On our second day in Dahab, Kyndall and I decided to walk along the water longer on our way back to the villa. When we cut up some backstreets, we met a couple of young boys. They were so joyful. As we took pictures and showed them our cameras, two other boys appeared, then a few girls, and then some women.
With their minimal English, they invited us to come in for tea. Kyndall was, understandably, a little apprehensive to accept their invitation. While stranger danger is a very real thing, I didn’t feel uneasy about this family. I think I would have felt very differently if they had been men asking us to drive off with them. You just never know when someone is going to take advantage of you as a foreigner. That said, if you avoid every invitation from someone you just met, you will miss out on wonderful, authentic travel experiences.
The Bedouins are a nomadic people of the desert. Part of their culture is to host wanderers for three days before asking questions about their purpose. I don’t know the extent of this tradition, but I really felt that they just wanted us to feel welcome. These lovely people tried to get to know us despite our language barrier. They were happy to just watch us enjoy our tea (which had more sugar in it than any glass of tea I’ve ever had in my life) and see us smile.
As the sun set, they asked us if we had ever had Bedouin bread. Within moments, we were invited to watch the process. It was just like watching Turkish women prepare gozleme.
When we returned to our spots in the other room on the rug that rested directly on the gravel, eating our bread, we continued to meet more family and friends. I was surprised how many men came to sit with us. For some reason I thought they would not join us. Several of them were also dive masters, so their English was significantly stronger than their female counterparts.
When we decided to get on our way, we thanked our hosts and were handed a bag of bread to take with us. We hugged and kissed each of the women, but I didn’t gather that this was as natural to them as it would be in Turkey. I enjoyed that bread for breakfast the next morning and reflected fondly on our experience for the remainder of the week.