Lysergic dreams or “The pain and splendor of the forbidden fruit”

Lysergic dreams or “The pain and splendor of the forbidden fruit”

Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh
“The ability of the human brain to perceive such aching beauty makes us complicit in a real miracle.” ©


Let's not break tradition, let's talk about rubbish things.

Tour operator diktat

On the way to the hotel, the guide demanded our undivided attention. A sketchy introduction and a few routine jokes quickly turned into phantasmagoric stories about the need to meet with a hotel guide, as well as the exceptional importance of purchasing excursions only from an employee of the host company.

We listened with languid interest to sketches of the grim consequences of our disobedience: grotesque sketches of intimidation and fascinating detective stories full of grim warnings. All these attempts would have had greater manipulative success if they had not been interspersed with openly delusional lies. The lies were presented with such selfless pathos that it completely neutralized all previous achievements.

However, when the speaker skillfully maneuvered between the absence of a terrorist threat in general and its inevitability for all the worthless money-seekers who wanted to save miserable pennies on cheap excursions, I wanted to give a standing ovation. Like the conductor of the apocalypse, he masterfully played his part of psychological treatment. He appealed from conscience to vanity and from caution to fear. My favorite jokes: “insurance does not apply when buying someone else’s excursions” - but this, of course, is a classic. But the score says that if we don’t show up for the meeting with the guide, we will lose our return flight - this is pure impromptu.

While the accompanying Anex employee insisted on being heard, I thought about the fact that in this way people allow themselves to treat children, prisoners or the mentally disabled, in general, the unfortunate subtype is united by one thing - lack of respect on the part of the speaker.

However, he was convincing just enough that the next morning we attended the general gathering, successfully joined the free shopping tour and, TA-DAM!, became the happy owners of the “Super Offer!” - cruise to the Golden Reef with diving for ONLY $50 per person! (which leads to the obvious, but no less regrettable understanding of the fact that seeing that they have it does not mean avoiding it).

Needless to say, on the beach the same pleasure can be purchased for $35 (bargaining is appropriate).

The Excursion took place on the same day after lunch. Of the 5 hours spent on it, 3 were spent on passive-aggressive shopping, and the remaining 2 were equally divided between the road and the excursion program.


- like two-faced Janus. The façade is beyond all praise, but upon entering the rooms you notice the second “face” of the above-mentioned god (which is on “A”). And yet my grades are the highest. The hotel's large, well-groomed grounds are carefully planned, with labyrinths of white two-story villas rising on manicured lawns, in the embrace of carefully tended gardens. Giant cacti, external staircases, the intoxicating aroma of surfinias - everything is so toy-like with a Yucatan accent that came from out of nowhere (I swear, it’s all the fault of the giant cacti). I kept waiting for an old gnome to appear on one of the terraces, blowing smoke rings from his intricate pipe, or for a woman’s voice with a strong southern accent to start calling some Pedro from the balcony.
But there were no “Pedros” there. Perhaps “Petro”, because 99.9% of vacationers are Ukrainians. The audience is cheerful, as if Petrosyan’s concert had attracted its last full house.


You take your head, stupefied by unprecedented beauty, out of the aquamarine depths and a fierce Russian rapper falls on it. Cognitive dissonance of such strength causes a state of mild but stable psychosis. What are you, mysterious Sharm el-Sheikh?

Beach animator - affectionate purr. Plasticity and grace in a soft leather bottle. At the sight of my boyfriend, a kind of frantic endorphin rush began to boil within him, which turned the already playful boy into a springy, perky coquette. He radiated so much pheromones that he made us experience serious doubts about the righteousness of his sexual orientation (in connection with which, by the way, his heroic performance of bocce in a circle of Ukrainian pot-bellied men in criminal uniforms evoked involuntary respect).

In general, he was a bright and extraordinary spot on the face of a reassuringly unobtrusive and sluggish animation. I experienced incomparable pleasure watching him perform water aerobics, exercises or belly dancing. Amazement, awkwardness and tenderness - such a rare combination of emotions create a sensual cocktail that is rare in its combination.


I can admit with regret that healthy moderation left me and without any special regrets I sacrificed myself to gluttony. A carefully cherished healthy lifestyle has shrunk into an absurd mental concept in front of the gastronomic abundance of All-Inclusive. The temptation began with the tantalizing aromas of meat delicacies - an army of innocently killed animals, stewed, soaked in sauces, covered with spicy spices; roasting on an open fire or languishing under shiny lids on serving dishes, beckoning to taste the juicy flesh; and the matter was completed by a variety of side dishes, vegetables and salads, sweets, fruits, and criminally soft round buns covered with fragrant sesame... Defeated without a fight or resistance.


The water is so salty that it seems thick like jelly. Enveloped in aquamarine coolness, I float on the surface like... a foreign body. Hidden behind the panoramic plexiglass of a modern snorkeling mask, the depths of the underwater world open up in all its stunning splendor.

It’s like with childbirth - at some point you realize that people tend to underestimate or understate, or maybe the language is too poor to convey such a power of sensations.


The system of a modern snorkel mask is such that when the top of the snorkel is submerged, a light plastic ball floats up and blocks water from entering; At the same time, the charming vacuum in the respiratory tract will introduce you to the reaction of the hypothalamus to a threat to life. The strength of the panic attack depends on the personal abilities of the subject... In general, at some point I had to realize with utmost clarity that asphyxia was not on the list of fetishes that I was ready to practice on a regular basis.

A trip to the Golden Reef (aka Ras Mohammed Nature Reserve) was approaching. With diligent care, my imagination drew up probabilities for me, based on frightening facts and fear of the unknown. There are tons of water above your head, the surface is so far away and only the tube from the gas cylinder in your mouth gives you the opportunity to breathe. Live.

Fear is the long-time enemy of adventure, I have known it by sight for a long time and it cannot stop me, but spoiling the anticipation is welcome. I just wanted the anticipation to quickly turn into a memory)) And then day X came. The organizational genius of the Egyptian providers allowed us to enjoy the road and the delays for a couple of extra hours - no logic, no order. On the yacht we were given a short but thorough briefing - nothing complicated, especially since we had to dive with an instructor.

And so I pulled on a cold and wet suit like fish skin. There are chains tied around my belt, as heavy as the sum of my sins, and a worn scuba gear is placed on my back; The plastic tube is securely fixed in the mouth. It turned out to be surprisingly easy to breathe - I did not find any significant differences in the quality of the inhaled gas mixture. Jump, check, dive and "Hello, underwater world"!

My worries, like ripples on the water, no longer mattered underwater. The openwork pomp of the reef, its bright living beauty captured our attention undividedly (well, almost, the annoying photographer took up too much precious time, forcing us to take awkward poses for photographs that would never see the light of day). How incredible it is to become, at least for a while, part of the fish kingdom - both serene and fussy. Turn into an eccentric mermaid, find yourself in a fairy tale, where the scenery was lovingly arranged by God himself. This smooth, heavy freshness of the sea is the depths of the nutrient that bestows a colorful variety of life. Above the surface of the water, everything is dead and motionless, and below it are numerous fins, like wings cutting through three-dimensional space, sea anemones are breathing, sea worms are moving their tentacles, a marvelous skirt of a stingray curls over the sandy bottom, and the blue lips of a tridacnidae open in a vicious kiss. It was as if the surface tension of water turned out to be a portal, overcoming which you find yourself in another dimension. And neither physical discomfort nor the insidious feeling of fear can be an excuse to abandon this incredible adventure, because the human brain’s ability to perceive such aching beauty makes us complicit in a real miracle to which we have no right to say “no.”

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