the red sea

Written on Nov 24, first day in Jeddah.
6:49 am
It’s my day off, it’s not even 7 am and I’m showered, dressed, and ready for the day. I guess my sleeping schedule is still a little off. I am tired, I just couldn’t sleep past 6. I am hoping for a nap this afternoon.

5:38 pm
I just watched the sunset on the Red Sea. I took a couple of pictures, but I know they won’t do it justice.

It was a bit of a slow start this morning. The Saudis are a late-rising people. Things open late and stay open late. Tracy and I took a walk to the resort beach this morning at 7:30 and it was completely deserted. We had a breakfast of cold pancakes and eggs — all of the food was cold. Not intentionally as there were candles burning under the hot plates but there was one candle for each huge plate. Ah well, I was hungry and it filled me up.

We waited a long time for the dive shop to open. We were told “9 or 10” in typical Saudi style, but the guy didn’t show up until well after 10 and then he couldn’t find his key. I finally had all my snorkeling stuff ready at about 11:15. And then I started to lose my nerve. I was the only one of the group snorkeling and I havent done it for years.

There is a pool dug out of the coral that looked ideal for snorkeling, but the access to it is awkward. And there are signs everywhere warning people of the extremely venomous sea urchins, stone fish and scorpion fish. Couple that with my general fear of doing anything remotely exciting and I realized I wasn’t sure if I could do it.

There was a German guy sitting near me with snorkel gear so I asked him if he’d snorkeled here before. Turns out he’s a flight attendant with Lufthansa, he comes here all the time, and he was scared the first time he went in. He gave me a few pointers and then we went in together. And I was fine. I didn’t go too deep, but I saw some beautiful fish. Not the kind of volume we saw in Mexico, but amazing variety. I think I saw at least 15 different kinds. And I can’t put in words how beautiful some of them were.

I ventured deeper a couple of times, but then I’d turn around and there’d be 20 fish right on my tail and it freaked me out a bit. Not sure what I thought they’d do to me, but like I said, I wasn’t in my element. But I’m so happy I had the courage to do it.

The sun has now gone away and it’s getting dark sitting here by the Red Sea. Plus I’m hungry so I’ll sign off for a bit.