Feeling the need to show some relevancy to the situation of cascading change occurring in Egypt at the moment, I thought that there would be nothing more appropriate than the desert oasis I stayed at in 2006, Ras el Satan on the coast of Sinai. I've been meaning to put up these photos for some time. All, it seems, was one of the most important events to happen in the middle east in the past 50 years to prompt me.
I stayed here for four days, and it was the most relaxing holiday I've ever had. Also, huts. Lots and lots of reed and palm tree huts. This place is firmly part of my imagined world of Ethnica: a magical place where yoga, tribal tattoos, drum circles, chai, pagan rituals, incense, thai pants and fire twirling are allowed to mingle in a hippy fantasy land. A place where Papyrus is free to be used as the typeface of choice without making you gag. Like Pandora, but without the hot blue chicks to distract you. And it's on earth. But I digress. Except for the Papyrus part. That will always make me gag.
From what I've read, this place has remained fairly unscathed from the revolution. It's too much of a tourist play thing for there to be any real dissent. I saw a short news story that people were still lazing around here as the first wave of protests were beginning. I'm also not too sure what the bedouins think of the protest; they're distrusted by the egyptians, the police and the military. There was something about a protest because an elder was killed during his prayers, but I haven't heard of anything else.
Quite some time ago I posted about the abandoned concrete structures, half built hotels waiting on more funding to complete construction. The bubble seems to have burst here as well. The whole bus ride down the coast was littered with half finished hotels. The odd terrorist attack always does a good job of scaring off tourists. Apart from the place where I was staying (the two above) the other resorts were completely empty. Holiday ghost towns waiting for the next season. Not sure what the bedouin workers did in the meantime, especially considering the horrendously small amount of money they were getting for working away from their family.
Despite the obvious aesthetic joy of sleeping in a reed hut with a coral reef at my footsteps, was the different archetypal hut types I encountered. The camera batteries had less than one bar by the time I got here (and I stupidly chose not to bring my charger) so I was only able to document a few different types. Even within this small sample, each hut exhibits a simple alteration of the hut form, each one appropriate for the different tourist types who come to this area.
I'm itching to go back there, make sure my batteries are charged and document the whole strip. The whole area is littered with different extrapolations on the theme, and are made more interesting by the lack of humans. They're much cheaper to construct than the concrete resorts that hope for the wealthier visitors, and so the investment would be much lower. In contrast to the half finished skeletons in other areas of the coast, the build time would be much faster, despite their being no promise of a return on investment. I'd also love the chance to document the other resorts left unfinished. Either way, another holiday would be nice.