Sunday, April 30, 2006

More on my trip to Dahab

Well. It all started in a great way, we hit the road on Friday morning on our way to neweiba3, five and half hours and a peaceful drive later we were there, inhaling the beautiful scenery like we never did, I went with 2 of my school buddies thought this way I’d be able to truly relax and take my mind off “the asshole” and all the shit that’s been happening recently (nothing like a guys trip with school friends to take your mind off the recent negativity)

I won’t bore you with the details of the four days as I was forced to during the subsequent 48 hours that followed the explosions.

We were having a late lunch on Monday the 24th of April after a long day of snorkeling in a place called the blue hole ( a beautiful place to snorkel and dive might I add), that late lunch was in the same place of the 1st explosion, we ate and smoked shisha and were commenting on how this trip was more than relaxing and how we couldn’t believe that we had to go home the next day (Tuesday) little did we know what fate had in store for us.

A little bit after 7pm and with the sun going down we thought we’d better head back to neweiba3 (where we were staying) and maybe see (M)’s friends who were at a camp nearby.

On our way to the car and after a 2 minute walk we heard a big BANG, first thought that came to our minds was that this was a big firecracker and we were quite annoyed, then as we looked back to the source of the bang we heard a BIGGER BANG (probably cuz it was much closer to us) then we heard the screams and started running (the reason we ran cuz the explosions were like a sequence or something and they were heading our way, plus at the time you don’t think straight, had we been doing so we would have headed straight for the sea) so as we ran towards the street the third explosion was right in front of us.

I was about 5 steps or so (running steps) behind my two friends, being overweight finally came to my rescue, that plus a pack a day keeps the bombs away ( thank you for smoking/ nobody likes a quitter) as well, when the third explosion happened, I thought I saw (M) fall on the ground from the explosion (both he and (MO) were at the border of the smoke that resulted from the explosion.

I ran towards the sea at that point, looking around and struggling to find both of my friends, they weren’t anywhere in sight, and I thought (oh my God they killed them both, the fuckers killed them both) while another part of me was refusing to believe so and still hoping they were okay.

For those who are not familiar with Dahab, the sea is about 3 meters below the pavement, a slope of gravel towards the sea, I went up a little bit towards the pavement expecting to see the worst, (M) and (MO) lying dead on the ground or torn into pieces.

As I went up a little bit I became more visible and while shouting both their names and still not believing that this is happening again for a third time in Sinai (MO) saw me and called for me, I went back towards the small strip of beach to find (M)’s shirt filled with blood and washing his face in the sea and (MO) standing next to him holding him steady, I asked him if he was okay and he told me he was bleeding from his face (at first I thought his nose was bleeding from the smoke but then I saw the cut on his nose and cheek)

The beach was filled with foreigners hugging each other and their little kids crying their eyes out and terrified of what’s happening, scarred for life from what happened for sure.

(M) laid on the beach and rested his head on the gravel, I stayed with him while (MO) went to find a clinic or hospital or doctor to see what we can do with (M)’s facial injury all three of us fearing (M) maybe scarred for life. He returned 10 minutes or so later telling us to follow him, we crept alongside the beach (the safest place at the moment) and took a shortcut through one of the numerous camps scattered alongside the beach to find ourselves at the main street and away from all the carnage.

I took my car and passed by both guys and we even took a guy and a girl with us who were going to the hospital, as soon as we arrived at the Dahab hospital we were greeted with hoards of people again crying their hearts out and the hospital entrance was scattered with dead bodies and half humans and people with missing limbs and then you realize how lucky you were that only one of you was cut in his face and the other two escaped unscathed.

Realizing that nobody in the tiny Dahab hospital was going to have time for someone with a potential scar on his face with the dead bodies and the hundreds injured we decided we should seek treatment elsewhere, Sharm’s hospital was receiving injuries as well so we ruled it out and we decided to go back to neweiba3 to get first aid until we get back to Cairo as soon as possible in order to have a professional (preferably a plastic surgeon) take a look at it

It took us about 2 hours to get out of Dahab’s check point as they were only passing dead people and big injuries on their way to sharm, we parked and walked about 1 km (barefoot, both me and (MO) lost our slippers when we first started running only (M) had his on, says more about quiksilver flipflops than it does about Gap flip flops and nike slippers), anyway we walked about 1 KM towards the check point and explained to the officer ( a young officer but highly efficient one) that our friend needed stitches and he let us pass after taking all our details and my car’s details.


We were the probably the first or among the first cars to get out of Dahab on their way to Neweiba3 (most of the other cars went to Sharm, the ones with the serious injuries) that shouldn’t have been a problem on it’s own but the fact that we had an injured person in the car and the fact that both the Taba and the Sharm bombings had an injured party this resulted in an automatic red flag for the government, it’s now a standard procedure to report any injured person in a bombing in Egypt, (you’d think that if I am the one detonating the bomb I’d have the presence of mind to get away from the bomb)

So we passed one checkpoint (the saint katerine one) and we went to the newiba3 hospital for some first aid for (M) then passed another checkpoint (the newiba3 checkpoint) we stayed for about 20 minutes at that checkpoint where they took our id’s and did some background checks on us then we went to our camp, packed our stuff from the hut, and went to the main hut/reception to hand in our keys and checkout.

