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It always starts with a sore throat.
That scratchy feeling catches me mid-breath, first thing in the morning and I think, “I’m sure it’s just allergies.”
And later in the day, when a coworker asks how I am feeling after she hears me sneeze in perpetual motion and gasp for air. “I think it’s just allergies,” I reply.
On the bus when my body starts to shutdown and my head begins to spin. I lean back and close my eyes. “I’m probably allergic to something,” I reassure myself.
About 7:00 p.m., when all I can think about is bedtime and a cup of herbal tea, I have a private thought, “I hope I’m not getting sick.” I don’t say it aloud because then it might be true.
Thankfully, in six years of teaching and four of residential dormitories, I have learnt the ins and outs of sickness. I know each telltale sign and can predict the moment when certain symptoms will hit me. Luckily, sickness in Egypt is not that different from sickness in the U.S.A. It is lonely, difficult and totally sucks.
There is always a day, though, stuck in between the sore throat instigation and the severe cold take-over, when I feel well enough to return to my earlier hopes of allergic reaction. Fortunately, that was the day I spent at the beach in Ain Soukhna.
Thursday’s arrival and Saturday’s departure were shaky at best. I willed myself away from tears (at this point, I am likely the biggest baby on the staff) and pushed through, remembering an old wives’ tale about salty sea air curing all sickness. I am pretty sure I just made that up.
Friday morning I took some Tylenol for the declining sore throat and headed to the beach by 9:00 a.m. We were there until almost 7:00 p.m., coming in only for a short lunch. I swam in the Red Sea, played beach volleyball (note to self, get better at regular volleyball first) and lounged on the sand. I fooled around with my camera in its underwater case and got to know more of my amazing coworkers. The rest and relaxation I experienced at the beach was as good as, if not better than, lying in bed, wallowing in the prospect of my incoming cold.
As I sit here in my room, waiting for the NyQuil to kick-in, I am so grateful that I was able to spend the weekend by and in the Red Sea. I could complain that my vacation was ruined by illness, but in reality, I am so fortunate to have been somewhere so amazing, regardless of my health. Many people can say, “I was sick. I rested. I got well.” But I can say, “I was sick. I rested on a beautiful beach on the Red Sea in Egypt. I’m getting well.” Not a bad deal at all.
|Throwing back snacks on the bus.|
|Before the show at the beach on our first night.|
|The Whirling Dervish show. Not great quality, but an experience nonetheless.|
|Flying a kite on the beach.|
|In the sea!|
|On the beach, our first night.|
|I LOVE the water!|
|Toe pictures are so in.|
|The moon's reflection on the sea was breathtaking.|
|The view from our resort.|
So as not to overload you with pictures, here is a public link to more beach pictures: More Beach Pictures