat him by 3 points and Hubs and Mariam by more!  Hurrah! Hurrah!  Hurrah!!!  Asraf was a bit confused – how could he have lost?  He never loses! And a bit upset – probably upset with himself because I think he got a bit complacent and didn’t play his usual cunning strategies.  Who cares – I WON!! 

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Our time in Egypt was coming to an end, and I was glad.   I’d had enough of Egyptian food, dirty streets, getting ripped off, being in a Muslim country, having Hubs having to argue with everyone all the time (so we didn’t get ripped off) and the hot sweaty weather.  I was more than ready for a change and could not wait to be back in Europe. ESPANA!  Barcelona Spain was our next destination and we had a week there – yay!  Hubs’ lovely mum Madeline was coming with us to Barcelona.

Before I go, here are some Egyptian observations:

  • traffic lights have timers on them so you know how long you have left on a green light or a red light
  • the green man that tells you to cross the road is a green running cartoon in Cairo and Luxor – “hurry up run! you’ll get hit by a car!  run run run!” and it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages!
  • the Nile river is amazing – it is clean in Abu Simbel (and full of crocodiles on that side of the high dam) and filthy in Cairo
  • Cairo is a city better enjoyed at night when it looks beautiful
  • our cheapest meal was $A0.40 and most expensive was A$50.
  • only in Dahab and by the Red Sea can you wear whatever you want.  In other cities you really need to cover up
  • everyone stares at you in Egypt, no matter what you are wearing – which makes Hubs’ mum say ‘wear what ever you want!’
  • the tap water in Dahab is salty and disgusting
  • the historical sites are breathtaking and truly amazing – worth putting up with annoyances of the country
  • always book in some time to enjoy the Red Sea after tripping around the country – you need it to relax and unwind
  • the toilet paper in Dahab only lasts about 4 uses – so hide your rolls and get the hotel to give you new ones so you don’t run out in the middle of the night!
  • don’t trust anyone in Egypt
  • lanes marked on roads are in vain – drivers in Egypt make up their own lanes
  • taking a taxi in Cairo or Luxor is almost always a near death experience
  • no one wears seat belts, only the taxi drivers when going through a military check point
  • buy your own sheesha hose if you like to smoke sheesha – they are cheap and so much nicer than smoking through a plastic disposable hose
  • when in doubt what is safe to eat, turn to McDonalds – I ate maccas three times in three weeks, more times than I have eaten it in the last three years!!
  • stay in a five star hotel in Cairo – that city is crazy and you need a nice place to go home to
  • Friday in Egypt is like Sunday in Australia – no one works and many shops are shut.
  • Going to Egypt in August is hot, but it means that there are less tourists so no queuing up for anything which is great
  • don’t trust anyone in Egypt!!!!

Ma salema!  Good bye Egypt!

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Diving in Dahab

Waking up next to the Red Sea was lovely. Until Hubs woke up in a grump because I’d been snoring all night. Whoops!  I’m sick and obviously couldn’t help it.  Anyway, I felt bad that I’d kept her awake (I hate being kept awake by snoring), so I crept out of the room and let her sleep until checkout at 12pm.

We found another better hotel to stay in the for the next five days, the New Sphinx.  It had a pool with Red Sea views, and was closer to all the Dahab action, and cost us A$22 per night each.  Bargain.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon walking up and down the main drag checking out dive centres and tour operators.  The main drag is really lively – and a bit annoying. Every five metres you have a tout trying to sell you something, get you to come into their shop “I don’t know what you want but I have what you need”, get you to eat / drink at their restaurant, or take one of their tours.  It’s tiring always saying No. 

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We got jack of it after a couple of hours.  We hired push bikes for three hours, Hubs got a half decent looking mountain bike.  I rejected the first two bikes the kid tried to get me to hire and eventually agreed to an old cruddy looking ‘shopper’ style bike.  We hooned up and down the main drag and I booked myself into a refresher dive course with – mainly because they are owned and run by a Brit, all the instructors spoke perfect English, and their equipment looked in good condition.  Yay I was doing at least one dive in the Red Sea!  We also booked a boat trip to a marine national park called Ras Mohamed, near Sharm.  And we did manage to get a good deal on a mask and snorkel set, $A20 for a silicon set, suitable for diving too. 

