Saturday October 20th, 2018: departure for Akassia (fourth time)
We have been looking forward to it, worked hard yesterday, but today we are finally on holiday again and this time to Egypt. Back to the already known hotel Akassia in El Quseir. It has always been good there, so why shouldn't we go there again. We already packed a few things yesterday evening, so we are almost ready to leave. Around 9 o'clock we drive to the Quickparking. We arrive, scan the voucher and it turns out that we are at the wrong parking lot. So far we've always had the one in Machelen, but now apparently we've reserved it somewhere else. To be honest we didn't know there was a second one nearby. A ten minutes’ drive and we find there the parking for which we had reserved. Luckily we left home on time. It takes 15 minutes for the bus to arrive, 15 minutes for everyone to arrive and then half an hour for us to arrive at the airport. The P4 Long Parking had lasted not so long, because that's where I had been when I had to go to Dallas for work last week, but there was no room left, so we decided to take that other option. We have to take into account that we book in time for our next holidays during the school holidays so we don't have to do this anymore. It is already a long day without all of this.
We don't have too many people in front of us at the check-in, so we can get rid of our luggage as well. Then we get some air and go inside for a sanitary stop, a fast lane for customs and then look for something to eat somewhere. The fast lane doesn't seem to be a overrated luxury. At the moment there are ten checks open and they are waiting until after the scan of the boarding pass. But we can get through in less than ten minutes. Definitely remember for next time. The premium booking is already worth its money. We walk through the tax free, only buy an M&M for Arne and then we eat something small. Evy takes a chicken burger with fries, Arne only a portion of fries with mayo and ketchup and I take a sporty salmon and a pint - just to compensate for the sporty directly.
After lunch we take a slow walk to the long corridor where all the B-gates are. There in Starbucks we have a coffee, watch planes and once we know where to go, we walk to gate B40, completely the last one. That's a long walk, but the plane has to taxi less long, that helps too. In the meantime we also have a view of a lot of planes taking off and landing right in front of us. All three of us like that very much. We wait about an hour and then we can board. We have premium, so also here fast lane, even though other people have queued longer than we have, but that's the price you pay. I hope this doesn't look like we’re disgusting people, but it's really worth the price. At this hour we should have left already, but then it is announced, that we are not allowed to leave because of the hustle and bustle in Hurghada, so we are on the ground for half an hour longer. That half hour becomes an hour and then we're allowed to leave anyway by those silly Egyptians. How difficult can it be? If you can handle 5 planes at a certain amount of time, you don't have to take on any extra planes. Brussels Airlines will probably be in last place when it comes to that.
Finally gone one hour late, we get something to drink. A cava or an apple juice, immediately after that we get our food as well. A nice, really nice lasagne and we drink something. Arne plays a bit on his tablet and watches some DVDs. So time goes fast and we can count down the hours. In less than five hours we finally arrive in Hurghada, the landing is super, the visas are also put in quickly, we are fast with the luggage, so we think everything is OK. We still have to travel from Hurghada to El Quseir by minibus for a while. But first we have to wait for the last three people, who apparently were on our flight as well, but who took a little longer to get there. We hear that Hotel Utopia, right next to Akassia, is about an hour and a half away, so we are already happy. After an hour of waiting we leave for El Quseir in a van with 8 people. After a two hour drive with highway, speed bumps, mega fast pieces, incredibly slow pieces, men in towers with guns and oncoming traffic with big lights we arrive at a 'roadside restaurant' and we thought we'd be there already. Arne has fallen asleep, so no problem there. He sleeps on even when we stop. Some people drink or eat something and after more than 15 minutes we drive further and pass El Quseir centre and so on the road to our hotel. Hopefully we'll get there in time.
After ten kilometres, and twenty minutes of driving we drop off the couple in the hotel next to us and then it's our turn. We even have to show the driver which reception he has to take. Perfect and certainly a good luck that we have been here already. There we get four more sandwiches and fruit, fill out the forms, have a drink and go to our room. Arne is too tired or too stubborn or too difficult to eat, but he is not really hungry. With our luggage we go to the 2907 and take a few things out of our suitcases that we already need now and then we can enjoy a good night's sleep. Everything here is already very dark and quiet, so we sleep well. Tomorrow in daylight our first real holiday day!
Sunday October 21st, 2018: Diving centre, swimming pool, diving
We have a good night's sleep and can have our first breakfast here immediately after unpacking. That sounds like a great idea. So we go to the restaurant we already know and there we have a coffee and many other delicious things. The coffee for sure is great here, probably as we said before. Suddenly we see the waiter we had here the first time at breakfast, we show the picture of four years ago and he says a thousand times sorry he hasn't recognized us. Well, that can happen. Luckily we had a picture because otherwise... After breakfast and a cheerful re-acquaintance we go and have a look at the diving centre. Ask for some information there, but nothing has changed. Around 11 o'clock about I should return and certainly not forget the passport. So we go back to the room. The guy from the cleaning crew is putting too much effort to get a tip, so first he will have to prove himself. We take everything with us to the swimming pool where we have spent hours in previous years. Later to the diving centre, check in there and do Maheleg for the first time this afternoon.
At the pool we can directly enjoy and relax, nice and warm, a towel, a few sun loungers and nice hot water. Super! Cooling down is easy, but when everything starts to flow, it's great fun for all children. Arne is directly playing with a few other kids. Evy and I also cool down and soon it's eleven o'clock, so I take the key with me and go to the room. There I already had everything ready, everything is charging as well, so I can just leave with all the stuff and passport to the dive centre. It takes some time there, because a Flemish couple is checking out, so I already fill in all the details, this time in German - that's something else too. I fill in everything, get box 56, put everything in, get weights and a belt and that's it. Back in the room I make sure I have all the stuff ready, because the batteries are OK. I go back to the swimming pool, enjoy a bit more and then to the restaurant to have something to eat. I don't eat too much there, otherwise I have problems under water.
Ten minutes later Evy and Arne arrive and Yasser is immediately with us, just like Mohammed, our waiter the last two times. He had even recognized Arne: amazing. Alaa and Yasser are super with Arne, only Tamer had to get used to it. That's it. We leave within ten minutes before the dive. They already ask me if I'm going to Maheleg and if I'm diving alone or what the deal is - in German then. There are four people doing an Intro dive and the fifth is going to follow them to film, so I actually have the choice between not diving, or alone or just following them, a little deeper. During the briefing it became clear to them that I didn't have a buddy, but I don't worry too much about it, so I just dive along. A quick briefing - a good thing I already know it here, because the briefing didn't work. Everybody with the stuff to the end of the jetty, get ready there and then into the water.
