Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Climb Up and Down Mount Sinai, and the Ensuing Breakfast

An integral part of our trip was the Mount Sinai climb. In the Bible, Mount Sinai's the place where Moses "met" God and received the Ten Commandments. The mountain we climbed may not have been the actual Mount Sinai (some theories suggest somewhere in Saudi Arabia, as opposed to the "Mount Sinai" we climbed in Egypt) but it was nonetheless a very AWESOME experience. (Egypt is so beautiful! Read about my pyramid experience here)

This is the view from the top. I think it is one of the moments I will remember for the rest of my life. It was just amazing to be trotting up a mountain on a camel and seeing the most beautiful sunrise. I mentally tape-recorded it!

And then we had to get off the camels and start walking up, because the steps became really steep. Bye, camels!

A man. On the mountain. Bow.

People trekking up

Nearer to the very peak – spectacular view

I really think I am one of the types who see God in nature (or maybe we are all of that type).

Some Bedouins ran shops in the mountain's crannies, selling blankets, coffee, and snacks. I had a Twix!

Vandalism, but pretty cool

And here I am, at the very, very, very TOP!

On the way down, we saw goats!

And this is my camel up close. He had very gorgeous eyelashes!

And here I am, with my very kind camel guide. My hands were really getting beaten up and were almost skinned from holding on to the camel's front pommel, when he offered to wrap his scarf thing around it! He took it from his head and actually wrapped it around the pommel, just to keep me from chafing my hands. He doesn't look very dashing, but I was extremely touched!

And here is part of the breakfast we had: suspicious sausages (that I did not touch and instead fed to my siblings), a triangle of cheese, some bread, a boiled egg. It wasn't really the epic athlete's rewarding breakfast (we DID hike up quite a distance, and the camel ride left me bruised) I would have wanted, but it made the whole Holy Land Tour's exodus route more real to me. 

This breakfast was at a small hotel in St. Catherine, Egypt, and the place was pretty dingy.* I guess the experience at said small hotel made Israel (the next stop of the tour) all the more awesome and amazing. Obviously, the Israelites weren't staying in hotels and having buffet meals while they were making their pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but my point is that I felt some very, very small semblance of what they must have felt, allowing me a new understanding of what it meant to be in the "Promised Land" that was Israel!** I escaped from the "rustic"*** hotels of Egypt into the gorgeous, luxurious ones in Israel. The stay in the "interesting"*** hotels only made the change of environment seem more drastic, and me more grateful!

Also some bean paste sauce thing, pretty good actually.

And some more bread and a bit of cheese and half an egg.

Cheers and love,

*by pretty dingy I mean... pretty dingy.
**But I love Egypt. It is a very beautiful country with such rich history! I would stay in those hotels all over again if it means I get to see the sights once more! 
***Euphemisms for, um, "not exactly very clean." Not a crispy starched sheet or a clean, fluffy white towel in sight.


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