Then we hit the road…

We started the road at about 12:30 am Tuesday, and passed the Taba checkpoint with no problems, then about 50 km later at the Nakb checkpoint all hell broke loose.

We were stopped at the nakb check point and they searched my car thoroughly and took the injured (M) upstairs to meet a high ranking officer to talk about the incident since we were the first witnesses to make it through this checkpoint (or so they said)

We were asked about half a dozen times about the incident, and what we saw to which we replied and clearly mentioned that (M) needed surgery for his face so as not to scar, they kept us there and treated us very well for about 1-2 hours then when we wondered what was the delay for they told us that there was a police warrant for (M) regarding the incident that needed to be cleared up we didn’t believe it first until they showed us the actual report/warrant and even though the report was in his name it did state a different car than mine so we were sure that it was a small mix up or similar names that would take another hour max, but when that hour did pass and nothing new happened I phoned my father and told him I will be late and explained the mix up, then at about 6am another officer came in and took our mobile phones and we were isolated from the real world. (we started to panic about then)

When my dad phoned me and found no reply he was worried sick and decided to travel to Sinai (about 600km drive) he left cairo about 11 pm (both (M)’s and (MO)’s parents didn’t know we were in Dahab because my friends didn’t want to worry them

Then we were left at the small room in that checkpoint for about 5 ½ hours until about 11:30 am Tuesday morning, where another officer came in and told us we were going back to neweiba3.

And we stayed in newiba3 untill about 2pm till the orders came to take us back to dahab for further questioning, which lasted about from 4pm till 1:30am the next day (Wednesday morning)

Overall the entire experience lasted 48 hours with a 22-23 hour interrogation in the middle (But truth be told we were never abused physically by the police during any minute in the 23 hours even though at some point in the interrogation we were suspects) seems like not all the horror stories we hear about the police are true, sometimes they can be humane.

It’s the mental abuse that gets to you (not knowing what you’re in for, lack of sleep, lack of food, and the anxiety and worry about your injured friend) we were cracked a long time before the interrogations were through.

I am simplifying the story, skipping a lot of details for reasons of anonymity and because I don’t know how much I am authorized to say about what happened

I still don’t believe that we became prime suspects in the bombings because of what happened, (I guess that makes me “THE kareemfromegypt” ) because we cared about our friend’s face and didn’t want him to be scarred for life, talk about bad luck. At the same time I believe the police were doing what they had to do, however late they were in doing it, I still can’t blame them for most of what they have done. I have a lot of views about what happened but at this time I choose to keep them to myself. Maybe I’ll talk about them later, maybe I can tell them face-to-face to some of you, I’ll definitely tell Cup Of Malice about it later when he comes on vacation or when I travel to Dubai whichever comes first.

In the end I’d like to add that maybe I haven’t given this post it’s due but the main reason is not laziness as much as it is FEAR, yes after what happened I am afraid to talk about it, I am became a coward and I have good reasons, just can’t talk about them in a blog.

Take care…


Crazy Girl said...

wow...what an awful experience to go through. Im glad your friends are alive and only had minor scars. I don't think there is anything anyone can say to make what you went through any easier..Take it easy..

Cup of Malice said...

You have laid claim to the adage that truth is stranger than fiction. You should have come down here for vacation you stupid git!

spanish_moza said...

Hi Kareem,

I think that the three of you were born again last week...
I just don't have words to express how these kind of terrorists acts make me feel...brrrr.
I'm happy you'r "OK", I mean, physically.
I've been reading your blog for a while now, and I was worried when you didn't show up these days, you know... I was checking your blog everyday.

I suppose that it will take time for you to get over it. I honestly think that you're really brave to talk about it.

Keep on posting :-))

johny bravo said...

Good You're alive.Some psychological Fear/instability is ok after what happened.You've been through a real terrible experience that you can bravely talk about now.I'm happy you're fine.Take your time and keep posting, I'll follow your posts,don't be lazy:)

Anonymous said...

There isn't much one can say after reading such types of incidences. All I can say is that you were given a chance to not become one of the victims and pass on, but something to look forward to and that's, how fragile and beautiful it is to be alive.

KareemFromEgypt said...

yasmina: thanks again

Cup Of Malice: no time for vacation you know that it's tough for me to get time off except in late july/early august, thanks for the sentiment, i'm still trying to work on taking some time off, will let you know about any uppdates

Spanish moza: thanks for your concern, it feels good to be alive and i think this incident brought all three of us closer, hope you work things out with your arab prince, if you ever come to cairo let me know

raghood: again thanks for your support, hashoof mawdoo3 being lazy dah ba3dein, right now i am taking it easy and one step at a time. you didn't tell us what happened with the meeting of the sisters

sam: again you're absolutly right, i was talking with my 2 friends and they confirmed to me what i said, that had we been 10 seconds back or 10 seconds infront it would have been bye bye kareem, we were at exactly the right place and i guess God has a bigger plan for us

forsoothsayer said...

dude! hugs.
incidentally, the way you were treated in countries wit hthe rule of law is called coercion. if u say anything under those circumstances, it's not evidence because it was extracted by pressure. bas why am i even bothering...
7amdella 3ala el salama.

KareemFromEgypt said...


exactly, why bother

maybe one's better off leaving this country for good