The guide, don't remember his name again, forgets that I have to do a check-dive. Not a problem for me, but he is the divemaster, so he has to think about it. I'm supposed to follow the divemaster at a depth of five meters and dive there for fifteen minutes, then back for the same length of time, wait for a while and then the same thing again. Well, we'll see about that then. It's been a while since I've been diving south here and the current today is different than usual, so that's what we do now. The first dive in Egypt is always fun. Lots of fish, lots of coral, really great again. Not really unexpected, but it's a big OK. I’m in the water fourth, but the divemaster has no eye for me, I start my dive in the shallows: first of all look at my weights, because I think I have one kilo less than last time. But everything works out, the Nitrox goes in well and then start the dive.
The divemaster has the two youngsters attached to their tanks, so they go back and forth for fifteen minutes. In the meantime I look at the coral climbers or are they more like coral beams, because they don't do much climbing most of the time. A few bannerfish, a few butterflyfish, everything already passes my view. Hard coral, soft coral, everything top. And because it's already after noon, the colours come out well because of my lamp. Otherwise you see them less, but now they seem really mega bright. A small blenny lies motionless on a stone until I want to take a picture. Then suddenly it's gone. Attempt two I have more luck. The basses dance up and down again in the light of the lamps and they seem to enjoy it. I certainly do. A quarter of an hour is quickly over, so I soon see the divemaster turn around and I wait a moment and then do the same.
I don't know if those young guys like it, but with the third lionfish I already love it here. Then we reach the place where we went into the water and that's the change of the guard. The two young men go out and the man and daughter go in now. I spend some time looking at the underwater fauna and flora and then we can leave again. This time we go to the other side, but there is some current, we quickly turn back, but we do see a couple of butterflyfish and a couple of anemone fish. Even after all these dives here, they are still great and I even seem to remember that they were here last time. Here too many pairs of butterflyfish swim: a yellow crown butterflyfish. Especially the latter are often difficult to photograph, but they are so beautiful that I have to try them every time. Maybe this time it works well. A couple of black-tailed butterflyfish swim together above a coral and then hide in the holes of the reef.
A school of yellow fish with a black dot on their tails lies under the stairs of the boarding place. I have just arrived there alone. The others had turned around and back in the same direction as before, so I told them that I was going to do my safety stop and return quietly to the starting point. I come out and get almost immediately yelled at: Are you diving alone? I say that the last few minutes I have been diving alone, even though there were ten of them. That's it. I've been diving for an hour, so I'm happy. I go back up on my own, change my clothes and am ready when the others have just returned. The daddy of the children who did the intro dive is sorry that I didn't fully enjoy the dive. But I did have a good time, so no problem for me until divemaster says: for Timo I put a dive guide. For me and for that father he will charge a guide extra. We'll see about that, because he hasn't guided me, but he hasn't guided anything today. I've been alone more often at ten or fifteen meters than with them at five. A big discussion at the end.
The van brings us back and I quickly wash my things and meet Arne and Evy at the pool. A quick splash in the evening sun and enjoy a nice warm day. Then to the room, our shower and to the restaurant for something to eat. We have had a long day today, because Arne wants to see and hear the kids disco. Who knows, maybe he will join us again in the course of this holiday. Afterwards we go straight back to the room and write some reports, read a book and go to bed on time.
Monday October 22nd, 2018: Spa, swimming, relaxing, beach
Today relaxing day. Evy convinced me yesterday to have a facial and a pedicure done in the spa. She had already done that the previous times and maybe she thought that was something for me. First breakfast, today I don't dive, so I take it from there. Omelette with everything, a sandwich with cheese and some vegetables, hmm delicious. Arne doesn't like the pancakes here, but yesterday he loved them. In the meantime we have seen our waiters from previous years, yesterday one of them even recognized him from March, truly blissful. That's Mohammed, but he's not here in the morning. The name of the other one, Ronaldo-lookalike of year 1, I've lost.
After breakfast we go to the swimming pool, where we look for a good place, go in for a while and also go into the large swimming pool behind us. Quickly put on some swimming bands and then Arne can join us. Just sitting on the chairs at the bar under water, but the bar is not open. We swim a bit further and splash a bit. Then Evy joins us for a swim together, but then suddenly Arne is gone. Back to the small pool. Then I have to leave for the spa, just a minute on foot. I pull open the door and they suddenly look at me with four women and three men. Feet and facial, OK? Yep. Let's do this. I get a little water right away and that man starts working on it. With a kind of floss wire in his mouth he goes around my face around the contours of my face and that is soon completely free of the least hair. My eyebrows will also be put in order and hair in places where it shouldn't be will also be removed. After about ten minutes this is done and then I get a traditional Egyptian shave. Wow, they have serious sharp blades here. It's nice that I don't have to do it myself once in a while, because sometimes it's really hard. Then I have to move to a table and I get a mask on my face a couple of times, then it is scrubbed off, my face massaged and then the next mask.
It's a bit of fun, though. Later it will turn out that they have also removed the black dots from my nose and they say that I will be a very new man. That's why Evy made me do it, she wanted something else, LOL. Some parts did hurt, but we men always say that the women have to suffer to look good - this time it was my turn. After the last massage another skin cream and then pedicure. I am allowed to sit in a chair with back and neck massage and then they start doing my nails, a bit later also the callus of my feet and so everything is put in order. Well, that's very enjoyable for this time. That will take half an hour and then I can go back as a new man to Arne and Evy. Along the way I get approving glances from all the ladies who pass me. Checking me out of what? They can't get me anyway, I’m married.
At the pool it's great fun, because everyone is playing and I'm first going to recover a bit from the beauty spa and then I go with Arne into the pool. That's always fun. It's already half past eleven, when I'm finished and it won't be long before we go to the restaurant. First we drop off all our stuff in the room to go to lunch in a light packed way. Arne goes for fries again, well you can't blame him of course. I try a spicy pasta, but I have to put some spicy peppers aside, because Egyptian spice is really spicy. We are pampered. Everyone has to get a drink and they bring it for all of us. They might remember that we gave them a tip last time. This time we had only given someone something this morning and that was it.