We rode our bikes to the lagoona and had a swim – it was nice, but too many Egyptians there.   Hubs was so disappointed in Dahab. It used to be a smaller laid back town, with hardly any Egyptians holidaying there – not anymore. It was highly developed, busy, and far from being laid back.  Dodging touts and holidaying with heaps of Egyptians was not my idea of laid back, nor Hubs’.

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For dinner we decided on Ali Baba after meeting a Polish girl at the lagoona who had a holiday house in Dahab and has been there five times.  Ali Baba was really nice.  There was hand sanitiser on the table, loads of brightly coloured cushions and lanterns hanging from the wall, and smiley friendly service from a guy called Ahmed.   Dinner was ok – not mind blowing fantastic, but not rubbish either.  When asked how our dinner was, Hubs was honest and said her seafood soup was ok, difficult to eat because all the seafood in it was still peeled – prawns had their shell on, the crab was in it’s shell, and the pippies were mostly closed (shells not open).  Ahmed didn’t really like the criticism and begged us to come back another night so he could make it up to us.  We said we would. 

Up early, I rushed to the Sea Dancer dive centre which is about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. I was so late for my refresher dive course.   My dive instructor was Spanish Elvira, a lovely lady who was excited to be re introducing me to diving.  I had done my homework and we went through my questionnaire and I got most of the questions correct.  We then got kitted up and headed to lighthouse for my introductory dive.  It was great, really great. I remembered everything clearly and it all felt really comfortable.  We didn’t go too deep, just 16 metres.  But we saw so much!  I found Nemo!  We saw heaps of clown fish, yellow tail tangs, parrot fish, angel fish, royal angel fish, giant clams!  It was so excellent!  When we got back to the dive shop I immediately booked myself in to go for a dive in the afternoon.  Who wouldn’t at A$38 per dive including equipment hire?!

I walked back to our hotel and met Hubs for lunch.  We had a crappy lunch at our hotel and I rushed back to Sea Dancer for my afternoon dive.   The afternoon dive as being lead by Paul from Nottingham.  My ears had not popped since my morning dive and I a little concerned about diving again so soon.   Paul arranged for dive master Danny (another Brit) to also come on the dive so if i had any problems or wanted to surface, he could take me back.  The two other novice divers were a young couple – she from Poland and he from Germany, although now they lived in the south of France. 

Our dive was to be in Eel Garden.  Again we got to 16 metres deep and saw, funnily enough, heaps of thin eels sticking their heads up out of the sand.  They looked like reeds at first.  We also saw heaps of tropical fish and it was really cool.  The other two novice divers were a bit annoying – they didn’t keep up with the dive instructor despite being told to do so in the briefing.  Still, I had a great dive.  One thing I’d noticed is that the coral isn’t very colourful – it’s mostly grey with only the odd coral being coloured.  I think the reef is almost dead.  It is a bit sad.

Steve at Sea Dancer, the owner, was trying to talk me into going diving with them tomorrow to the Blue Hole, a famous dive spot in Dahab.  I said I had to check in with Hubs first as I wasn’t sure if she has made any plans for us.  When I got back to our hotel the New Sphinx, Hubs wasn’t there.  So i just hung out by the pool and she turned up about 45 minutes later.  Hubs had hired a scooter for three hours and was on an adrenalin rush when she back – she had a ball hooning around!  We decided that she would hire a scooter the next day and come and meet me at the Blue Hole for lunch (between dives) and do some snorkelling.  A good plan!

