Two things I have noticed in Egypt – one is that almost every metal detector you walk through – at temples, train stations, hotel lobbies – is completely ignored when it beeps. They often have someone sitting at them, and you must walk through them, not around, but when they beep, no-one does anything. There is not often any way to pass your bags around them, usually there are no scanners. The first couple of times you go through, you stop and look around after the beep, expecting someone to do something – and you get knocked over by the person behind you charging through. After a while you just carry on through all the metal detectors, with all your bags, not even blinking when it beeps. You then act all shocked on the odd occasion they actually do something about it.
The second thing is that no-one answers their mobile when it rings – instead, they let it ring for about 30s, until the ring is starting to get really annoying, then casually reach down and pull out their phone. This seems to apply particularly on trains, buses and ferries. It’s not that they haven’t noticed it ringing, it’s more that people seem to want to let everyone know that they have a mobile, and that they are receiving a call. It gets very annoying after a while.
I’ve been thinking though that these may be related. As anyone who has been here knows, it is a very noisy place, with little concept of personal space. The beeping of car horns is endless – for people who haven’t experienced it, just think about every time you use anything like the indicator, or lights, or brakes, or wave, or pass someone – here you just use the horn instead. Lights may occasionally be used at night – not on all the time, of course, you just might flash them once if you see another car coming.
So the conclusion I’m reaching is that people get so used to the constant noise around them, that things like phones don’t make an impact until it’s been the same noise for a good 30s or so. Similarly with metal detectors, only beeping for a few seconds – no-one even registered it.
It is however a little quieter where I am tonight, in Dahab. Yes, that Dahab. Yes I am very close to where the bombs went off – i.e. just a little down the road. It’s been quite a change to come here, with far, far less hassle than the rest of Egypt. It’s like a different country almost. Very different in terms of what the tourists wear here too – a lot of bikinis.
I was laid up for a couple of days in Hurghada, due to a ferry cancellation. A pretty dull place, full of Russians, and I would have rather not stopped there. However, I’ve been sick since Tuesday, and a couple of days doing nothing was exactly what I needed. I’m still only just getting over it now – hopefully the Nifuroxazide will have fully kicked in tomorrow, and I’ll be fully right. Not being able to eat properly for days starts to take it out of you. If I’m not, I’ll have to hunt down a doctor somewhere.
The plan is to get a bus to Nuweiba tomorrow, followed by a ferry to Aqaba in Jordan. All going well, I will be in either Aqaba or maybe Wadi Musa tomorrow night. If I’m still sick, I’ll stop in Aqaba instead – better chance of doctors there.
Hope everyone out there is feeling a little better than I am.