click on pictures to make them bigger

The first thing I saw when we arrived in Sharm el Sheik (Red Sea, Egypt) was a Father Christmas on a Camel ! I have to admit, that even I have never seen that. Usually he is coming on a donkey, but on a Camel ?? I thought already about all the water buckets I would have to put in front of our chimney !

I have seen australian Christmas cards with him and kangaroo but never on a camel.

At the Hotel reception we were greated with this nice decoration and in the middle of the entrance hall stood this beautiful big Christmas tree.

Beneath were a lot of gift boxes which were empty (of course) much to the disappointment of the few children who were in the hotel ! There even were a Nativity scene and a ginger bread house (romantically in plastic of course) It was so big, that even an adult could stand up easily in there.

I appreciated very much these decorations because I thought they really did a big effort. You don't have to forget that we were in a muslim country where are only very few Christians.

To prepare everything as true and cosy as possible for the guests who mostly came here because they didn't want to celebrate Christmas alone, was really very nice. I imagined what I would do if I had to prepare an important muslim feast ? I have no idea.

The Egyptians are very friendly and funny people with a lot of humor and although they all speak arabic which is the official language they don't like to be considered as arabs. But as it is everywhere there are not only good christians and only bad arabs. Most of them hate terrorists too and extremists you find in every country.

Christmas eve we spent together with Gala and her daughter. They lived in Moskow and we had met them at the beach. We had a very nice and funny evening and I learned a lot about the ex Soviet Union and all these new countries.

Gala originally came from Kazakhstan which is a very, very cold country, in winter they have sometimes - 70°C , I tried to convert that into F but my converter refuses. It's part of central Eurasia and belonged to the Mongol Empire. Now I understood why they all had this asiatic look. Gala had married a Russian and moved to Moscow.

Of course Mr. Gattina had to belly danse and I was afraid of the next morning because I thought I had to pull and push him out of the bed and he would be crooked the whole day, but nothing happened and he was fresh like a rose.

Here we are with our favourite waiter who lipread all our wishes. He was a very nice guy, married to a german girl and he worked like crazy to pay his studies at University.

All waiters had to work 12 h a day non stop for one months and then they could take off one week to go home. Most of them came from Cairo because there are more than 20 million people living there and of course there is not enough work for all of them. The average salary was 350 € / month (a little more in $) and they all were very happy to have such a good income. Some of them nourished their whole family with that.

and here we are with Father Christmas and his associate who distributed our gift boxes, one orange and cookies. Which I must admit was initially our Christmas gifts.

(More about our holidays next)


Gattina said...

Sorry the text + pictures are upside down I have to get used to NEW (!!!) Blogger.

Meow said...

Looks like you had a wonderful holiday .... the pictures are fabulous. I'm just back from mine, too, and have posted some pics also.
Take care, have a great week ... Meow

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Looks like a fantastic trip. It's funny how they added snow to the ginerbread house even though it is so warm there. The Egyptians seems like a very nice people and it looks like a wonderful place to visit. Welcome back:)

amanda said...

Santa on a camel? That's too funny!!

Thanks for stopping by earlier!

Mrs Lifecruiser said...

Another most excellent travel review with your own personal tough that we've begin to love so much :-)

We get a lot of fact, but in an unique way from you.

I was thinking, you as a painter, did you found anything special interesting with your "painter eyes" when you was there?

Melli said...

Well! My converter says that -70 C. is -94 F. BRRRRRR! I have been in -20 F before and that is as COLD as I EVER want to experience, thank you!

I've never seen Santa on a camel either! (or with a Kangaroo!) We see him only with reindeer -- occassionally with a donkey. But sometimes he leaves the reindeer at home and flies his HELICOPTER to the mall! Once he showed up in an Army Jeep! You jussssssst never KNOW with that silly ol' man!

A verrrrrrrry good friend of mine -- and teacher at the school I work at, is from Egypt. SHE is SO cute and I LOVE her to death! And even though she has lived in this country for many MANY years she still has a very thick arabic accent. I LOVE it! But she is Greek Orthodox Catholic! And do you know... it NEVER occurred to me this whole time you were gone that you were in a MUSLIM country! All because Leila is GOC! It's funny how we associate things, huh? So... of course, NOW I am AMAZED - just as you - the trouble that the Egyptians went to to show the Christians a GOOD TIME! That was MOST hospitable of them!!! I will have to tell Leila about this -- I wonder if she will be surprised. She does visit there occassionally... her parents are still there.

I think you had a FABULOUS vacation Gattina! And I am really wondering WHY there is no Gattina or Mr. Gattino in the gingerbread house...

happy and blue 2 said...

It looks like a fun kind of place.
The waiter sure didn't make much money for so much work. Do they get tips..