After a rest, I was knackered, we headed to Ali Baba again for dinner, to give Ahmed another chance to impress us with a good meal.  It didn’t really happen – the seafood soup contained peel prawns, fish, and calamari, but nothing else.  And we ordered two, yet only one came.  After some confusion we cancelled the other one and shared the one serve we had.  Then the second bowl came out – oh, it was all too hard.  Our fish we ordered, grilled, was a bit over cooked and dry, and the seasoning was not what it said on the menu…not so nice.  Oh well, we tried.  We got a free fruit platter which was the best part of the meal!

After dinner I sat by our hotel pool and had a sheesha – it was so nice lying on the pool lounges, looking at the stars, no one else around.  Aaahhh..

The diving the next day was good too – and I am happy to be alive to tell the tale! Our first dive, again with the young annoying couple and dive instructor Paul, was at the canyon.  We dived down a cliff face so to speak, and reached a depth of 30 metres. There were tons of fish, but again the coral was mostly grey.  Then we saw a big red octopus – two of them.  One swam from rock to rock and literally changed colour while swimming, landed on a rock, and changed colour all over to be the same colour as the rock, camouflaging itself.  It was something like a Hollywood movie special effect! I was totally blown away!

The second dive was at the blue hole.  We had to descend in a narrow hole surrounded by rock and coral.  That was pretty cool – but hard not to touch the coral.  Not that it really mattered I suppose – the coral was mostly grey.   Again, the fish were lovely – but not quite as nice as I had expected – everyone raved about the blue hole, so I was expecting to see more colour and more fish than the other dives.  We got to a depth of 30 metres again.   At about 26m under, I felt something around my hips – my weight belt had become loose and was just about to slip off.  Holy CRAP!  I grabbed it just in time and in my head I kept saying – I have to hang onto this – I must not let go of my weight belt.  The consequences of losing my weight belt could be catastrophic!! 

Dive Instructor Paul saw me with my weight belt and immediately swam to me to hold me steady while I put my weight belt back on.   Phew…. it was on and secure. I was ok.

After that incident I stuck so close to dive instructor Paul that he almost kicked me in the face a few times!  I tried hard to remain calm under water – but obviously I didn’t because I had chewed through my air.  At about 5m under, after doing our 3 minute safety stop, Paul pointed the way out for me and instructed me to go.  The young annoying couple and he stayed down for another 9 minutes. 

Hubs was snorkelling above us and when we weren’t too deep, she and I would wave to each other – pretty cool.  She had fun chasing and catching all my air bubbles!

That was a close call for me today –  it could have been a lot worse!  I still have no idea how the belt became loose…we did our buddy checks and it was on tight.  Oh well, I’m alive and happy to have a story to tell!  I also got another injury during that dive.   Hubs was trying to take a photo of me struggling to put my wet suit on – not a flattering photo at all – so I was telling her off, and as I was telling her off, I got my skin caught in the zipper of the wetsuit and I couldn’t move the zipper up or down – OOOUUUUUUCCCCHHHHH!!!  Far out that hurt!  Paul came to the rescue and just yanked the zipper down.  I was left with a lovely blood blister war wound to show.

We had had such a big day that for dinner we just had lentil soup at our hotel restaurant, smoked a sheesha, and went to bed.

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Four dives in the Red Sea was all I had time to do between flights and the boat trip to Ras Mohamed we had already booked.  We were picked up early – 7.45am, driven to Sharm (2 hours) and then waited about 1.5 hours before boating our boat, Tuna 2.  The harbour before boarding was so busy and we were treated like sheep – shuffled to one waiting area, then another, and another before finally boarding.  It was crap to say the least.  The boat wasn’t that busy, but lucky me happened to get a stinky Turk who sat behind me and his stench had Hubs and I gagging for the first hour of the trip.  HURRY UP and let’s snorkel – so this guy could at least get a wash!! 

Snorkelling was fun.  The idiot cruise leader, Sambl, taught me how to free dive – and I had a ball doing it!  Holding my breath and swimming vertically down, I reckon I got to about 7m deep.  It was great fun!  Hubs and I just swam away from the group despite Sambl’s attempt to keep everyone together – like sheep.  No chance. I told him we were Australian and had been snorkelling and swimming all our lives and we didn’t need to be taught how to swim or snorkel, not like the stinky Turks on the boat!