After lunch we go back to the room, because Arne wants to rest a bit before we go to the beach. Evy now goes to the spa, but she is going to do the other side, she gets a massage this afternoon. Suddenly Arne doesn't want to rest anymore, but wants to go to the sea and the beach. That is something for daddy rather than for mommy. So we walk to the beach and play with sand and water. A lot of buckets are needed to make a work of art the way Arne wants it, so he takes the bucket to the sea a couple of times to get water and bring it to the shade of the parasols. It's only our day two, so don't take too much risk and sit in the sun for too long. I play along for a few minutes, but Arne wants to make his own castle, so I relax a bit and listen to some music. I have to take a picture of his castle and then that's enough and we'll have an ice cream. Arne gets three scoops of strawberry ice cream, actually too much but I couldn't say anything, because the man had already put three in. I enjoy the ice cream, I eat the surplus and I drink a rum cola with it. After the aperitif we play with a ball on the lawn. A ball that sticks to the palette when you try to catch it.
This way we enjoy ourselves for another half hour. We rest for a while and have a drink and then mommy comes back slowly. She drinks a gin and I have a beer, but Arne can't be held back; he can't sit still. He wants me to play pétanque with him. All in all he has been a very good kid, so we play about ten games of which he wins the majority. After that we have a drink and then we step back to our room to get ready for dinner. It doesn't take long, because an hour later we're already with our feet under the table. The food here is quite OK and certainly the fact that they rinse everything with drinking water, really great. (touch on wood) We've never really been sick here before. We eat something, drink a glass of wine or a children's cocktail. Arne and Evy go for dessert, we play 'Guess who?' a couple of times and then the children's disco starts.
Arne is delighted, because he already skipped a couple of games and was on stage dancing with a few girls and when the children's disco effectively begins, all bets are off. He's a great participant, seems to be having a great time and time goes very fast, when we see him dancing like this. In the end, the parents have to participate as well. Because Arne danced today, we also have to form a bridge for the polonaise of the children. Then it's over for this evening and another day is over. We go to the room and go to sleep immediately. Arne directly in his bed, we have a moment on the terrace and then we also sleep.
Tuesday October 23rd, 2018: Dive morning: The Cave and Sheikh El Malik
Today is the dive afternoon. Yesterday I signed up for two dives. The first for the dugong and the second for a cave. Apparently things will turn out differently, because we do the two dives in reverse order. The first task today is breakfast. We don't have to hurry, because the departure of the dive is only around 08:45, so a quarter of an hour earlier there. Breakfast goes smoothly, I never eat too much just before a dive. After coffee we fill up the water and make a sanitary stop. Then we can continue to the dive centre. There are already a few people from our dive, but the majority is there for a half day boat. They leave just when we arrive, not badly arranged. I soon start measuring my two tanks in terms of Nitrox, because that is important. Everything is OK at 30%. Tanks ready, box 56 ready, so I can sit with Arne and Evy. That is of course important during a holiday together.
Ten minutes later there is no one left, because then we leave for our first dive site. We start with The Cave; also logical because it is the furthest and then we come back for the dugong on Sheikh El Malik. All of us get on the bus and off we go. In about half an hour we are on the spot and we can quickly get ready. Everything is already on three large carpets, boxes open, everyone ready for the briefing. We dive through the canyon, then to the south, back a bit later and then make sure you have 60 bar when you enter the canyon again and get back to your departure point. I dive together with Carsten, because the other six are each with two. Just a quick introduction and then over the reef to the starting point. First of all we did everything, did a quick buddy check and then we can go to the place where we have to go in the water. It's a walk and again it feels weird when I get wet when I get into the water. Normally with a dry suit you don't have that. We all get some help with putting our fins on and then the dive can start.
We are lucky we don't see any other divers, because just before us many divers started. If you encounter them here in the caves, you may have a problem. Best to give priority to those who come back from the dive. The view in the caves is bad, really a thick yellow soup you can hardly see through, hopefully it will be a little bit better. And indeed, once you come out of the caves, the beautiful blue of the Red Sea is back. We immediately see many of the typical reef fish hanging around the coral and it is again a great sight. That's why we do it. The butterflyfish, the big and small basses, really great again. We see a few rays, yellow with blue balls. I find it strange that sometimes you don't see them in one dive and at the other dive site they suddenly come with dozens of them swimming, just like here. We dive until someone has 100 bar and that is at an acceptable time. When we turn around my buddy has 150 and I have 130, so that's okay. We turn at a big rock and there are a lot of glass fish, the small and the big ones, really great. You can almost see that they move as a whole.
The way back has started and we return the same way but a bit shallower. We just follow the others, although we always hang a little behind the group. The guide is not charged extra for this, while the day before yesterday the guide would have to be paid. We dive over the reef and actually see the usual for Egypt. So far no nudibranchs, but there are less of them in Egypt anyway. We're still the last to dive and we just see a few divers entering the cave where we left off. I think we would have found them otherwise, but that's easy. We dive back through the soup and dive high up against the ceiling of the caves, so we have already done a large part of our safety stop. At the end we add some more, take some pictures of a pipefish and a puffer fish, it's really wonderful here. It is also much warmer here than outside the cave. Safety stop made, so to the feet of the guide who is there to help us out of the water. We still have to make our way back, while the others are already back on the mats.
Quickly undress, towel around us and then everything back in the boxes, boxes in the pickup and then to the other dive site. There everything is prepared again while we get a briefing. It took fifteen minutes to take off our equipment, fifteen minutes of driving, ten minutes of briefing, then fifteen minutes of putting everything on again and then a large part of the surface interval is already over. Nice and easy. The intention is to see the dugong. We go into the water at a similar place as the previous dive, although there was a cave there and here we just have an open reef. We dive along the reef and just follow the guide who constantly makes noise to lure the sea cow. Irritant, but if it helps... We see a super nice reef, but we don't have much time to spend here, because the dugong is calling. I didn't hear anything, but that's it. The first thing that strikes us are the mega, many shells that grow in the reef, really fifteen giant clams in a piece of coral, unbelievable actually. The fish worth mentioning here is the halfmoon angelfish and a beautiful specimen here. Super.
Then it goes in the direction of seagrass. A large turtle with a few remoras and lots of grass and sand. Then suddenly the guide signals that he hears the sea cow, but I don't care. I want to see them. That's the second time I've dived here and I have to see them now anyway. Or not. No guitar rays either. A second turtle, or the same as the first one, no idea really. We dived a bit in a circle, but it doesn't make much sense. Seen a lot of grass and sand, two turtles and a nice reef, but we couldn't see enough of that. The end could have been better, but that can happen, the first dive was beautiful. Carsten and I have to go above the water to see where to get out of the water and stay at 5 meters with 60 and 80 bar and dive westwards, because there they are. We find it without a lot of problems, because we both have a compass, so that's a good idea. The first time a compass is really useful here. Again we are the last out of the water and today we hung under water for two hours, so despite the fact that the dugong didn't show up, it could have been worse.
