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Here, there, everywhere... A modest attempt at chronicling my around the world adventure over the next year (or so).

a room on the roof, please

EGYPT | Saturday, 23 May 2009 | Views [904] | Comments [1]

arriving back in Cairo to complete our Indian visas we finally hooked up with Jessica's friend from Florence, Nardine. She is Egyptian, her fiancee Karem and their friends. They took us on the town and to different famous locations around Cairo. They were the best hosts and frankly made us feel like we were long lost friends or family members even though we had just met most of them for the first time. They are getting married in September and I know Jessica would love to come back for the ceremony.

After Cairo we traveled back to Sinai to climb Mt. Sinai. This was not a place on my travel radar but Jessica wanted to climb to the top. The best way/time is to leave around 3am and arrive at the top before sunrise. After catching the bus to the village outside of Mt. Sinai and St. Katherine's Monastery we found a Bedouin camp close to the beginning of the climb. We opted for a crappy room instead of pitching our tent because getting up at 2am would me much easier from a room then our tent. After a slow rise at 2am we made our way up the road to the monastery to begin the climb. We were stopped twice at the entrance by the "tourist police" saying we needed a guide. This was new to us having not read anything about this but they said some Russian tourist got lost for 8 days a few weeks back. After bluffing our way through (attaching ourselves to another group and frustrating the police) we started the climb. Despite being dark after about 10 minutes we both wondered how anyone could get lost climbing up because there are so many climbing in a big line with lights, some with camels and bedouins along the way. Two hours later and many throngs of people later we arrived at the top about 45 minutes before sunrise. We settled in a spot behind a rock to keep warm and await the sun. As we waited more and more people arrived at the top and by the time the sun rose there was at least 300 people at the tope, 2/3 of them Russian! Not sure why but it was a special place for Russians. On the way the top I became very disenchanted as I watched people throw trash along the trail and basically have no regard for the sanctity of this place (Moses, burning bush and Ten Commandments in case you did not know). Jessica always reminds me that many people come from other places where throwing trash on teh ground instead of in trash buckets is still ok. Ok I get that but what about sacred sites like this? One would think people could separate the everyday from the unique, oh well one campaign at a time. After taking many pictures as the run rose we had had our fill and made our way down quickly to the bottom. It was quicker on the decent and made it back to our camp for a quick morning snooze, some food then packed up. One surprise we did upon arriving the day before was that the bus to Nuweiba, our next destination, was no longer running due to lack of demand. The only way for us to travel the 100km to Nuweiba was to hitch or hire a taxi. THese Bedouin taxi drivers that we met the day kept showing up periodically to ask us. We decided to head to the crossroads and try our luck at hitching. WE met an Egyptian English teacher also waiting for a ride but to Dahab, where we had been one week prior and he helped us negotiate a taxi which we shared and dropped him off about 20km before Nuweiba. This was not too bad for us but about 4 times the price the bus used to be, oh well we made to Nuweiba after one stop for praying and tea. At the ferry office we bought our tickets for the following day to Aqaba, Jordan. After we caught a taxi to the beach camp areas of Nuweiba about 15 minutes from the port.

We found the "Soft Beach Camp" pretty quickly after the taxi ride including arguing with the driver about the price, of course. The camp had 45 huts that were on the sand and only about 20 feet from the water. We found a nice one(although overpriced we learned later) and dropped our stuff to walk into the little town. The town was quite dead we thought and it was sad to see so many restaurants trying to get the little business around. The beach and water in Nuweiba was much cleaner and nicer then Dahab so much so that we even went for swim and laid on the beach. For dinner we decided to splurge a little and found a place right on the water and ordered the fish dinner for two. It was huge, there was so much food and the fish(I forget the name of it) was very tasty). After this we waddled back to camp lulled to sleep by the waves. The next morning we packed and headed back to the port to catch the ferry. The office said to be at the port at noon because the ferry would leave around 2:30pm. Hah! We wish, we got there a little after 12:00 and finally left the port at 6:15pm! We knew it took longer then the 2.5 hours advertised but this was ridiculous. We also opted for the slow ferry it was cheaper and we actually left before the fast ferry which only had passengers. Even though we left before them they passed us about 45 minutes later. Our ferry finally arrived close to 10:30pm in Aqaba and after getting our temperatures taken at immigration(swine flu) and collecting our passports with visas we got ripped off in a taxi into the city. We were so tired and hungry by the, and the hotels were much more then our guidebook listed we opted for sleeping on the roof of some grubby hotel for the night knowing we were taking off for Wadi Musa the next morning. Welcome to Jordan! We slept on old matteresses under a metal canopy with a dirty bathroom and wind blowing all night. Not too bad and we survived not knowing it would not be our last sleep on a roof. Ciao...

Tags: amman, aqaba, mt sinai, petra, wadi rum



Hey houdyman! We liked your blog and decided to feature it this week in our "Popular Stories this month" so that others could enjoy it too!

Happy travels!

~World Nomads

  World Nomads May 25, 2009 2:03 PM

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