So that, my friends, is the why and the how and I think we’re finally ready for this story to really begin. So let’s get back to Egypt. The journey from Cairo to Alf Leila was pleasantly unremarkable so I won’t get into all the details, (like how airports in Egypt have smoking rooms, wuuuut?/??). It took just over an hour to get from Sharm el-Sheikh airport baggage collection to Alf Leila’s front door. It would have been faster if there weren’t quite so many police and army checkpoints, but then again it would've taken longer if I’d been kidnapped so I can’t really complain about those.
An hour of dusty motorways, jagged rocky hills and miles of beige. In these moments it’s custom for sand to be described as golden, but this would be a lie. Sand lining a major transport link could never sparkle with anything other than crisp packets glittering in the sun.
At the end of the sparkly trash highway is Dahab, where Peace road leads to Lighthouse leads to Alf Leila. I tentatively haul myself out the taxi, the flesh of my exposed lower thighs taking a few seconds longer than the rest of me to unstick itself from the clammy leather seat.
The smell of lavender drifts through the already open door as a petite, dark haired, sun-tanned figure rushes out, already smiling and reaching for my bag. I walk across the threshold into the cool, shadowy reception and am greeted with a hundred different versions of myself, all red faced and dripping sweat, reflected in the tree of mirrors stuck across the pale purple wall.
We walk through the courtyard, dates sticking to the soles of my sandals as I look anywhere but where I’m walking until a tiny grey cat pounces and skips at our feet. Up the steps, round the corner and there it is, my new bedroom in my new home, it’s called Indigo and it really is. There’s a mattress, sans bedframe, neatly made up on the floor, a mosquito net draped down from the ceiling, en suite, shelves, stained glass and deep purple walls.
Kasia scoops up the restless kitten and leaves me to settle in. Heading straight for the balcony, belongings dropped haphazardly across the floor and bed, I lean out over the edge. Mountains stacked high to the left, a tiny patch of sea just visible to the right and directly in front of me what appears to be a herd of goats, unapologetically standing in the road and climbing into our plant pots. I am home.
To Be Continued...