04/09/2006 Issue 189 Past Issues

Red Sea Newsletter

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Feature Article... A 3D View of Hurghada on Google Earth

Hurghada Bird View

Google Earth - The new way of visiting foreign countries

On our way through the world wide web in order to catch up the newest information about the Red Sea area for our weekly newsletter we have found something amazing. We have discovered Google Earth! (As you know, innovations take some time to arrive to Egypt)

We have flown to Hurghada in just 15 seconds, going through the streets from Abu Ashara Supermarket to El-Arousa Square, saw the new marina and then going back to the new Steigenberger Hotel about which the rumours just started a few weeks ago. Not even the fastest mini bus driver can bring me that quick to the place I want to go.

We have zoomed in and out again and again, discovered our office, our flats and even it seemed that we have seen our cat and we can just say: Great things Google is bringing to us!

up: Hurghada in Google Earth

down: The new Steigenberger Hotel

Google itself is saying about it's new Google Earth program that "The idea is simple. It's a globe that sits inside your PC. You point and zoom to anyplace on the planet that you want to explore. Satellite images and local facts zoom into view. Tap into Google search to show local points of interest and facts. Zoom to a specific address to check out an apartment or hotel. View driving directions and even fly along your route. We invite you to try it now."

Discover Egypt with Google Earth by yourself:

  1. Download Google Earth
  2. Install it and be connected to the net
  3. Type in search Hurghada, Egypt
  4. Enjoy!
New Steigenberger Hotel Hurghada - Bird View



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Make Your Escape... Gilf Kebir and Gabal Elba


Gilf Kebir and Gabal Elba
Egypt’s far corners offer breathtaking and very different excursions for those looking for extreme adventure tourism

Gilf KebirGilf Kebir is remote. Big emphasis here on remote — it’s so off the beaten track that it’s practically off the map. In fact, it took state-of-the-art satellite imagery to discover the world’s largest crater there. Mind-boggling but true, especially if you consider that up until the turn of the last century, the vast desert expanse of the Libyan Desert (the area lies in the farthest corner of Egypt between the Sudanese and Libyan borders, but is considered part of the Libyan Desert) had never even been mapped.

Just last month, the whopping 31-kilometer-wide crater was found by Egypt’s own Farouk El-Baz along with researchers at Boston University and is thought to have been the result of a meteorite crashing into the Earth’s surface tens of millions of years ago. Previously, the biggest crater recorded globally had been a 12 -kilometer-wide site in Chad. El-Baz surmises that his find, which he has named Kebira, “May have escaped recognition because it is so large — equivalent to the total expanse of the Cairo urban region from its airport in the northeast to the Pyramids of Giza in the southwest.”

Gilf KebirThe last time Gilf Kebir made headlines was when it was chosen as a location for the smash hit The English Patient, which swept swooning cinemagoers off their collective feet with its breathtaking desert cinematography. Since then, hopeless romantics and intrepid travelers alike have set their sights on the lovers’ paradise.

Not that you’ll have that much privacy: A military escort (at a fee) must accompany travelers at all times, plus the terrain is so rugged you’ll need a convoy of at least three 4WDs to carry supplies and help out when the vehicles get mired in the dunes. Anything but romantic are the three days (at a minimum) of grueling off-road desert driving you’ll need to get there. You’ll also need copious supplies of fuel and provisions, not to mention grit and stamina. You’ll need some of that grit and stamina long before the trip even begins if you try to run the bureaucratic gauntlet to get your permits on your own. Your best bet is to go through an organizer. Your guide (who will wade through the red tape for you), will tell you what you need to stock up on for the ride. Even if you pick the routes with moderate terrain difficulty, the sheer weight you’ll be carrying can push your vehicle to the limit. Proper tools and adequate spares are essential for every vehicle.

On the long, long way to Gilf Kebir (1,300 kilometers off-road from Cairo), you’ll take in glorious desert vistas: soft patches of sand, rocky outcrops, dry rivulets and small sand spits, which become almost invisible in the overhead sun. Landmarks in the Gilf are, naturally, the crater on the edge of the Gilf, Count Almasy’s (now of Hollywood fame) 1942 car awash with sand, breathtaking dunes and mountains, and, of course, Wadi Sura, better known as the Swimmers’ Cave. The latter, with its figure-painted walls, is more of a cove than a cave, but it’s easily the most romantic spot in Egypt.

