Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Kodak Agfa Presents: A quick visit to Egypt’s North Coast in 2020

As we are starting summer, here are some vibes from 2020 summer when Kodak Agfa and family managed to take some time off and headed for the North Coast.

We headed to North Coast’s Sidi Abdel Rahman.

This is how it looks like.

Egypt's Ghazala bay in North Coast
This is an Egyptian beach

Yes, this beach is in Egypt and not in the Maldives. I know it sounds cliché but I will use it anyway.

But first, there was a three-day- vacation in Porto Marnia but it was more of sick leave in August where I could not swim or stay long at the beach because I had a bad ear infection whose medication made me sleepy most of the time.

“It returned back this week mildly but thank God I treated it quickly”

Egypt's Porto Marina in North Coast
At Porto Marina and the other side of the lagoon Marina 

It was a good break thought and my camera accompanied me in that break.

I managed to get some good shots for the first time for the Golden Hour.

Egypt's Porto Marina in North Coast
Near the sunset at Porto Marina 

Porto Marina was probably the touristic project that brought the end of what was once the country’s most exclusive North Coast closed gated compound of Marina. 

Egypt's Porto Marina in North Coast
The yachts and speedboats marine in Porto Marina, you can rent those 

As Port Marina opened its doors with its big towers for the Upper Middle and Middle Class, the Upper Class of Egypt headed to the deep west to my favourite Sidi Abdel Rahman.

Its story as a tourist attraction started in the 1960s

El-Alamein hotel
Al-Alamein hotel before its complete makeover by Emaar Misr 

A small village near the Alamain, in the 1960s Nasser’s administration had plans to turn "Sidi Abdel Rahaman" into a tourist attraction and built a nice hotel aka Al-Alamein there with special villas for Gamal Abdel Nasser and Abdel Hakim Amar.

The crystal clear water and white sand make it amazing. 

A beach in Egypt's Sidi Abdel Rahman
The beach in Al Alamein hotel before Marassi complete makeover 

Yet it was far away from Cairo and the area lacked a lot of facilities, it did not attract people like the city of Marsa Matrouh which is after it in the far West.

Matrouh established itself as a resort city in the late 1940s I believe because it had all the facilities.

Nevertheless, Sidi Abdel Rahman attracted local tourists from Alexandria till the day came and it caught the attention of real estate developers in late Mubarak’s era whether Palm Hills “Owned by Mubarak’s in-law” or “Emirati Emaar” which leased or bought Alamein hotel as part of a huge mass of land surrounding it and turning it to its flagship North Coast gated community Marassi.

I went to Alamein Hotel in 2014 right before Marassi began its makeover to the hotel while they were selling the villas under construction there for LE 6,000,0000 in the old good days around the hotel.

Emaar spent on the surrounding area turning the village of Sidi Abdel Rahman into a city attracting other real estate developers.

Since then Sidi Abdel Rahman began to be the New Mariana attracting the Upper and Upper Middle Class.

Egypt's Ghazala bay in North Coast
A beach in Ghazala bay 

I remember as a child we used to go to Marsa Matrouh and how this area after Marina was a complete desert, a real desert. Now I saw how the desert turned into gated resorts. 

 I go with my family for the rented chalets or rather small apartments rented by their owners in those resorts. It is a growing grey market actually. There are no public beaches so far in the area unlike the rest of the world, unfortunately. 

Egypt's Ghazala bay in North Coast
The crystal clear water 

Last year we spent a week in September in one of those resorts in Ghazala bay.

Egypt's Ghazla bay in North Coast
The beach in September has fewer people 

Starting from Sidi Abdel Rahman, there are more several gulfs in the areas like Ghazala, Ceaser and Fouka with amazing white sand, fewer tides and calm shallow water for miles.
Egypt's Ghazla bay in North Coast
The beach in Ghazala bay 

The water was amazing and clean.

Egypt's Ghazala bay in North Coast
The water is so clear that you can see fish easily

These photos are to calm you down and give you some chill on the hot summer days.

Egypt's Ghazala bay in North Coast
Imagine your feet in the water right now 

A little chill out time in the blog with all the coronavirus news and ugly politics 

Egypt's Ghazala bay in North Coast
At Ghazala bay 

Interestingly this time, I swam for the first time with fish in the Mediterranean sea. Small fishes and what seemed to be its baby fishes too.

You can see the fish here in this mobile photo

Maybe it was the time to have their eggs hatch in September near the sandy beach. One of the fish made a small cut in my toe with its sharp fin, it hurt actually.

I do not think that I have published a photo for myself here but here it is somehow.

Egypt's Ghazala bay in North Coast
Myself by me 

Here is another short shaky video I shot with both my camera and iPhone and honestly it does not capture half the real beauty of this place. 

I could not take my Sony Alpha a6500 to the sea, I took the iPhone. 

There are few hotels in the area but believe me when I say that an average Egyptian adult’s stay in the hotel costs more than a whole trip in the far east above them Alamein Hotel, the renovation has a huge price tag for Egyptians.

In fact for any wise sane Egyptian unfortunately, it is more economical to have a tour in Europe visit several countries than to stay for a whole week in one of those hotels. It is insane.

Some of the chalets in those compounds are on and Airbnb

Here is my Vintage Travel Poster for the area. 

Visit Ghazala Bay 


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