Archive for July 26th, 2007


Mt. Sinai

July 26, 2007

The mountain that supposedly produced the Ten Commandments, I knew that I had to climb it if I was coming all the way to Egypt.  So last night at around 11pm a van came to our hotel to pick Z, Grace, myself and several other backpackers up to drive us to the base of the climb.  We then were to ascend the camel trail to the top, sleep for a few hours under the stars and watch the sunrise.  And the bare-bones account of what we did was pretty much that, except the walk up was an obstacle course of dodging camels (both ascending and descending), almost running to keep up with our guide and being asked around 20 thousand times “camel? camel?” (this was even more delightful when one fell behind one’s group and the camel drivers would close in like vultures informing you that it was still very far to go and that it was very steep). 

But eventually we did indeed make it to the top where I was very glad for my fleece and knit skirt.  By this time it was around 4:30am, so the few hours of sleep were more like a few minutes of staring up at the starry sky while trying to prop my tired eyelids open.  One treat of the climb up was seeing (while taking a water break with Grace) the longest shooting star I have ever seen.  On the summit, the tourists were as thick as thieves and the vendors had changed their lines to “blanket, blanket, mattress?”.  Just as I was about to give in and “rent” another one I noticed that the sky was beginning to lighten in the east.  Soon we were all scrambling for position on rocks and walls all trying to get the best view of the sun.  As it rose it turned the sky a deep read and the mountains blue, a scene which quickly helped me forget the misery of the previous hours. 

After watching the sun rise, feasting on biscuits and nutella (hauled up the mountain by yours truly) we headed down although I took a detour to stand in the longest toilet line of my life.  This time we took the 3000 steps of repentance down which was a lovely change from the poo minefield of the camel trail and allowed us to travel almost entirely in the shade.  Plus it only took us an hour to descend, instead of 2 and half.  Once down though I quickly realized that my body had not missed the fact that it hadn’t slept in over 24 hours and we all crashed in the van for the 1 and 1/2 drive back to Dahib.

Next up is taking the bus down to Sharm El Sheikh tonight in order to do an introductory dive tomorrow morning and snorkeling off of the boat.  All this thanks to one of our Egyptian friends who is going to be able to get us a good deal at the dive center he works in.  Then it is back up to Dahib to continue our stay in our lovely hotel, snorkeling and then back to Cairo for the last few days of this crazy summer trip.