Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Diving in Egypt.....Again

The Straights of Tiran

For February break we needed to find some sunshine so we returned to Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt for a week of scuba diving.   Besides relaxing and reacquainting ourselves with the sun, our goal this trip was to certify as Rescue Divers.  For those non-diving readers, the international dive association (PADI) has various levels of diver certification, from kids beginner (Bubble Makers) to having the ability to teach others.  The three of us had our Advanced Diver Certification; Rescue Diver was the next step.

The jetty at our hotel.  It's not really supposed to slope into the water on the left, but it does.  

Our first step in this certification was to take a one day first aid class last month.  It took some time to find somebody willing to teach it in English, but the local dive shop finally came through using a Dutch EMT.  He did a great job -- the only hiccup was the first aid test was in Dutch.  So for us to complete the exam he had to orally translate 50 questions.  No small task, especially on the true/false where the exact wording is quite important.  Our training that day included learning how to use an AED.  Those things are really quite simple to operate.  It's like a GPS, there is an automated voice telling you what to do. In the end we all passed so it was on to Sharm for the water section of the class.

In the water we learned how to respond to various emergencies....diver passed out on the surface, panicked diver, lost diver, etc.  We'd discuss theory on the shore then the instructor would create a scenario that we had to respond to.  One of us would be the "victim' and the other two the responders.  It made for very busy and tiring days but it was well worth it.  The only true casualty was that during one scenario I lost Grant's mask.  Overall it was a great class.  Now you should all feel comfortable knowing that we can save you from a diving emergency.

Like our last trip to Sharm, we did absolutely no sightseeing and saw nothing cultural.  We stayed on the resort the entire time.  It's a little bit "Ugly American" but in that area there's nothing better to do than diving.

We did have one crisis on the trip, but it wasn't health related.  Lori was scheduled to fly from Germany to Amsterdam to join us at the airport for our flight to Egypt.  That morning there was a strike in Germany by the security folks who were seeking a 30% raise.  They were striking at a different German airport everyday that week and she timed it wrong.  But she had a back up plan; take the train which would get her into Amsterdam with hours to spare.  Except that they discovered a WWII bomb along the tracks in eastern Holland so the train had an unscheduled stop for several hours in the middle of the Dutch countryside.  The first estimate had her arriving with 15 minutes to spare.  Luckily, when the bomb was "handled" and the train restarted, they made up some time and she arrived 90 minutes before take off.

The beach area at the hotel.  Somebody's getting a massage in the near tent.    Hope he didn't mind being in my picture. 

Lori and Grant with our instructor, John

The day after our return to Holland it snowed.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Master Baker

Grant came back from band practice yesterday and announced that the saxophones were responsible for snacks at Jazz Band the next day.  He thought it would be a good idea to take cinnamon rolls.  I thought it was a good idea as well.  Only one problem.....Lori was out of town.

It is true that during our stay in Holland I have learned how to cook.  But it is also true that I have not learned how to bake....at least not very well.  So I told Grant he could take the rolls but he had to make them and I would help.  So we got out the recipe and dove right in.

After several hours of effort, many dirty dishes and two phone calls to Lori he had produced a pan of very nice looking cinnamon rolls.  We frosted them this morning and he took them to school.  Needless to say, the pan returned empty.  They were a big hit!