Hello from Hurghada. Today is our last day here. Sarah and Annette finished their scuba certification and they are now official open water divers. I got to spend two days on the boat with them, which was very nice. The Red Sea is beautiful! The water is extremely turquoise and "delicious" is the best word I can find to describe it. The boat was a lot of fun. We got to eat lunch on it and the crew prepared really good Egyptian food for us. They were also a lot of fun. They live on the boat and while the girls were diving, I got to horse around with the crew and learn a few Arabic words. I was sad to say goodbye to them- they are quite a cast of characters. I think that I could live on a boat for a little while. Especially a dive boat. I started learning how to help the divers out of their gear and I was watching how to tie all the ropes and it doesn't seem like a bad life at all.
Yesterday I got to go snorkeling when we anchored near a coral reef shelf. The life underwater is amazing! When I first got underwater I didn't really understand what is so great about diving in the Red Sea but as soon as we got to the coral, I got it. We saw lion fish, parrot fish, cornet fish and brain coral, among other things. It made me realize how important coral reefs are and how fragile the sea and our little planet is.
Hurghada itself isn't all that interesting. It is a resort town (maybe I already mentioned this) and there are a lot of half-finished high rises, which is really depressing.
Last night we went on a wild goose chase all around town looking for the bus station so we could buy a ticket to Luxor for tomorrow. I found myself wishing yet again that I had a magical power that would allow me to speak every language in existence, as we got bad direction after bad direction on how to get to the bus station.
I have learned how to say "good morning", "hello", and the all-important "thank you". I use all three phrases in just about every encounter.
Oh yeah, I am in the process of changing my plane tickets so that I can fly to Turkey from somewhere that is not Israel. The final straw for me was an email from Joyful who has a friend who sent her some pictures of Gaza. I was really looking forward to visiting Israel, but it just doesn't seem to be in the cards for me on this trip. It's pretty heart-wrenching to talk about the violence there with Egyptians. Everyone is very concerned about the citizens who are dying there, and there is a lot of hope that Barack Obama can do something to change things in the middle east. It seems like a tall order for one man, but I am also interested to see how things will change once he takes office.
Well, I will write again from Luxor, which is a city on the Nile River and is supposed to be green and beautiful. I hope everything's great back home and look forward to getting emails from everyone about how they are doing.