Everything on the mats back in the boxes, I already put on dry clothes and then we can take the bus back to the hotel. We will be there twenty minutes later, but that is our own fault, because I think both of us have dived more than twenty minutes longer than the others. So we enter the bus, wait two minutes for the diving gear, rinse quickly and then go to the restaurant where Evy and Arne are already waiting for me. Something to eat and then rest in the room. It is warm today, not to say hot, and then a short nap can do miracles. So after the nap we go back to the pool, play some games. Arne especially with his friend from Poland and his dad. I try to give his dad a bit of rest too, but apparently the boy prefers to have his own dad or mom to play with. Then it's time to return to the room, take a shower and prepare dinner for the evening. Sometimes I think we don't do much more here than sleep and eat.
We enjoy dinner, drink a glass of wine and especially Arne and Evy are going to have another dessert. I limit myself to a few glasses of wine and the usual food, that will have added enough kilos within a week or so. But we can only enjoy it and in the end we also move around a bit here. Arne still moves a lot, because it's children's disco again for half an hour from half past eight. Then we go to the room, Arne straight to bed, we write, read and sleep.
Wednesday October 24th, 2018: Relaxing, swimming pool, spa, resting
There is again not much on the agenda today, especially enjoy the sun, swimming pool, food, drinks. We start with a breakfast as usual in the large restaurant. Rabie Abdel, as our waiter turns out to be called, takes good care of us again of course. He takes care of the table we've had in the past few days and tells us hello, we get a handshake or a high five. We eat the same as usual, a couple of sandwiches with cheese, pancakes, croissants and drink nice coffee with it. Really super tasty that Egyptian coffee. So we drink an extra coffee here before we return to the room. In the room we take everything we need to enjoy the pool. Everything with us? Yep, so we can go swimming.
First we let Arne dive into the small pool, then together we dive into the larger pool behind us, we play with the ball and take it all easy. It's a hot day, as if a hairdryer blows over Egypt, because it's already thirty degrees Celsius and it's only nine o'clock or so in the morning. Better this than lying there freezing in Belgium, oh, and working that's true as well. We enjoy the sun, swimming pool, diving and all other things. Evy leaves for the Spa to have her face done. She is gone for an hour. I try to teach Arne what it's like to snorkel for a while, so we can go snorkelling together. He is doing very well, but soon it turns out that five years is too young to go out to sea with us. He would get too much salty seawater and that's not much fun. We have a nice time and before we know it, mommy will be back. She looks beautiful (as always) and relaxed, so now it's time for me to get a shave. I didn't feel like taking my razor blades this morning, because they can do better there anyway. After ten minutes I'm back and then it's time to go into the pool and play and act crazy and then after about an hour when they drop everything off to the restaurant.
Arne and I go and take a look at the other swimming pools and slides, so everything is off when we get back to mummy. Quickly put everything in the room and then go to dinner. Restaurant as usual and return as usual. With the golf cart to block 29, there we need to get out of the sun and rest in the air conditioning. Evy and Arne actually sleep for less than an hour and I write something and select some pictures. Also fun. Around half past three we go to the large swimming pool near the restaurant, where we splash until the sun goes down and until they start spraying with the smoke to get rid of the insects. For us this is the signal that we have to go to the room, take a shower and go to dinner. It looks like we've just eaten, but we've slept a bit, haven't done anything, swam a bit, so we've really been busy before we go to dinner. The fish is super tasty, so there is marlin among them, really worth it. They fillet the fish on the spot and prepare it on the BBQ.
It is still hot and it will probably be hot tomorrow. In the evening it is still more than thirty degrees Celsius and even the Egyptians say again that it is incredibly hot, so drink well. No, Timo no red wine, you have to drink water. OK then, that too. After dinner we have to wait for the mini disco and Arne joins in very well and apparently has a great time. That makes us happy too. Immediately after the mini disco we go back to our room and go to bed almost as fast as Arne. Tomorrow we get up a bit earlier for two dives, so don't be too late for our bed. After this hot day and evening, tomorrow is hot again, because even 2 degrees warmer than today. We'll see if we survive this. 😊
Thursday October 25th, 2018: Diving, relaxing
The intention was to go diving twice, to meet at 08:10 and then take the boat to Sharm Fugani. We woke up early to have breakfast on time and at the dive centre on time. It is very busy there. I ask what is going on. The boat trip can't take place because of the bad weather. There is the red flag here and at Maheleg where the boat leaves the waves are too high. As an alternative Maheleg is not an option. That's what Tamer tells us. They look at what the other possibilities are, but they are not very easy. They talk about Mangrove Bay, a bit further than Maheleg, where it seems you can always dive. Evy and Arne already leave first to the room, then to go to the swimming pool. There they will spend most of the morning.
It is only a little after nine o'clock that I send Evy a text message that we are in the van in the direction of Mangrove Bay. It is only five minutes longer than Maheleg, so not long on the road. When we take the road to the dive site we already see two pickups and our two buses with two other pickups still need to be added. There are a total of 4 groups from our dive centre. The first one is Tamer's private group, the other one is a group of Achmed, the third one is from a woman I don't know the name and the last one is us. We dive with Besso, a young guy, but it will turn out that he is OK. We immediately see under water why it is not possible to do it in the other places. Here it is a bay where boats are moored, so actually it is quiet here. But once we put our heads under water, we only see dust, so it is a challenge to follow your buddy and the guide. Does this feel like a bit of an Oosterschelde? Hmm, maybe a bit. There are five or two buddy teams and I'm diving with the guide.
Once we have reached the first ten metres, we are out of the dust and it is easy diving. Not according to Egyptian standards, but according to what I am used to. And that is a bit weird. Lots of sand, lots of particles in the water, but the further we go the better. A few groups of fish pass by, they are fusiliers. Glass fish sit between the rocks and don't care about the circumstances. This way we continue our dive along incredibly large sponges. I look down inside one and it looks like it's infinite. I do estimate the height is about one metre - I don't even know if that's possible. It's mainly photographing the reef itself, because if there's a bit of movement in it, it's difficult to capture everything with all that dust. A ray is the main point of attention, but they are not that exceptional. But the sponges attract the most attention here, really great. Then all at once I see a big batfish in a rock, a really big one and it will stay in place for a while so I can admire it very well.
