Published: October 18th 2011October 19th 2011
I'm back!!! And sitting in my bungalow room by the beaches of the Red Sea, able to see across to the mountains of Saudi Arabia. Life is terrible, isn't it?
I finished last time just before we headed to the sleeper train again. I had a nap in the afternoon, and I think I pinched a nerve in my elbow or something, because I couldn't straighten my arm past 90 degrees. We all thought we'd have a go at first aid while the train was moving, so I got it bandaged up and in a sling. It actually really helped- and now I am able to sit here bandage and sling free! :-)
The sleeper train arrived on time, but I think the driver was either learning, or drunk. Every 5 minutes or so we'd feel a big bump as the train was breaking- no one knows why we had to stop so many times! So we arrived into Cairo about 2 hours late (why not stick with tradition, yes?). We spent the rest of the day checking out the Citadel, Khan el Kalili (a massive market place) and then back to the hotel. At Khan el Kalili we
needed a body guard with us, because it's not particularly safe for 15 tourists to be walking around!!! We were in and out pretty quickly, but some people wanted to shop- so, of course, I obliged by sitting in a cafe drinking a mint and lemon drink (or 2...).
The next day we left Cairo at the ungodly hour of 0500, and headed towards St Catherine. This involves passing the Sinai border. ***fun fact alert!!!: Egypt actually spans over Africa and Asia- the Sinai region being the Asian part.*** DFAT says Sinai is the region to stay away from, but there were so many armoured tanks and dudes (soldiers) around- they were pretty much the only other people there! We weren't allowed to take photos while crossing the border- so, of course, some people still did. While we were driving along (and had passed the major check points, so we were able to take photos...) we could see little shacks along the side of the road. The other people on the tour were asking what they were- I didn't have the heart to tell them that there were armed soldiers in there too!!! (I could see a few barrels
Poor quality, but it's the furthest back- the really tall one around the middle
pointing out the 'windows'- good detective work, no? haha)
St Catherine was interesting... the hotel lobby was lovey, and it even had a pool!!! I'd say it would have been our best accommodation yet, if not for the insect infestation in our room!!! We spotted earwigs, crickets (complete with nest), spiders and maggots. It was like a where's wally of bugs- soooo not cool!!! Mo and I both slept in our sleeping bags on top of our covers- I refused to use the bathroom.
We spent yesterday arvo/evening climbing Mt Sinai. If you don't know anything about Mt Sinai, I suggest you google it, but a quick run down- some dude called Moses apparently got the 10 commandments while he was up there. I think Moses was an incredibly motivated individual to have made it up the mountain at all!!! It is massive. I have added a photo of it, but it's pretty poor quality, and we were already 1/4 of the way up. We headed up to see the sun rise. 2 hours of hiking, and 700 uneven rock stairs later I reached the top (3rd out of 15!!! I was so proud hehe). The view was
Waleed and me
amazing- and it was great to actually move my body again!!!
This morning we left the lovely hotel at St Catherine (such a shame!...) and after seeing the St Catherine monastery headed here- to Nuweiba. It's not a bad place to be!!! Good food, alcohol (which is a rarity in egyptian hotels!), a fantastic view, and a couple of sand fights later I'm ready to meet the group for dinner. Calamari and banana and chocolate pancakes for me!!! (we had to pre-order the food- I totally forgot we are having a surprise birthday cake for one of the ladies here. Too bad I have had next to no appetite for the last week!!! i.e. 3-4 mouthfuls of food per meal. If I don't lost weight here, it will never happen! haha)
Tomorrow we board the ferry for Jordan. I will be sad to say goodbye to our guide Waleed- he's been absolutely fantastic. But I am totally psyched about seeing Petra, and all of the wonderful sites Jordan has to offer!
Dinner time. Watch this space ;-)
There are more photos below