Up about 9:00 after a good night's sleep and have a light breakfast, then meet with Melissa and Jordan at the front desk. We were supposed to be picked up at 10:30 but by 10:45 no ride. I asked at the front desk and the clerk said they were always late. Sure enough, at 10:50 the van arrived.
To the dock and looked at a really horrid “sea life” display – sharks with half eaten fish all drenched in bright red paint. Other displays very heavily shellacked and most partly broken. Not the best of starts.
Our shuttle boat to “magic Island” arrived and we headed out – it was an anchored barge with two submarines tied to it. We were on the yellow submarine. We loaded in and saw some fish near the other sub, ten dove to 25 meters. A diver was feeding the fish on out side so schools followed him around. On our return we sailed by a coral reef with several ship wrecks (maybe) but a wide variety of fish and coral, all quite beautiful, but hare to photograph. Melissa got claustrophobic and had to sit with the captain as there was a wider view.
We got back to the “island” then the hotel. We had time for a quick lunch (and I got a lap full of coke!) then met the next transport to the desert. We started off buying Bedouin scarves and learning how to putt hem on to avoid the dust, then we were off on quad bikes across the desert. Alice couldn't drive by herself, but she did drive the bike most of the way – quite good too! I had to take control a couple times as her scarf fell off.
Back at the base we dropped off the bikes and took a jeep into the desert. We stopped near a ridge and climbed to the top on volcanic rock that was quite slippery – then ran down the sand dunes on the other side to the jeep. Continuing on we arrived at the Bedouin village and had some water as the guide explained that the Bedouin people made their living by being a tourist attraction! When I asked what they did before the guide said they sold things to ships passing by and stopping in the harbor. It was only after many more questions did he say they made a living by selling camels to people in the cities.
Traveled on a bit more and had a quick camel ride, and the by now familiar rubbing of thumb on first two fore fingers was evident everywhere – camel driver, cute kids to take pictures of, women in burkas, and pretty much everybody. Were shown how they make bread – on a barrel top using dried camel dung as fuel. Stopped at the tourist “store” and got bought some gazelle horns and a coke. Passed up several herbal remedies for everything from rheumatism to bad breath.
Then back to the village for a small dinner and smoking a shisha – a little tobacco, wood, molasses, and fruit, in a water pipe. Alice tried some and coughed quite a bit. We hung around until the sunset, then looked at some stars and the moon through a computer controlled telescope, then back through the desert to the city by about 10:00.
Quite a busy day and many interesting sights and sounds. Now to bed as a very early day tomorrow. Except a foam party on the beach kept us up until after 1:00...