Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The reason I remember Dahab, and other adventures.

Aah Dahab.  Little gem of a tourist town on the Red Sea.  Diving mecca by day and scene of a very hazy sort of night life once the sun set.  At least it was in 1997.

I remember it well because I was unable to fall into a pleasant fug of beer and illegal substances because my boyfriend (now husband) managed to perforate his eardrum on the second day of diving.  

He then proceeded to scream in agony every night and run hellish fevers.  We were staying in accommodation which resembled the smallest garden shed you can get from Bunnings and still stand up in (if you're under 5'7").  It included a bed, which was great, considering the price.  

Eventually we found an English doctor (Dr Dave who practised medicine in the UK for 6 months of the year and spent the other 6 in Dahab).  Lucky for us it was the right 6 months.  He shouted at me for not bringing him sooner (we'd only just found out about Dr Dave), for letting Mike lie in the sun (there was no shade), and for getting him into the state he was in at all (he was pretty sick).  

Of course it was my fault he has dodgy ears isn't it?  

Anyway under the skilled if slightly gruff ministrations of Dr Dave, Mike made a good recovery but was unable to complete his Dive Licence in the completely stunning and warm waters of the Red Sea with it's underwater magic show of coral and fish.  Instead he had to finish up in the dark, cold and extremely weedy Lake Malawi, where we spent a few days camping during our overland truck journey through Africa.  There was a certified dive instructor at the lodge who was willing to help him finish off his ticket.  So he went for it. 
This is what I saw when I learned to dive. 

Eager to try my new diving skills out, I had a crack at a dive in the lake too.  It was shit.  I think I saw an eel.  A scary one. I got the pluck out of there. But Mike had no choice.  And being Mike, he just got on with it.   
This is what Mike saw.  But weedier.  With more eels. 
Speaking of Malawi reminds me of a game popular at the lodge we stayed at.  Called The Hundred Club.  Played in large groups, you had to consume a film canister of beer every minute for 100 minutes.  Needless to say only a few hardy souls ever got to 100.  And even fewer kept their 100 canisters worth down.  It was a messy, messy game.  I did not play.  I preferred my beer in glass bottles, drunk slowly.  

How would today's backpackers play it?  There are no film canisters.  What do they use?  I'm sure they still play it. And I'm sure they've thought of something. 

Anyway, I didn't play, and my liver thanks me.  I have managed to do plenty of other damage to it, so it's probably just grateful I gave this particular damage opportunity a miss.  

And the most exciting part of this experience was me playing or not playing the Hundred Club.  But this blog post is already too long, you'll have to wait until tomorrow for the rest of the story.