|Dahab, Red Sea Egypt
To see pictures of our first visit to Dahab, Click here
BOMBINGS IN DAHAB, EGYPT
APRIL 24, 2006
This was our 3rd visit to Dahab. To me, it is still one of the best places in Egypt (although, I always find more and more tourists every time I go back).
On April 24 th 2006, we were about to eat dinner, when I heard three violent blasts. I thought they were fireworks as April 24 th was also a National Holiday in Egypt (Sham El Nassim: a celebration of spring).
Later in the evening -just before going to sleep- I turned on the TV to watch the evening news and this is when I learned that 3 bombs have exploded few hours earlier (at 7:10pm to be precise) killing 26 people and injuring hundreds.
I immediately thought about our parents & friends back home who knew we where in Dahab. I tried to leave the hotel to get a phone card, but the security at the hotel was strict: no one was allowed to leave the premises. “If you leave, you can’t come back” they told me. I left some money with a police officer who promised me he could get a phone card for me.
I went back to my room and watch the news. I was stunned to see how wrong news reporters from BBC, CNN, and other news channel could be. First, BBC was showing footage of the Israeli border and Israeli leaving Egypt (everything looked normal). This had nothing to do with the three bombs that exploded 220km south: they simply had to show something.
Then at CNN, they immediately related the bombings to Al Qaeida and analysts said it was probably because of the video of Osama Bin Laden that was broadcast the day before…
I watch the news late that evening and finally went to bed. The phone rang at 1am: the police officer never found a phone card. All shops were closed.
The next morning, I immediately went on the boardwalk to see the disaster. At first, police officers from the hotel didn’t want me to go arguing in a broken English that my car could be carrying a bomb back to the hotel: they were simply panicking (Egyptians are not proactive, but always react strongly after incidents of any sort).
Anyway, they finally let me out, so I could drive in down to see what was going on.
In town, I was not allowed to park my car anywhere, because again, everyone was scarred that my car would be carrying the biggest nuclear bomb on Earth.
I parked some distance from the city center and walked my way down. TV reporters & curious tourists were everywhere. I clearly saw all bombed shops; you could simply walked into them! Dried blood pools were everywhere confirming how painful & disastrous the bombings were. Dozens of shops had shattered windows, another sign to show how powerful these devices were.
When I came back to the hotel, I had to go through the most complete body check ever. I had to open my camera, empty my pockets and show all my ID’s. I was upset, because I knew that they were looking at the wrong place. What were they hoping? Discover that a Canadian or German tourist is behind that horrible act? That a Russian tourist brought a bomb by plane from Moscow to destroy Egyptian’s tourism? Give me a break!
We left Dahab at 10:30am on April 25 th and were stuck over 2 hours at the exit of the town. Everybody had to register and show ID.
By 1pm, we finally left Dahab and drove North along the Sinai coast to Taba (close to the Israeli border) to finally come back to Cairo. On some of the check points, we were searched and had to show our passports. The drive back to Cairo really frustrated me as most security points were searching foreigners, but were kindly letting pass Bedouins (local people from the desert) through. It was discrimination at its best!
Anyway, Dahab was still very pleasant and it is a place like no where else on Earth. The water is clear, the corals amazing and the people friendly. Come and visit Egypt!