Around the thirty-five minutes it's time for us to return, because everyone is starting to be at about 120 bar. When you don't see the reef very well, you focus on other things and so I see a lot of sergeant major and fusilier fish that I wouldn't pay attention to otherwise. They hang more in the blue water than on the reef itself. There is also less dust there. At the beginning of the way back we are in front with the two buddy teams pretty far behind us. We're not going very fast, but much less deep, because it will apparently be a long dive. I don't mind at all. Suddenly I see the contours of a large moray eel hiding in the reef. Let's have a quick look to see that it is being cleaned by a few fish. Really great. The last twenty minutes we do about every 5 metres, because there are already people who are starting to get low on air - I'm starting to get low on air, because we've been diving for 60 minutes and the first metres were stressful because of the bad visibility.
At the very last minute, a large school of striped mackerel comes along. Also nice to see it pass by. Then it's back over the small mountains at the beach. About ten minutes before the end I see someone doing a sign for her buddy, so I take a metal buckle and inform the guide by hitting my tank. He will take a look and then we can continue. We also see the eggs of a Spanish dancer. The real one will be for tomorrow during the night dive - or maybe not. We'll see about that tomorrow. We come back up between the boats, take everything back to the mats, put it all in the boxes and then return to the hotel. It was hot there, just as if they were a huge hairdryer to you. Almost to suffocate, really. But of course we don't admit that, do we? Heat against Timo: 0 - 2.
I come to the pool, I return a little earlier than expected, because normally I had two dives, so we can enjoy it together for a while. Super anyway! In and out of the pool, getting wet, cooling down, drying up again, that's how it goes here. Arne has a great time with his friend from Poland. Then it's time to eat. We do that as usual in the beach restaurant. There is a red flag on the beach, but diving is no longer planned today, so eat and drink and then back to the room. We take a rest, cool down in the air-conditioning and then Evy will have her massage done. Arne and I rest for a while and then we go to the shops here. We buy after sun and a water spray, then we are at the reception, so quickly a sanitary stop and later on in the room Imodium and hopefully everything will be fine soon. You can have a beer at the bar. Evy is back from her massage in less than an hour and is waiting for us at the large swimming pool.
Evy and Arne go for a swim, then we return to the room, take a shower and have something to eat. We enjoy it very much, again and are with Mohamed who has been taking great care of us the whole holiday. We eat, drink and finally it is mini disco for Arne. It starts as usual at half past eight, takes half an hour and then it's bedtime, both for Arne and for us. Hopefully with a good night's sleep everything will be OK for everyone. Stomach OK, head OK and pains Arne OK, although those are again mega exaggerated.
Friday October 26th, 2018: The opposite of yesterday: relaxing, diving
As always, we start with a good breakfast. Arne eats a pancake here like every morning, this time two and a croissant. That's a lot more than the previous years together in one day. We take sandwiches, croissants and a few biscuits or some cake and drink that delicious coffee with it. Today he is a bit cold, I don't know why. And when it comes to drinking, Arne has discovered pineapple juice. Even we like it, not too sweet and tasty, great! We are served by Rabi Abdel again, Arne loves it and so does he. Arne gets a hug and a kiss on his head every morning. Top guy.
Today it will be first relaxing at the pool and only this evening diving, my first night dive in Egypt in years. But every dive in Belgium or the Netherlands is a bit of a night dive, once down a few metres. After breakfast we go to the room, take towels, put on some swimming gear and then walk to the swimming pool. Immediately into the water, it's already much colder than the last two days, but that's okay. The wind also makes it fresher and not hotter than usual. The hairdryer is gone. At the pool we apply sun cream, let our skin take it up and then we enter the large pool with Arne. A little later mommy arrives as well and so we can stay in the pool together for a while and enjoy our family. At ten o'clock everything starts flowing again, so we were able to enjoy the peace and quiet.
At eleven o'clock I have to go back to the spa, where they are going to shave my beard the last time in the package of the facial and pedicure. Great. I have to wait five minutes and then it's the same guy as the first time I had a shave. At fifteen minutes everything is OK and then I can go back to the swimming pool, especially sun cream for my face, because just shaved; the sun can be very hot and I want to tan evenly, but I don't want to burn. Dad with the letters on your laptop I can make my name: ARNE. A bit of information quickly in between. Then it's another hour and a half until they stop with the swimming pools and we can go to dinner. Today I eat a bit more than usual, because it will take a long time before I get something to eat this evening, because it's night diving. We notice that there are still a lot of people who have no manners and even cut queues in front of children. So much so that half of Arne's plate falls. So, I'll go and queue a second time for the fries then.
Let's think about what we did after dinner. Ah yes, with the man on the golf cart drove half of the hotel by racing with mega loud music, but a super cool guy. He has been here since the first time we have been here, when Arne was little. He drops us off near our block so we only have to go through the tunnel. There we rest for a while and then go back to the pool. It is the last afternoon of Arne's Polish friend so they will play together for a long time to come. After that it gets cooler and it starts to get a little bit darker, so at five o'clock we go to the dive centre. Today it is time for my first night dive here. Let's see what that will give us.
Besso is the guide, but I dive with Thomas, a German who already has more than 900 dives according to the enrolment papers and a young girl, Isabel, goes with the guide. We set everything up, put it in the car, then prepare ourselves and then it's time for the briefing. We don't make a drift dive, but a dive on the northern part of the pier. In there, feel the current and then start against the current, 100 bar or 25 minutes and then return. We walk five minutes to the jetty, the car is already there, we put on our suit and then we can do our jackets with the tanks on our backs. We walk on to the end of the jetty and then Thomas jumps first, then me. We decide not to wait for the rest and check the current. So it is first to the north and then come back.
We haven't put our heads under water for a minute or I can already see a scorpion fish, wonderful start, then Thomas does sign that there's something to see, but I don't see anything. That's because those shrimps are in the holes of the rocks. The shrimps you see here at night, are really super: white with red and blue and incredibly long antennae. Hopefully they don't get stuck in the door too often. Sorry, bad joke. We continue our dive and every few metres we see a lionfish in different colours or the same shrimps, really wonderful. Also the soft corals are very beautiful, really amazing. I forgot that they grew so lush here. That beautiful red colour is really breath-taking. Even between those soft corals you can still see small living creatures now and then. The different species of starfish and other invertebrates like a medusa head can only be found in the dark during a night dive, so we have the pleasure today.
Then I see a snake-like thing coming down from above on the reef, take a camera immediately and then try to identify later. Now we're talking about an eel or a kind of snake or something like that. Among the hard corals you can now see the crabs and crustaceans more easily. But we are constantly looking for something red. And everything is red. The reef is dark red, the fish that are still awake are red as well as the Spanish dancer we are looking for. Then all of a sudden there is light that moves back and forth and a large moray eel that moves back and forth just as well. Blessed. You don't often see them during the day, but at night they hunt, so this is an ideal moment to do so. In the meantime we've also returned, because we were already at 26 minutes, but not even a hundred bars. We don't give up on seeing a Spanish dancer yet.
