Alexandria – the most popular holiday destination of the Middle East

17-Summer

It is apparently well known that every summer  about 1,000,000 people flock to the Egyptian North Coast and Alexandrian beaches: people pour towards the beaches in their hundreds…. and Alexandrians head “out”!

* ZAHMA  ZAHMA! (crowded crowded)

* DOWSHA  DOWSHA! (noisy noisy)

These are 2 words that describe very specifically what happens to Alexandria during Summer. And although many Alexandrians shake their heads at the increased traffic and people using local transport, those on holiday LOVE this place.

AN AVERAGE DAY ON THE BEACH:

We remember the time we came for our first trip to Alexandria: it was mid-summer and we stayed in a small apartment overlooking the Corniche. We were amazed: the first few days (and nights) we periodically checked out the window and there were ALWAYS people on the beach, lots of them, no matter what time of day or night it was. The fun just kept on going (even if the sun had gone to bed!)

Most of the beaches along the Corniche during summer have umbrellas and chairs carefully set up. You usually pay to “rent” an umbrella (or 2 ) and a couple of chairs (depending how big your family is). Now understand that whole families (or friendship groups) go to the beach together:

  • grandmas and grandpas (in wheelchairs too!)
    • aunts and uncles
      • moms and dads
        • sisters and brothers
          • a baby or 2….

…usually accompanied by lots of picnic food (fried chicken is a favorite), cooler boxes with water and sodas, a variety of bats and balls (and the occasional frisbee) and a selection of swimming aids.

People will select their spot and then stay for the whole day (and sometimes a large portion of the night) There are usually vendors selling a huge range of things:

  • t-shirts
  • candy floss
  • slip slops
  • sweet thin wafer biscuits with honey
  • water and sodas
  • and of course tea!!!

AND PLENTY OF SWIMMING:

Many people are not good swimmers, so they tend to stay quite close to the shore, which can become very crowded. Men will swim in a variety of “board shorts/baggies” type swim shorts. The women… well, you won’t see a bikini or even a “one piece” in sight. But what you will see is fully veiled ladies playing in the waves, having a glorious time. Some women will be wearing the “burqini”, specially designed swimwear that covers arms and legs and is “modest”. Some younger girls will wear their jeans and long sleeve shirts, and spend the day jumping and wallowing in the shallow waves.

But men, women, boys, girls and even babies, will be tireless in their enjoyment of the sea, the sand, the sun, the fun, the food….. and many will stay from early morning until late at night.

Now THAT is a day at the beach !!!

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