I chose to do something on New Year’s Eve rather than sit in the house feeling sad about endings.
A beach party in Sharm which I had planned to attend was cancelled, but I decided to get out of Nuweiba anyway and also not to fill my day off with other work, as I usually do. Arriving in Sharm at 10am, I went swimming, snorkeling and for a long walk around the cliff top, then just before sunset to one of my favourite cafes in Egypt, Farsha Mountain Lounge.
Farsha is built on the side of the cliff, on wood platforms above a beach. There is a large restaurant, an open air seating area with cushions, hammocks, a Bedouin tent, and an enclosed room with bean bags. You can drink tea or coffee (Arabic made over the fire, or the usual selection of Italian styles), cold juices or beer, and food includes pizzas, chips and other snacks. As a treat I had a beer and then coffee while I watched the scuba / snorkeling boats return from their day at sea as the sun set. Farsah plays a good mix of music, underscored with the sound of the water lapping the shore, and enjoying this while watching boats glide home and sea and sky colours change, soothes away worldly worries.
I stayed at Farsha until it started to get cold. It wasn’t crowded and people were relaxed and happy in the candlelight, but I did not feel like staying in this romantic setting alone. I walked down the hill and caught a mini bus to Naama Bay, the center of nightlife where the main streets are lined with restaurants, cafes and clubs. Wandering the streets was entertaining, watching tourists and Egyptians as they ate, drank and smoked sheesha, some dancing, everyone looking happy. The were as many people wandering (mostly men) in the streets as there were filling the venues, joking with friends and watching the women in their flesh flashing dresses and high heels.
There were some fireworks at midnight; nothing like the massive Sydney or Melbourne fireworks displays, these consisted of about five explosions of light, everyone cheered, and then it was back to eating, drinking and music. I wandered into one of the clubs that has no entry charge. Many nights of the week and of course for New Year’s Eve the big clubs have special events with international DJs, fire shows, foam and snow parties, and the usual attractions European visitors expect. They also offer set menus for New Year’s Eve. Entry ranged between $150 and $400, good value for tourists with Euros or dollars but not for me, and not my idea of fun anyway. The club I went to played a mix of European and some Arabic hits, all with strong dance beats. Mostly I was happy to watch people enjoying themselves, but I also danced and stayed until the lights came up after 5 am.
I wandered around the main streets again, taking my first photos for the year, while the cafes emptied and people reluctantly had their final drinks. Time for a takeaway breakfast of kebda (liver) sandwich, lining up with other tired and cold ones and some who were about to go to a new day’s work. This was not Egypt’s finest kebda, but the hot, spiced meat in bread with pickles was deliciously welcome at that coldest time when night ends and the desert air felt like it was no more than 5 degrees. No mini buses around, so I walked along the main road watching the sunrise, to the station and bus back to Nuweiba.
Naturally during the evening I had some sad reflective moments, with some flashes of anger at life or fate but mostly directed at myself, my choices and actions. And after having the last two New Year’s Eve and first day of the year with T, I missed him beyond words.
But I felt stronger for having this night out. It wasn’t a really social night, I was not in the mood to engage cheerily with people, but it was better than staying in the house, where I would probably have ended up going to bed at 10pm and sleeping restlessly or not at all.
Now it’s back to work and trying to make this a better year.
VIDEOS: Sharm Farsha Mountain Lounge http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=704HnpB0zLw&feature=youtu.be
Sharm New Year’s Eve 2012 dancers entertain tourists http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKWDy4drIwQ&feature=youtu.be
note: Photos include some more of the new statue I featured in a recent post. Now the crane that lowered her into place is gone, she is nearly complete, though landscaping around her continues. Now it is clear she is a peasant woman, as her feet can be seen and she wears khul-khaal, the ankle rings that indicate she is married.