It was dark when I arrived at the Coral Coast Hotel in sleepy Dahab on Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. A quiet, too chilly night in February. I sat down at the free space on the communal wooden table and the crazy eyed woman to my right said ‘who the f… are you?’, I thought I was in the wrong place. I wasnt. This was the get to know each other first night dinner before a week of yoga. The woman preceded to insult most people at the table including myself and several amongst the group of divers at a neighboring table. She made lewd suggestions to one of the few males in the group (who happened to be with his girlfriend) before deciding I was her new best friend and repeatedly asking to share my room instead of with the allocated Scottish woman to whom she had taken an instant dislike. I had paid a single supplement (and if ever the value of this was apparent it was then).
Much local wine was drunk and I slept like a log. I drew my curtains in the morning to reveal the brilliant desert sun and the sparkling Gulf of Aqaba stretching to the shores of Saudi Arabia. A young man rode a majestic prancing grey along the path between the pool and the open sided tented cafe on the beach. Here I would later sample many delicious freshly cooked dishes washed down with local red and accompanied by the sound of the sea. All was tranquil and calm. The room was simple and beautiful, a big dark wooden head board, lanterns and a balcony to enjoy the magnificent view and refreshingly no TV. Over the delicious breakfast of hummus and salad, foul, falafel and mashed potatoes there were whisperings of Jennifer, the crazy eyed phantom of the night before. Her room mate had resorted to staying in the yoga teacher’s room and there had been thwarted physical attacks on the hotel staff. A doctor had been called and Jennifer had been excluded from the group.
An hour’s drive from Sharm El Sheikh airport, Dahab is for the most part a laid back hippyish town, with the Coral Coast at a quiet end of the meandering coastal path that’s flanked by inexpensive cafes offering free wifi. A perfect place for recuperation, meditation, snorkeling on the beautful reef or just gazing out to sea.