A Little Blue by the Red Sea

9 10 2008

From the Adventure Blogger’s blue period.

I have never seen the Loch Ness Monster or the Abominable Snowman and only once sighted a Flying Object that I couldn’t Identify. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t exist because I’ve also never seen a baby squirrel or pigeon…or a genuine piece of meat in a tin of baked beans and pork. However, there was one enigma whose existence I disputed until I actually spied it with my own eyes.    


Many years ago I saw a photograph of the Appalachian Mountains. It was an evocative image likely taken in the late afternoon that featured the summits at the front in a dark navy blue while those behind glided through all the degrees of the blue spectrum to a very pale hue in the distance.  The photo pre-dated the marvels of Photoshop, but I suspected that the photographer had used a blue filter.


Over time, I saw many similar images of different ranges of hills and mountains. Some were photos and some were paintings, sometimes in yellows or greens, other times in reds or my original blues. Regardless of the medium or colour, the view always caught my eye and presented a picture of unspoiled wilderness, tranquillity and Mother Nature at its finest.


A few years ago I was in Dahab, Egypt on the Red Sea coast. It was late afternoon, the sun was setting and I had dashed out to pick up some postcards before dinner. The streets were quiet and the shadows were lengthening. To my right lay the Red Sea and beyond faintly twinkled the first lights of Saudi Arabia. I continued my walk and crossed a small footbridge beneath which a seasonal stream made its way from the mountains and into the sea.


Midway across, I glanced to my left through the opening between the low white buildings and towards the Sinai desert…and stopped dead in my tracks.


In the previous days I had come to love the Sinai. The rugged, barren interior was a stark land of jagged peaks, rolling sepia hills and harsh desert. It was the land of the Bedouin and rich with biblical and modern history, intrigue and wild solitude. But as I stood and stared at the view, it was not the yellows, beiges and browns to which I had grown accustomed…but a myriad of blues.


The pallet from which it had been painted was the one from which Gainsborough had painted his boy and Picasso had dabbled during his famous period. It was a mixture of navies and royals, periwinkles and cobalts, egg shells and skies. It was the Appalachians and definitely not a mirage, filtered or Photoshopped. I reached for my camera to capture the scene that had so long captured my imagination only to realise I had left it in my room. Instead, I stood and drank it in with my naked eyes, watching the shades change with each moment of sunset.


Although I didn’t have a photo of the vista whose existence I had long doubted, it was forever emblazoned on my memory. I would never again question any similar photo or painting…or those abducted by aliens, chased by Sasquatch or stalked by the Yeti who survived with vivid accounts but, curiously in an age of camera phones and pocket point-and-shoots, no decent photos or video.



Photo and post by: Simon Vaughan










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