Red Sea Utopia

At sunset sitting at a cafe on the shores of the Red Sea, the water laps at the sea wall on which the cafe is built. We sit at long lounges of cushions and low tables, watching the sun set and the moon rises over the skyline of Saudi Arabia, across the narrow Gulf of Aqaba.

Camels mosy on by, driven by young boys and an old Beduin man who lovingly adjusts his animal's bridle. A young guy passes on a beautiful white horse, drumming up business for horseriding tomorrow morning. Restaurant touts arrange the fresh seafood catches on offer for tonight's dinner.

Dahab seems to cater for the diving backpacker, with the usual accoutrements for said clientele - tie-dyed floppy pants, leather wrist thongs, henna tattoos. Despite or perhaps due to that, we offically love Dahab. Maybe not so much when it's packed out, but in November, it's well into low season and the vibe is laid back and sunny. It's always sunny here.

The Old Sphinx Hotel (hello Mido and Ramy!) isn't called old for nothing; the bathrooms are tired and emotional, with little hot water and salt (yes, salt) water coming out of the taps. "It's like a Flower Power place of the 70s," said our new travel mate, Lars, a Swedish icon painter. "But with internet," I corrected. If the hotel was any more laid back, it'd be horizontal.

There's old hippies, young hippies, chic nouveaus hippies with their laptops and eco principles, skimpies and maxi in their full Egyptian covering, divers and dreamers. Ther's no rules but the rule is to chill. It's a world from Cairo.

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