Clear across the country, in Egypt’s southeast corner is Gabal Elba, a protected mountainous desert area that is not gold but green. Most of us will never get to see a leopard or a globally threatened sea turtle in the wild, but if you suddenly discover the naturalist in you and don’t want to travel deep into the heart of Africa to track down large beasts and rare fauna, Gabal Elba is the place to go.

Named after the mountain whose 1,437-meter summit is known as a ‘mist oasis’ because of its curtain of clouds, the natural reserve and national parkhere make Gabal Elba the closest thing we have to a forest, with more than a quarter of Egypt’s fauna recorded here.

Gabal ElbaVirtually untouched by modernization and development, the 36,600 square kilometer protected area is remote with a capital R. The government, with the help of a number of international agencies, has worked hard to keep it that way, and it’s not easy to gain access to the protected area.

First off, it’s right at the edge of the Egyptian border with the Sudanese town of Shelatin, home to the Sudanese camel market, and is also the meeting point of tribes including the Bisharis, Ababdas and Beja. The latter, along with their ritual coffee gatherings where they exchange gossip and talk business, are known for their strong interest in medicinal herbs, which the locals swear can cure anything from the common cold to rheumatism and diabetes.

Don’t even attempt the hassles of trying to get permits and paperwork processed on your own: use a safari organizer instead.









Marsa Alam to Aswan in just one hour

Train EgyptThe Egyptian National Railway has initiated a large-scale partnership between the state and the private Al-Kharafi Group to extend the national rail network to Alexandria Port, in the north, and Marsa Alam, on the southern Red Sea coast.

The Al-Kharafi group, of Kuwait, has been investing solidly in the past years in Egypt. They are in fact the promoters and investors behind the Marsa Alam International Airport, and the beautiful resort development of Port Ghalib, on the Marsa Alam coast just in front of the airport.

According to Ibrahim Saleh, chairman and managing director of EMAK (Egypt M.A. Kharafi) International Academy, the Marsa Alam line will span 230 km in the eastern desert.

This express railway will make it very easy for tourists, with just an hour of train travel, to visit the monuments and enchanting city of Aswan from Marsa Alam, and viceversa, for those enjoying a Nile cruise, to spend a day by the crystal waters of the Red Sea.

CairoTourism arrivals rocket in Egypt

Egypt’s marketing efforts have driven tourism to the country this summer.
A combination of aggressive marketing and global politics has contributed to Egypt’s most successful summer of tourism yet, despite recent terrorist attacks that have rocked the country.

Egypt’s highly successful advertising campaign, Nawart Masr (You Light Up Egypt), last month’s Egypt Tourism and Shopping Festival 2006, and an influx of last-minute tourists who have opted for Egypt instead of war-torn Lebanon, have all contributed to Egypt’s tourism boom.

“Cairo remains the busiest route from Dubai by volume and we are seeing more short breaks, thanks to the increasing number of flights in and out of the UAE,” said Munir Sherwani, manager, Al Rais Holidays, Dubai.

“The Sharjah-Sharm El Sheikh flights on Air Arabia are going fully booked and interest in Alexandria is growing.”

According to figures published by the Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA) Information Centre, Egypt attracted 831,195 Middle East visitors in the first six months of 2006, compared to 721,854 during the same period in 2005, representing a 29.9% increase.

Of those visitors, 139,917 were from Saudi Arabia, 8000 more than the previous year.

KSA is Egypt’s biggest regional market, and the fourth biggest overall source market, after Germany, the UK and Italy.

Inbound tourists from the UAE increased by 18.3% during the six-month period, with 15,396 visitors arriving in June alone.
A further 8922 arrivals hailed from Qatar.

The Nawart Masr advertising campaign, which has targeted Arab visitors by highlighting the similarities between Egypt and its Arab neighbours in the Middle East and North Africa, has played a major role in driving recent tourism growth, according to H.E. Zoheir Garannah, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism.

“Egypt’s familiarity helps to make it especially hospitable for Arabs, many of whom seek the comfort of an Arabic-language setting,” he said.






www.elgouna.com El Gouna, The Red Sea's Premier Leisure Destination

What's On... The 30th Cairo International Film Festival


The 30th Cairo International Film FestivalThe 30th Cairo International Film Festival
November 28 - December 8 2006

This year, the Cairo Film Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever. With a whole new outlook, and look, busy preparations are under way for our 30th year of celebrating...

Cairo's screens once again welcome the Cairo International Film Festival, which has been going strong since its inception in 1976. Egypt has had a strong cinematic tradition since the early 1930s and has such a strong influence on the Arab world that Cairo is known as the "Hollywood of the Middle East".

