Monday, December 10, 2012

Once again on the way to El Quesir

In November, we once again cycled to El Quesir, my cycling mate and I. The trip was quiet, the tail wind helped us once more and we arrived at our goal again after about four hours riding.

We had a shower and relaxed in a very simple camp. I can’t imagine how divers can endure staying here for a longer period of time, because the facilities are actually rather basic. There are reed huts covered with palm leafs, joint sanitary installations with running water; when we were there, there was a power cut. On the beach are huts as well and I imagine how romantic it might be, being in love, to spend a night in such a hut listening to the sound of the see… as long as mosquitos can be kept afar. The location is impressing and the view on mountains, desert and sea are gorgeous. Here are some pictures:

My desire for change and alternation, knowledge and culture pushed me to see more from El Quesir this time. I’ve known some time before, that phosphate was exploited here and that Italians had invested in the mining. I wanted to see the premises that were built by the Italians around 100 years ago (today, the phosphate mining is situated around 25km north of El Quesir). Two Germans who live in El Quesir led us through dusty lanes to the area.

We cautiously entered the mouldering factory hall with curiosity, surprise and amazement, peeked through broken windows, crossed the huge square between factory, administration, villas and the church. Nowadays, it’s a ghost city, hastily left as it seems; but I imagined how this place must have been bustling, Italian language and culture, Egyptian labourers, balmy evenings on the veranda with a glass of red wine, arduous heat in the day. The administration building still shows some stuffed dust covered hunting trophies exposed to decay. I was especially taken with a Tuscany villa: high rooms, verandas, a bright yellow façade, palm trees, a big garden, sea view… The only building that has been renovated and is still in use is the church, now Coptic. Here are some impressions:

I was delighted to have finally received some “brain food” and once more felt convinced, that this region has much more to offer than only sun, beach, sea and diving. This day was exactly to my taste: sports, culture, nice people and a fish dinner on the beach under a starlit sky to wrap up the day.

By the way, El Quesir used to be an important port in the ancient world and in the middle age, and here and there are discoveries waiting to be admired…

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