And then all of a sudden she's there: Yesssss. A small red dot between the coral and the rocks. I do a sign for Thomas, who comes to have a look, but then he's gone. Well, that's bad luck for him, I don't think he saw what I meant. I take a couple of pictures and then I dive further. I also had to take a good look at what it was, because it was only three to four centimetres in size, with the characteristic rosette at the back around the body and the typical red colour, but really small. We continue to look for something red, but we only see a sleeping coral climber with a similar colour. To see two Spanish dancers on a dive, you have to be very lucky for that. I've seen them, so I'm happy. A few more shrimps, lionfish and then we'll have had it. At a diving time of fifty minutes we reach the light of the jetty and we start our safety stop. When it's done, go up, remove the fins and then up the stairs and back to the dive centre.
There we debriefed and rinsed everything and then I went to the open air restaurant for the key to the room. I want to take a quick shower and am back in less than ten minutes. I eat a pasta and am very happy that this dive was a success. Evy has had a bit more trouble with Arne than the previous dives, but he was also not OK, that I was going to dive in such a dark sea. He starts to get what’s happening growing older now? Good food, good drinks, because it's still warm and also a children's disco and then in bed on time. Sleep late again tomorrow, because the early morning dive was cancelled for tomorrow.
Saturday October 27th, 2018: The combination of the two previous days: relaxing
Today it will be a short report because we have done little for a whole day. Breakfast, swimming pool, swimming, splashing, drying up, swimming again, drying up again and then finally getting up to eat. As always everything first to the room and then on foot to the beach restaurant. There something to eat and then back with the cart to the room. We talk to Arne about what we are going to do next, because mommy has gone to the massage and it's dad-son moment. We start by deciding that we are not going to swim anymore today. First we take everything we need and walk to the jetty. I had gone into the water there for the night dive yesterday and we are now going together to see what there is to see during the day.
We see many white tops of the waves, because the water is still very wild. The red flag is still hanging, or better it's flying like crazy because of the strong wind. Arne takes pictures and so do I. We love it here with the splashing of the water and then see the waves breaking on the reef. We don't stay here very long. We can also come back later. And then Arne wants to know which fish daddy has already seen. On the signs here I indicate which ones I have already seen. There are quite a few of them now, all those years coming to Egypt. We have a good time and walk to the beach bar. There we eat an ice cream and drink a beer. On the lawn where we played last time, they are now playing soccer, so no play for us. But then we just watch some football, that's fun too.
Then mommy comes back and she gets something to drink immediately and we can play a few more games of pétanque. ARNE, someone already put the name in the sand. We enjoy it. Arne first plays against me and then it's daddy against mommy. Arne and a friend make sure we get the balls back, so that's great. We play for about an hour until it gets too dark, so we return to the room, take a shower and write a bit and read something. Then we have something to eat and our quiet day is almost over. We wait for the mini disco and let Arne have fun. And he does. Immediately after the mini disco we go to the room, write, read and then go to bed, because getting up tomorrow is a bit earlier than usual. Tomorrow we will dive on Sharm Tachtani.
Sunday October 28th, 2018: Sharm Tachtani two dives and pool
We get up at seven because I have to be at the dive centre by eight o'clock. Hopefully the dives are not cancelled. We'll see about that later. After breakfast we go straight to the dive centre, where it is already very busy. We all set everything up and can then leave with the two vans to Maheleg, where the boat is already waiting for us. First briefing of the boat, then everyone can find a place and we can leave for Sharm Tachtani for a trip of about forty minutes. Mooring, briefing, dividing buddies and then diving.
We're leaving, Klaus and I, as the third buddy team behind Achmed and four other divers. First they seem to follow me, because I have the same suit as Achmed, nice catch. The first part of the dive is quiet, just reef and nothing really special - I have to add: nothing special ‘for Egypt’. After that we arrive at the part that I love here at this dive site. Everything here is covered with white plants, which give the whole reef here something magical, as if we are in a fairy tale, really great. That's what I thought last year. The pictures can never show it this way, but there are trees everywhere with lichens like a magical forest. Everything under water of course. Blessed just like that. We arrive at a big rock that is overgrown with those white polyps with the grabby tentacles and we can dive around there perfectly. The holes of this rock are full of glass fish, which is also quite great to see.
My buddy and I use about the same amount of air, so that's a good thing. We are here for about 35 minutes but both still have a lot over a hundred bar, so it's OK. We dive on very calmly and don't see much special anymore. A couple of butterflyfish, a nemo, of which I have to make a movie for Arne, a moray eel and so we can already see the boat in the distance. Quietly do our safety stop, so we're OK and then we're back on the boat. The others were already there and I leave someone in front of me so I'm really the last one back up.
I get everything ready for the next dive, have a drink, have a quick chat with Klaus and I also have a chat with Katka, a Czech with whom I have already dived at Mangrove Bay and who is now doing a course here. Nice chat and then it's time for the second and last dive of the day. We now dive to the other side, round the corner and then back. Klaus doesn't want to dive with the zodiac with the risk of a lot of current. So this is how we do it. We are now away from Achmed's group and immediately see a large moray eel and a scorpion fish. Then I am shocked, because someone is hanging on my fins. Apparently I must have almost hit a piece of coral, but just not, so no disaster. But what an ass, who scares people so much. I dive on with a bit of a bad feeling, but try not to be bothered.
A little further a second moray eel, this time a different kind, yellow spots in this case. We see the normal life here, don't see much special anymore. We come safely around the corner of the reef, follow it to the north and when we're just over half an hour far and still on course in terms of air consumption we return and do the same route again, but this time a bit shallower than on the way there. I photograph a couple of christmas-tree worms and a lonely lionfish, but the two surprising aspects are kept to the end. The last ten minutes a remora follows us and that in itself is a bit strange, because they attach themselves to turtles and sharks and such, so hopefully not to divers. The other nice thing about this place is the incredible number of trumpetfish just below the surface, I mean at about two to three metres. There are a lot of them there. Ideal to finish the second dive of almost seventy minutes.
Then we get back on the boat, wait for the rest and then we can leave for the forty-five minutes return to Maheleg. It takes a long time, but I already knew that. A bit past two we arrive back, take the vans back, but it's already after half past two before I can find something to eat. Evy is already back in the room with Arne, so I have a snack at the beach bar and go and see if the stuff is already there, but they will take a while to get there. Then first I say hello to Arne and Evy. Perfect. They are happy that I'm back and so am I. Then I go for a swim in the big pool right in front of us. I'm going to see if I can rinse my diving equipment and that's already the case. I suddenly ask if the early morning dive will take place with two people and that is the case, so everything is OK.
