With Americans being abducted during visits to St. Catherine’s Monastery, bombings along the Sinai Peninsula, the present turmoil in Egypt, Ansar al Jihad making their presence felt and Israeli traffic to the Sinai on lockdown, visits to the Sinai Peninsula have collapsed.
The Sinai beach town of Nuweiba was built on the back of tourism. And now that tourism has completely collapsed in the Sinai, Nuweiba sits desolate and empty. But that’s okay with us. At The Velvet Rocket we detest crowds as much as we love neglected places:
Deserted shops in the heart of Nuweiba… At many of the shops, the owners weren’t even around to bother protecting their wares. They just relied on the honor system – if you take something, please leave some money on the counter. In other words, if The Velvet Rocket staff were dishonest, we could have gone in and just taken what we wanted:
Oh, sure, it’s not completely empty. Occasionally, one will come across people. In the scene below, a laborer is refurbishing the roof on a home:
The owner’s apathetic repose seemed to reflect the general atmosphere of the town… But, as he actually has some money to put to work, he is probably one of the few smugglers left in the area that is still making money:
The pictures above notwithstanding, much of Nuweiba now consists of abandoned buildings and the encroaching desert:
A residential area in Nuweiba… Normally an empty scene, I took this picture because there was actually a person in it:
Nuweiba does have some life and excitement though. We became good friends with the dog pictured below during the time that we were based in Nuweiba. He had free run of the area and would hang out with us any time we ventured into Nuweiba or along the beach. And when we eventually departed Nuweiba, he chased our taxi for miles to try and keep up with us.
I have no idea who the owner is, but I wish we had encountered them because their dog was awesome and I’d appreciate the opportunity to offer my words of praise and to thank them for letting him hang out with us. I have the impression that the dog belonged to a fellow visitor, but I do not know if that is accurate or not:
Nuweiba is a good place to use as a base for a broader exploration of the Sinai… One will certainly not be bothered with crowds, amazing deals can be found on hotels and restaurants and the dogs are fantastic.