The Cairo International Film Festival seeks first and foremost to promote cinema by acting as a focal point in the region for encouraging and refining artistic taste, advancing understanding through the language of art between all the peoples of the world.

Address of the Cairo International Film Festival
17, Kasr El Nil St, Cairo - Egypt
Tel. : ( 202) 3923962 - (202) 3923562
Fax : (202) 3938979
Website: www.cairofilmfest.org
E-Mail: info@cairofilmfest.org







Parents & Kids

The Bye-Bye Blues
If your baby starts screaming the minute you leave, check out our separation survival guide.

Screaming BabyBetween the ages of 6 and 9 months, a baby learns that he's a separate being from his parents, and he is capable of distinguishing them from other caregivers. His memory has improved too; he's able to recall images (whether it's a ball he likes playing with or Mommy's face) even when they're out of sight. These are exciting cognitive advances for him, but in the short term they may cause him to feel abandoned when you go away. "Separation anxiety is a sign that your baby misses you when you're not there, and that's good," says Kathleen McCartney, Ph.D., a professor at Harvard University's School of Education. What's even better is that it's merely a passing phase and usually begins to subside at about 15 months.

Almost all babies get anxious about separating at some point, though the intensity of your child's reaction depends on her temperament. Other factors play a role too: Infants who have been exposed early on to caregivers other than their parents tend to have an easier time dealing with departures in later months. However, if your baby is tired, hungry, or sick, she's likely to give you a very hard time if you leave. While your baby's cries may tempt you to cancel your plans, giving in will only make matters worse the next time you need to leave. Besides, she'll probably calm down shortly after you walk out the door. In the meantime, here's what you can do to comfort your child.

Get her used to the idea
Prepare your baby for your absence by having her cope with small separations first. Place her in a baby activity center for a few minutes, then head to another room. Talk to her so she knows you're still there even though she can't see you. If she fusses, don't go back for a few minutes. Your goal is to teach her to play by herself. Also try hiding one of her favorite toys under a blanket (and then revealing it). Or play peekaboo. These games help teach your baby the concept of object permanence and reinforce the idea that while you may go away for a while, you'll always return.

Start the sitter early
Have your babysitter arrive at least 30 minutes before you leave so that your child can get comfortable with her. "It's well worth the extra money," says Janet Nelson, Ph.D., a child psychologist in Montclair, New Jersey. If you're going back to work, have your caregiver begin a couple of weeks early. That way, you can leave your baby for short stretches and slowly build up for the big day. Make sure your sitter knows your child's favorite toys, snacks, and diversions, as well as the best soothing techniques. These will help ease your baby's anxiety.

Don't sneak out
Watching your baby cry is painful, but taking off when your child is asleep or in another room isn't the answer. "If your baby turns around and you're not there, he'll feel he can't trust you, which will only increase his anxiety," Dr. Nelson says. If you're desperate tosidestep a tearful farewell, a change of scenery may be helpful: Have your sitter and the baby leave the house with you, then say goodbye when you reach the corner.

Mother and ChildReassure her
Your baby will accept your departure more readily if you follow a consistent routine. You might give her a special snack, then look at a book together. When you're done, kiss her and go—lingering makes the separation harder on your baby. And since seeing you stressed out may upset her even more, always leave with a smile on your face.

Have a happy return
Reunion rituals not only strengthen the bond with your baby but also help relieve future separation anxiety. You might greet him with a hug and say, "Mommy's back, and I'm so excited to see you." But it's best to follow your child's lead. If he's playing on the floor, get down and join him. If he babbles, talk back. Doing these things will help your baby forget how sad he was when you went away—and focus on how happy he is that you're back.






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Mango lassi fool with cardamom

This creamy and refreshing scented dessert is based on lassi, a popular chilled yogurt drink in India. Serve ice-cold as the perfect end to a spicy meal.

  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 mangoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 284ml carton double cream
  • 500g pot natural yogurt
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • ½ x 100g pack dried mango, cut into strips
  1. Place 6 large serving glasses in the fridge to chill. Remove the cardamom seeds from the pods and crush lightly using a pestle and mortar, or the end of a rolling pin in a small bowl.

  2. Purée the fresh mango pieces in a food processor until smooth, then set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the double cream until softly whipped and starting to hold its shape. Stir in the yogurt and continue to whisk until slightly thickened.

  3. Using a metal spoon, fold the lime juice and zest, crushed cardamom seeds and honey into the yogurt and cream mixture. Gently stir in the mango pulp to form ripples.







