Red Sea - day 17 Egypt - Port Ghalib
St Barbara's Web Diary
Peter & Sue Goldsmith
Sat 5 Apr 2008 07:08
12.00 5th April
We entered Port Ghalib marina at 16.30 on 3rd April with much relief and
satisfaction. Albert II arrived half an hour later and we caught up with
others news while the paper chase began. By the time that was complete it
was too late to move from the reception berth to the marina proper and so it
was off to find out what was on offer. A new world opened up. Costa Coffee,
TGI Fridays and other delights awaited but we settled for the Egyptian
version of the mezze and it was delicious. They even had beer and wine. we
all slept well.
Yesterday morning the wind was blowing again as we moved carefully to our
alongside berth. Not so easy but successful. At last we had water to fill
our tanks and wash at least some of the salt away. First however was
Peter has rushed on ahead with the account of our arrival but first an
apology is needed. Such was our excitement at arriving in 'Disney on sea'
that we completely forgot our followers around the world. Whilst we were
running around like delighted little sand-boys, the blog went wanting.
Humble apologies and today a double dose.
Catching up then: After seven days at sea the last few miles and hours were
calm and gentle, with the wind just off being altogether favourable. Entry
to the port was easy but just as the sun was closing on the horizon, so very
bright and in our eyes. This place is a creation on a marsa (similar to a
creek on the coastline) and is what can be achieved if you have a vision of
the future and billions of pounds - or maybe just billions of pounds! One
local man said it was funded with Kuwaiti investment and as a result was
somewhat resented by proud Egyptians who seemed to regard it was an
imposition on their country.
The quay side around the village is attractive with moorings for very large
motor yachts and dive boats alongside a promenade with cafes, restaurants,
shops etc - or at least it will be. Sailing yachts are directed to a smaller
village across a lagoon and canals which has a number of concrete Rialto
style bridges linking islands and footpaths. We were very pleased to be
here, wandered briefly and had dinner in a very pleasant restaurant before a
good night's sleep. Breakfast was in a hotel in the yacht village and
although euro-priced, we ate with pride and got pretty good value for money.
Finishing a breakfast of fruit salad, cereals, a fry up, toast and added
extras, with pastries and stollens is always one of those things you regret
soon afterwards, but had to be done.
Friday morning began with some tidying up and taking on water. We wandered
the yacht village and Peter was summonsed to the harbour office for more
admin. Sam and I, together with Bear from Albert II explored further afield.
The main village is about one kilometre away on foot across bridges,
foot-paths, some desert and a lot of building site. As you do this you get a
sense of the scale of the project; lagoons are being dredged, a road network
laid out, apartment blocks and hotels built, once complete this will be a
resort for many thousands of guests. The beginnings are here along with
countless service staff all in uniforms suited to their role. There are more
patrolling security staff than 'guests' most of the time. Cleaners,
engineers, porters etc.etc. The only thing missing in one sense is at any
one moment the streets and lanes need 1000 visitors to play their part. We
went into a very swanky hotel. The first hurdle is a vehicle check point
with rising barriers and cats-claws in the road to stop dead anything that
was not welcome. A very grand sweeping drive and lawns lead to an enormous
entrance where access is through a search cone with airport style equipment
for people and baggage. This is a venue for conferences like the UN or OPEC
with security planned and built in.
This resort could be anywhere on earth, the only thing Egyptian is the
content of the gift shops. Shops for anything other than gifts are few and
far between. We walked a long way out of the oasis to a shop which seemed to
service the staff and construction workers and had lunch in a very local
cafe - which was great, but a good source of ship's supplies will be hard to
Back in Port Radar, where your every consumer need is constantly monitored
the Orwellian comfort team, we prepared ourselves for a fast boat crossing
to the very doorsteps of TGI Friday and the finest world food!
Its great to be here, amazing to see and, in particular, compare with our
last port Suakin in the Sudan, but this place is a mirage in the desert.