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Bubbles from the Blue My life has been a bit of a journey, this is just one little part of it, currently blowing bubbles in a little town called Sharm el Sheikh...


EGYPT | Thursday, 24 February 2011 | Views [425]

So having lived in Egypt for a few years, we have been well aware of the reality of this "Democratic" government here. We have seen for ourselves the terrible poverty in which many people live, and discovered how whilst we were able to roam freely, Egyptians especially poor Egyptians, did not enjoy such freedoms. We have seen how friends who did a motorbike trip around the country had to carefully navigate police check points along the way to ensure that their Egyptian friends were not accused of illegally running tourist trips without lining the pockets of the relevant police. We have seen how our local dive guides collecting their guests, would encounter problems even entering the big, luxury hotels in order to meet the divers. We have witnessed a taxi driver getting smacked around the head for picking us up in the wrong place. All daily events that we eventually, and sadly found ourselves numbed to over the years.

So the recent events across the whole of the Middle East have been awe inspiring to say the least. To see the Egyptians rise up in such a peaceful, organised manner to tell their president that no, this is not a democratic society and that no they did not want him or his cronies as their leader, was a humbling experience.

Here in Sharm, we experienced none of the actual protests, we carried on business as normal in this bizarre bubble of peace and tranquility. And peaceful and tranquil it certainly was. We were already encountering a very quiet winter season anyway, so for this to kick off, we literally had about ten guests one day. And I work at one of the busiest dive centres in the hustle and bustle that is Sharm el Sheikh. It was unbelievable. The British were the only tourists remaining in town with all other nationalities being dragged back from the whole of Egypt by their governments. Thank God for our relatively reserved FCO guidelines, who only advised against travel to the affected parts of the country.

So we sat and watched the telly, as the events unfolded. Shamefully, I had stated that I didn't think that the Egyptians would follow Tunisia's lead. How little faith I had in the resilience and drive of the people here.

The 25th January heralded the first demonstrations, followed by incredible scenes as the protestors resisted violent retaliations from the police. We felt fearful when a few days later, the streets of Cairo and other towns became lawless, selfishly worried that maybe our little oasis of calm, would succumb and we would actually have to leave our home. On a personal level, I was hugely sad at this thought, however on a long term level for Egypt, I knew that this was an amazing period of change and that finally there might actually be a free and fair government here. This same night, having heard of a disturbance down in Old Sharm, there was one night where I went to sleep with a small bag by my bed containing money and passports... just in case. Thankfully it turned out that the disturbance was just a few people trying to panic buy in the supermarket and the Sharm el Sheikh rumour mill did the rest. They don't call it Drama Bay (Naama Bay) for nothing.

Well, we carried on in our strange world of peace and quiet for nearly three weeks, where the police still had power, people still went diving and money still changed hands, as the rest of the country fought for its freedom. Depressed, we sat and watched Mubarak's final speech (on the telly of course) as he declared he was not about to leave, was ready to die on this soil, and worried that he would make the army turn on the protestors, wiping them out of the way, and maintaining the status quo, after all that has happened.

Then, incredibly, we watched, elated as the announcement was made that Mubarak was stepping down. At first we were incredulous, after his speech the previous night, we were in no doubts as to his frame of mind, and we had heard so many rumours, we daren't actually believe this. But... no... it was true, he had gone. Unfortunately, apparently he had come to Sharm el Sheikh, however he was no longer in power. Gradually the realisation spread and we saw people start to clap and cheer, be it strangely muted. Maybe there was a certain amount of trepidation at what will replace the old regime.

The reality of events finally reached everyone in Sharm, people gathered in the streets to celebrate the event, waving flags outside the police station, cheering what can now be referred to as a revolution.

Tags: egyptian revolution, living in egypt, mubarak, sharm el sheikh

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