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We went to three different snorkelling spots at the Ras Mohamed national park.  We saw heaps of lovely fish, and the odd colourful coral.  Again, a lot of the coral was grey-ish.  

On the boat we met Ecuardorian Coco – he offered to show us around Quito when we get there in a few weeks – I think it was Hubs’ generosity feeding him cigarettes that did it!!  He speaks perfect English and would make a good guide if we end up meeting up with him.  We also found out from him that he paid about A$50 less than we did for the boat trip – making Hubs livid.  She hates to be ripped off – but more importantly, hates to be ripped off by Egyptians – and Christian Egyptians at that!! (like her).

After a big day snorkelling and swimming, we were starving and had dinner at Meya for Meya in Dahab – we promised Smiley we’d eat there one night and had to keep our promise.  Dinner was on cushions on the ground and it was tasty. I had bbq’d lamb – yum!  Hubs and I smoked a sheesha while I whipped her butt three times playing backgammon (tola).  Champion!

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Our last day in Dahab I spent relaxing.  I was knackered and just fancied a day by the pool.  Hubs went out for a couple of hours on a quad bike, but didn’t rave about the experience.

Next stop Alexandria!


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The mission, to get to Dahab

We had a mammoth day of travel to get to Dahab.  We left our hotel in Aswan at 2pm and took a ferry, then a taxi to the train station.  We caught a 3pm train, first class, to Luxor, and that took three hours. It was the shittiest first class train I have ever been on.  We pay first class prices to be away from all the scum bags.  But the scum bags are all mates with the scuzzy train inspector, so they all get to sit in the empty seats.  Some of them smell like they have smoked 6000 cigarettes in the last hour and not washed their bodies or clothes for 4 years. Yeah, some of them stink.   And all of them stare.  The scum bag in front of us was not sitting in his seat, rather squatting on it, facing me and staring straight at my chest. I was trying to sleep so didn’t notice.  After a few minutes Hubs told him firmly but politely to sit down properly and turn around.  Icky.  To make things worse, I was getting sick. My throat was red raw, it hurt to swallow, and I was feeling as if I was downhill quickly.

Once at Luxor, we caught taxi from the train station to the lovely posh Winter Palace Hotel to kill some time.  This is one of the most expensive hotels in Egypt at something ridiculous like US$1200 per night.  Tony Blair, Princess Di and Dodi and Nicolas Cage are the type of people who have stayed there.  The door man took our rough looking back packs and we headed through the lobby, into the gardens and to the poolside restaurants.  Aaahhh, civilization at last.  We were the first people at the restaurant for dinner.  We both had lentil soup and a fish tagine that I couldn’t eat, my throat was too sore.  Boo hoo. 

Onto the airport we went and caught a flight from Luxor to Sharm el Sheikh – one hour and 15 minutes. We arrived at Sharm at 12.30am. Hubs then fought with a few taxi drivers to get one to drive us 1.5 hours to Dahab.  We got a good driver who charged us $A50.  It was more than the trip was worth, but at that hour of the night, I didn’t care.  I just wanted to get to a hotel and get to bed, I was feeling shattered.

We got to Dahab and went to a hotel that Hubs has stayed in before.  The staff had all changed in the two years since Hubs’ been there and the greedy ‘gypo on reception wanted way too much for a room for a night.  Well, it wasn’t even actually a night, more like 10 hours since it was already 2am.  Our ace taxi driver was still in town when he saw us trudging up the street with all our luggage.  He had to buy takeaway dinner and cigarette for the police guards at the security check point or he would have run into problems.  Corruption exists at every level in this country, which is why Egypt will always be part of the third world..  A shame.  

Our driver said he would take us to other hotels to help us find a room.  We tried two hotels, no go.  Finally we found a hotel for about $A40 per night. It was basic and pretty ordinary, but I didn’t care. I just needed a bed. 

I was hoping my antibiotics I’d brought with me from Australia were going to work and make me feel better by the morning.  Night!

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