Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sinai (email from Amy)

After a very cold excursion to Sinai (it was -5 Celsius at the Bedouin camp where we stayed and -18 on the mountain) we have made it back safely to Cairo. We did climb Mount Sinai, although we didn't do it for sunrise or sunset (neither of us had proper clothing to manage such a cold trek so we did it all during daylight hours.) Bizarrely, it turns out, Sinai is almost exactly like Namibia (although maybe a bit colder.) The wood fires, bitterly cold winter nights, desert landscape, even the attitude of the people reminded me of my home for the past two years. It was a nice place to stay, especially after the trip over there.

We stayed at a town called Hurgada on the Red Sea coast, although we nicknamed it "Babylon" and "Vanity Fair" alternately. It was a bizarre place. I don't know that I've ever been in a place as fake. It was packed full of Eastern European tourists wearing wildly inappropriate clothing and gaudy tourist traps. After an overpriced night in a shabby hotel without hot water we boarded a ferry to the Sinai peninsula. I am not sure that I have ever been as sick in my life as I was on that ferry. I was, quite honestly, sitting in the bathroom praying for it to end almost the whole time.

On the way back we took a minibus and passed through a bunch of security checkpoints. At one point all of the men had to get out and empty out their luggage (I was the only one who didn't have to, although they just did a cursory check of Pat's little bag with passports and everything. Now we're back to civilization. We took showers, which was really nice after three days without and we've got one more full day in Cairo, then I say goodbye to Pat and go on to Thailand, the last destination on this whirlwind tour of the world.

Hope everyone there is doing well. Stay warm.

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