Land of Camels & Bedouins

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The Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation sent me to attend my first ISO Standards meeting in 2008, in Vienna, Austria, a city listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The second meeting in 2009 was then jointly sent & funded by the Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia in Orlando, Florida, to bid on the hosting of the next meeting in Malaysia. This is my third year being sent as I attended the meeting hosted by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism & Chamber of Diving & Water Sports (CDWS) in Sharm El Sheikh, the dive tourism capital of the world.

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I won’t elaborate on what I’d learnt as that would be stated in an official report to the Ministry but the following was what I got to experience. Despite the 5 shark attack incidents that maimed 4 people & killed 1, the divers were not perplexed nor were they deterred to go diving. In fact, it’s the thing we go diving for, at least for me anyway. I met some incredible people who left a lasting impression in my mind for the work that they do & their perception of life when I got to chat with them on a personal level. I didn’t feel important my work, for by hook or by crook, I have to do it anyway. The strange thing is when I realise what has to be said at the time it needed to be said, was said. Such is the power of God who is in control of all things.

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The flight to Amman, Jordan took almost 13hrs with a transit time about 8hrs & then the flight to Sharm El Sheikh was 1 hour. Queen Alia is beautiful. She was pictured with King Jordan in a frame that graced the hotel (Golden Tulip). I would have loved to see the Petra but there wasn’t enough time.

With the closure of the beach for snorkellers & divers, no shore dives could be done where I stayed at Iberotel Club Fanara & I was really looking forward to my NatGeo moment with the sharks. I spent a lot of time at the dive centre, Diving & Discovery, pestering the Italian hunk, Raffaele (the guy in blue vest below), to tell me when I can get into the water. Obviously, the rest of the clan was there too, including Christian & Klaus, who missed the French’s action at the meeting! I wonder if they got to see sharks….

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I will post up videos of this remarkable dive centre that won the Best Diving Centre Award 4 years in a row, they will blow your mind! Well, no shore diving then.

So I did the next best thing, which was to hijack Wolfgang to go on the chase for biblical places…..Moses’ burning bush & the well of his destiny at Mount Sinai! Coincidentally, St. Catherine’s monastery was listed as a world heritage site as well & off we went on the trail across mountain ranges to get to St. Katherine city to see where Moses met with God.

The view on the road to the mountain was breathtaking to say the least, I was blown away by the terrain & vastness of the dry desert. Sure it was cold, certainly not what I’d expected from Egypt. Reaching 1500m above sea level, we got down to walk the rest of the way to the monastery. I had to climb a monstrous of a mountain to take a picture of the monastery! In my Crocs!

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Look at the miniature people!

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St. Catherine Monastery.

I got to see the ”˜burning bush’ as well as the well of Moses destiny.

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I’ve been spending the last few days, one, having an impromptu birthday dinner with Calvin & Eleanor & two, teaching my students how to dive. Posting this as my last post of the decade as we approach a brand New Year! I know you have been journeying with me, albeit, silently through my last 6 years of unbridled literary works! Do know that I welcome your comments & words of encouragement as you ride the next 10 years with me! God bless you & have a blast ushering in the New Year! 🙂

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