Mount Sinai

2 Nov

We took a taxi from Port Nuweibi to a place called Dahab upon arriving in Egypt. We slept a couple hours to recover from the ferry ride then went scuba diving. We walked into the water from the shore. The coral reef was right there. It was spectacular, colorful, and full of fish. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing in restaurants and lounges on the water. We had to allow our bodies to decompress (or whatever) after diving. Our next stop would be Mount Sinai, and, not wanting our ears to explode (or whatever), we couldn’t climb the mountain immediately after diving. So, we waited.

We took a taxi from Dahab to St. Catherine’s in the afternoon. We had planned to tour St. Catherine’s Monastery then return to our hostel to rest before heading to the mountain at 3 am to hike to the top to watch the sunrise over the desert. Things did not go entirely as planned.

There were several military checkpoints along the way from Dahab to St. Catherine’s. We were waved through most of them without a problem. At one of them, however, we were stopped for quite a while. We showed them our passports and everything seemed to be in order till they asked us to step out of the car.

We were walked to the commander of the checkpoint’s office, but they said only one of us could go inside. Eric waited outside. I was escorted in.

I was greeted by a stern-faced man who liked to keep his hand gun on top of his desk. It was half an arm’s length away from him, and the barrel was pointed directly at me. He asked me several questions in a style in which he was trying to be as intimidating as possible (surely the gun was enough to accomplish this). Then, he thought about all of my answers and concluded tourists on the way to climb Mount Sinai and then on to Cairo the following day seemed like a reasonable enough truth. We were allowed to proceed on the condition we took the 6 am bus from St Catherine’s to Cairo tomorrow. We agreed.

Upon arriving at our hostel we were informed we wouldn’t be able to witness sunrise on the mountain and make it back down in time to catch the 6 am bus (as it turns out, it was the only bus leaving for Cairo the following day anyway). Also, St Catherine’s Monastery was closed for the day. We wouldn’t be able to tour the monastery, but we could still hike Mount Sinai and watch the sunset, only we had to leave immediately, and we had to hurry.

We rushed out of the hostel, secured a guide, and hiked up Mount Sinai as quickly as we could. No rests, no breaks. It was worth it, however, when we reached the top just in time for sunset. We took the obligatory pictures with smiles and then Moses-style pictures. And that was about it. It got dark, and we hiked back down. We ate dinner at the hostel and went to bed in order to wake up early the next day for our trip to Cairo.

It was rushed, but it was worth it. Climbing Mount Sinai was great. Sunset over the desert was terrific. It was a good experience.

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2 Responses to “Mount Sinai”

  1. Dan December 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    Your inability to fulfill my fantasy of Dane as an action hero leaves me in tears

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