Just a short swim with Arne and then back to the room, because it gets chilly and it’s getting darker. Arne gets an inflatable swimming ring from the Dutch children he played with here at this pool. Especially for a diver, it is also fresher in the pool after repeated dives. Achmed is already back in the pool for a first acquaintance with diving. We return to the room, take a shower, get ready for dinner, eat and drink something, wait until the mini disco is finished at nine and then go to the room and sleep. At a quarter to ten I also go to sleep, because tomorrow I'm up at five for an early morning dive.
Monday October 29th, 2018: Early Morning Dive, swimming pool and resting
There were two things I wanted to do this trip, because they had told me it was worth it. A night dive on the house reef should be very nice, just like an early morning dive. The night dive had already been done. The early dive didn't take place last time because I was the only one, but today is the day. Yes! What’s not so ideal about an early morning dive is getting up at five and you immediately think: was this a good idea? That will have to be seen. I get up, get my camera ready and Evy and Arne stay put for a while, they are absolutely right. At half past five I'll be there, but for the rest there's no one to see yet. The first people who go to Elphinstone, gradually come in and also my two buddies for this dive: Katka or Katja and Udo. The first one is the Czech one I have dived with before and also had a chat with on the boat. I don't know Udo.
At five minutes to six Yasser and Ahmed arrive. They will ensure that everything is managed properly. We put our tanks on the car that brings things to and from the house reef, put on our suits and make sure we have everything with us. Then we walk to the jetty, ignore the red flag and, once done, jump in immediately. Ahmed already jumps and sinks immediately, Udo is with me and we drop quietly once everything is OK. Already from the steps of the jetty you can see that an early dive is completely different from a dive during the day. The bass that you see in large numbers during the day, is now visible, but twice as much and that is not due to my lenses. No, life is much more abundant so early, it's a pity you have to get up so early for it. I really like those anthias and also the larger Red Sea bass are now abundantly present on the reef; they are hunting so early, because in the afternoon they do a siesta. The masked butterflyfish are now fluttering around a lot more, together with the other butterflyfish.
Just when I try to photograph a moray eel, Ahmed taps on my shoulder. A pod of dolphins passes us on a twenty metres distance, just not normal: it's a large group of more than fifty animals, super, blissful! Oh yes, take a picture. Hopefully it is any good on the camera, because they are already far away. Then back to the moray eel. A coral climber does what he is good at: posing for the camera. I even make the effort to photograph a lionfish. He hangs upside down in a rocky cavity and has his two blades spread out on his head and they now have some kind of feathers on the ends, which you only see during the hunt. A little further on we see soft corals and can enjoy the beautiful dive so far. A scorpion fish is lurking on a rock and suddenly Ahmed tells us he has seen something ten metres below us. Que? Yep. Between the rocks and the corals he has seen an octopus, wonderful how those men see it. Just go there, look at the animal and take a picture.
Then we move on and I think we're already halfway there. Ahmed asks us if we just continue to dive or return. Everyone agrees that we just continue diving. We have been there for 35 minutes now, so it's easy to get there. Or that should be the intention. Another rocky cavity with soft corals, which are often very beautiful. A couple of big-eyed groupers and I was especially looking for a picture of Dory today, from the film by Finding Dory and Nemo. I did it, yes. Such a stressful fish, not easy to take a picture of a blue surgeonfish. A bunch of yellow snappers is also lurking here and it turns out that we are almost there. In the distance we can see the waves breaking on the steps of the stairs of the jetty in the south, great dive. Here it is full of small fish and yellow snappers, really great to do your safety stop here.
Then carefully onto the jetty along the stairs. Fins out, around the wrists and arms, I attach my camera to my chest belt and just wait for the waves and when it's quiet, quickly go up the stairs and then stay on the stairs even when there’s another big wave. A little heron is waiting for us here, but I can't take a picture of it, a super cute purple heron, great. Walking up the jetty and then hoping that the guard will open the gate. Indeed, the gate on this side remains closed. We return to the dive centre, rinse the equipment and then I can return to Evy and Arne. They’re waiting for me in our room and once I’ve told them about the dive, we can have something to eat. After the breakfast the day still needs to start, so we go to the kids pool, but I don’t go into the water so often, because it’s too cold for me.
By noon we can have something to eat and that's what we do and after the busy lunch, we return to the room. There Arne and I go to rest while mum gets a massage. Before we know it, mommy will be back and she has been away for almost an hour. Together we walk to the north jetty and back to the beach bar. There we have a drink and have a chat with each other, with Sameh from the spa and one of the animators. We drink a gin and rum, while Arne watches volleyball and pétanque. When it gets dark, we walk back to the room, take a shower and have a bite to eat. It has been a long day, especially for me. Now we have something to eat, drink and then look at the mini disco and then go to bed.
We still enjoy every moment we have here, because it is starting to come to an end. I don't think a dive is possible tomorrow and I also have the feeling that I have had a very nice closure with this morning's fantastic dive. A dive tomorrow can't compete with this anyway, so it's a nice ending. Good night Red Sea and fish and animals in the water and sleep nice dolphins after I could finally see you under water during a dive after so many years of diving.
Tuesday October 30th, 2018: All at ease today, nice and relaxed
Arne opens his eyes and immediately likes to go to breakfast. We get ready and we are on our way to the restaurant for breakfast. We are later than usual and it has become busier, so it is not really nice to stay here now. Children play here, keep them on a leash a bit, people. The Egyptians already compare the Italians and Czechs with the Russians, that's what the people here say. The last few days a few planes of these countries have landed here, so they are not very happy with this. It soon becomes clear when Arne wants pancakes. Five young people who speak a Slavic language rob the pancakes so that there are only a few remnants for us and for the people behind us. The man who bakes, of course, thought that it would take longer before he would have to bake again. Not so. All five of them go back to their table with a plate filled with 10 centimetres of pancakes. That’s disgusting. Lucky we're gone tomorrow.
We sit outside and Rabie makes sure we have a clean table while they have to wait next to us. After breakfast we go to the room to get everything to go to the pool and enjoy the sun and the pool for a while. The first hour we can quietly keep the pool in front of us, then everything starts to flow here at the children's pool and so we rest for a while. Also much more people, because we are in the middle of the autumn holiday. Evy reads mainly by the pool and Arne hangs in the water. I go into the water once in a while, but never for too long, because it is quite chilly. Then dry up, put on sun cream, because the last day or days here bandages would be stupid. Arne and I also go and get some drinks and then he sees that there are rowing boats on the waves. We have to cross a bridge and just below he sees some of them.