The Final Word


by Thomas Bordiehn - www.bordiehn.com

Tischmanieren kennt man schon seit der Steinzeit so hatte der Jäger, also meistens der Mann, das Vorrecht auf das beste und größte Stück Fleisch, damit er stark bleibt für die nächste Jagd. Diese Sitte hat sich erstaunlicherweise bis heute in einigen Familien gehalten.

TischmanierenUrsprünglich wurde überall mit den Fingern gegessen, später wurden speziell im asiatischen Teil der Welt, Stäbchen verwendet. Erst im 16. Jahrhundert fing der Siegeszug der Gabel an. (Löffel und Messer wurden schon immer als Werkzeuge benutzt.) Generell wird im heutigen Ägypten mit Messer und Gabel gegessen. Wobei Brot ebenso wie bei uns in Europa mit den Händen dazu gegessen wird. Wir als Europäer werden selten zu einem Mahl eingeladen, bei dem auf dem Boden und mit den Händen gegessen wird. Auch bei uns wird der Blick in das Familieninnerste nicht preisgegeben wenn Gäste dabei sind. Kinder werden zur Ruhe ermahnt und der Großvater bleibt wegen permanenter Rülpsgefahr in seinem Zimmer. Dabei hatte die Sitte mit den Händen zu essen durchaus seine Berechtigung. Wir riechen beim Essen und wir schmecken das Essen. Mit den Händen kann man aber auch fühlen. Konsistenz. Temperatur und ob sich eventuell ein Käfer in den Reis verirrt hat.

Ein gravierender Unterschied zwischen unseren Kulturen ist aber der leere Teller. Bei uns bedeutet ein leerer Teller Zufriedenheit, es hat geschmeckt und am besten wird die Sauce noch mit einem Brot abgewischt. Also rundherum lecker. Dann gibt es auch noch schönes Wetter, sollte der Teller leer sein. Da frage ich mich doch wieso in Ägypten die Sonne an jedem Tag scheint, obwohl die Teller nicht leer gegessen werden.

Es ist nicht üblich alles aufzuessen was angeboten wird. Es müsste schon ein sehr großer Zufall sein, sollte Ihr Hunger an dem Punkt gestillt sein, an dem auch auf dem Teller nichts mehr ist. Es wird solange nachgereicht, bis Sie etwas auf dem Teller lassen. Das es schmeckt ist ja wohl selbstverständlich oder lassen Sie Sich zu einem stadtbekannt schlechtem Koch einladen? Gastfreundschaft hat in Ägypten einen sehr hohen Stellenwert. Dementsprechend ist die zugeteilte Fürsorge manchmal erdrückend aber nett gemeint. Wundern Sie sich nicht, wenn Ihnen in Restaurants die Teller unter der Nase weggezogen werden. Auch dies ist ein Zeichen der Fürsorge. Ägyptische Gäste erwarten von einem guten Service, die ungeteilte TischmanierenAufmerksamkeit und dazu gehört ein aufgeräumter Tischplatz.

Sie können bedenkenlos beide Hände zum Essen benutzen, die linke gilt in Ägypten nicht mehr als unrein, seit es die Anstandssitten vorschreiben sich vor und nach dem Essen beide Hände zu waschen.

Die Tischsitten sind auch für Europäer leicht verständlich. Aber Sie machen sich lächerlich, sollten Sie sich selbst zwingen, ein Gericht für gut zu befinden, das unserem Geschmacksempfinden völlig abgeht. Auch in Deutschland gibt es Speisen die eher eine Völkerkundliche Daseinsberechtigung haben als eine Geschmackliche. So gibt es auch hier Dinge die nach unserem Empfinden von der Special effects abteilung eines Gruselschockers erfunden wurden.

Nach dem Hauptgang wird auch hier Süßes gereicht, sehr süßes sogar. Der Zuckerverbrauch in Ägypten ist um einiges höher als in Deutschland. Süßes ist hier gleichzusetzen mit der Leichtigkeit des seins, mit Fröhlichkeit und Wohlbefinden. Bei Beerdigungen wird Kaffee und Tee immer ohne Zucker getrunken.

Kaffee und Tee gibt es zum Süßen oder danach. Auch Sie sind im Urlaub und sollten sich dieser Sitte anschließen und Ihren Urlaub entstressen.

Guten Appetit!

Do you also have funny stories to tell about Egypt? Do you want to share your view on Egyptian life with others?

Send us your own Final Word about Egypt, Egyptians and life in Egypt. If it is in English, German, Arabic, French or whatever, let us join your stories.

Please send your texts and/or pictures to news@spotredsea.com.

We are looking forward to reading from you soon.



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