We will go and see where we have to be. Just when we get there, the place closes. It is open twenty minutes 4 times a day, at 11, 12, 3 and 4. I promise Arne that we will come back this afternoon if he wants us to. Then we do the slides here. There is a long blue one and a rainbow slide. The nice thing about this place is that Evy and I are allowed to use it too, which is not allowed in the children's pool. We stay here until the life guards leave and then drop everything off in the room and have something to eat. There the usual, although I'm also going to take a look at the pizza. It is the fourth time we come here and only now I know that there are two ovens for pizza. The guy bakes about seven hundred for lunch. And they are delicious too, those little pizzas.
With the golf cart back, take all the stuff back to the pool and immediately leave everything back there, because Arne wants to get in the boats. They give me two peddles that I can use as one and that is indeed easier. Evy takes pictures and movies of our adventures here and Arne loves it. For me those ten minutes on the waves are a short work-out, so everyone is happy, some calories have gone now too. Then there is the rainbow slide and the blue one, sometimes with and sometimes without a mat. With the mat it goes much faster once you have can start. Especially nice that we can do this together. Finally today Arne wants to go to the big pool again, so Evy gets his big band in the room and we take a shortcut to it.
Another hour of swimming and enjoying the sun. The sun has trouble today to get through a light cloud cover. But it is warm enough, because we never have less than 25 degrees Celsius here. After that we take a shower and then we go back to the restaurant for dinner. Last supper here, because tomorrow we have to leave. I had already gone to the reception this afternoon to see if there was anything known for our transfer tomorrow, but at 2 o'clock they knew nothing. I had registered on the internet to be notified at least 24 hours before departure. So far I haven't received any SMS or e-mail and I am writing this now at 07:45 the day of our departure. I go back after the mini disco and then they tell me at the reception that they will pick us up at 16:00. It is worth paying 30 Euro for a late check-out. I bring something for myself and Evy to drink, we write and read something and around ten o'clock, about ten thirty we go to sleep. A serious criticism of Neckermann: first of all it said at the booking that the transfer airport hotel was only half an hour, in reality that's two and a half hours. We knew it would be longer for Hurghada than for Marsa Alam, but then they wouldn't be allowed to sell it that way. Secondly, the information here about return doesn't make anything clear. Not through books at the reception, not through the internet, only to ask twice at the reception. Well, it doesn't matter that much, we had a good time and that's the most important thing. And tomorrow another three-quarters day!
Wednesday October 31st, 2018: Relax a bit more, enjoy and return home
As I said, we had a late check-out. That was very interesting, because that way we could continue as we have done for the past week and a half. Quiet breakfast. Rabie Abdel takes good care of us and asks if we see each other at lunch. They are sincerely friendly and happy here, even though we hadn't given them a tip the first few days. After breakfast we go back to the room, get everything to rest at the pool. Arne doesn't want to go to the children's pool anymore, but wants to go to the big one. Nice, because then we can really swim and we do not constantly have the sound of the flowing water. Oops, no that was not the first thing we did after breakfast. I'm going to check out with Arne at Wonderful Dive. A free T-shirt for Arne, no charge for the guides and no extra charge for the 15 litre bottle that was indicated for the early morning dive. With a discount from returning customer, just over 200 Euro, so I give 220 and 12 Euro for the tip box. Nice.
I also take all the stuff that was still there with me and then we can return to the room. Arne puts the stamps in my logbook and I am happy with the eight dives, which lasted more than an hour on average. When we get back to the room, Evy has almost packed everything and then we can go to the swimming pool. Arne is interested when two ladies from the diving centre come with four people to do a course in the swimming pool. He asks a lot what they are doing and I try to dig back into my memory and explain to him what they are doing. We play with the ball and Arne also plays with the other guests here. A swim and before we know it, it's almost noon. We walk to the room and then to the beach restaurant. We have something to eat there and definitely a nice pizza. We do our tour, drink something, eat something and then the last time we take the cart back to the room.
We pack the last things, call the reception to pick us up and half an hour later they are there. It is half past three and we are at the reception, check out and then get me another T-shirt at the diving centre. Meanwhile the flyboard show is also going on, with incredibly hard beats from the boxes and it looks like the whole hotel is at the swimming pool here. We take a look at it from a distance and wait for the van that will pick us up for the long 2.5 hour drive to Hurghada. The van is about half an hour late, but it's not our fault if we miss the flight. We'll see. The ride goes well until I suddenly hear a noise. Nobody responds, only I hear the driver sighing. I suspect we have a flat tire, but we just drive on. After two hours of driving we have to stop anyway, because it looks like the van is slower and hangs crooked. The driver has called the airport and with his boss he is going to drive on quietly.
After half an hour of making noise and driving quietly: the tire is completely gone. Luckily he has a double in the back or it would have been a no-go. An hour later we arrive at the airport, there is no one from Neckermann, so bad points again. I had expected that there would be someone to guide us through security. Nope. One and a half hours before departure and by check-in when entering the airport, check-in and then a second check-in. We'll see if it works, no stress, for now.
Half an hour before we pass the first check, then check in at A2. That goes without any problems. After us there are still people, I think the check-in in Belgium would be closed a long time ago. Then fill in a piece of paper, have them stamped, have someone check them out, have someone check them out and then check them out again. Here it is very slow, especially for the ladies, because that one woman checks every woman ten times more thoroughly than the men are checked. So I'm on my own with Arne, because Evy has to wait. Is there a guy who keeps pushing the hand luggage on the conveyor belt, so that ours almost falls off? That doesn't work out very well. The first time I ask it quietly, the second time a bit less and the third time I really get mad. The laptop, tablet and mobile phones were almost to the ground. Which of those freaky-customs men was going to compensate us if something was broken? Just at that moment Evy arrives and the two of us can take everything off the conveyor belt. A bit easier with two.
Then one last check to see if the last ones have done their job properly and then to the gate. There we just have time to buy a pack of chips for Arne, because we have to board right away. It's great that we don't have to wait long. Airplane on, on time away, after an hour of eating and then sleeping. Arne sleeps until we start landing and then it's time to get off, pick up luggage, catch the bus, fifteen minutes later we're in the car home and by three o'clock we can go to sleep in our own bed. We've been on the road for a long time anyway. We wake up early tomorrow, because of the football tournament in Bornem.