02 August 2006

Mt. Sinai and Dahab

Hey Everyone,

I'm here in the beach town of Dahab and it is amazing. I tried 4 times to upload my pictures, but I think this computer isn't able to do it. I'l try when I get back to Cairo. We left Cairo early Monday morning and drove to the small town of St. Katherine. There are only 3 people on our tour (including me and Debi) so the service is absolutely amazing. We had a private bus, our tour guide, our local tour guide, 2 bus drivers, and a personally armed police man with a 2 foot long uzi. I later found out that Americans travelling in the Sinai must have an armed guard with them all times in the road. It's great, we had our own personal security detail.

St. Katherine is a small nomadic town at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

The hotel we stayed at was very posh. There was a huge pool, and we had balconies overlooking the pool. The room itself was gigantic, with TV, desk, nice bathrooms and was great. In order to climb Mt. Sinai before it is too hot and to see the sunrise from the top, we wake quite early.

Our wake-up call was at 2AM! We started climbing at about 3AM. The way up takes the average traveller about 2-2.5 hours, I was quite happy that first, I made it and that 2nd, I made it under 2 hours!! Armed with chocolate and about a gallon of water, we hit the mountain. The view from the top is absolutely amazing, you can see the entire valley and see the beutiful desert change color. This is the spot where Moses suppossedly recieved the 10 commandments. It's also the site of Elijah talking to God and "The Burning Bush." Of course before the sun rises, it is quite cold (about 60) and then it gets quite hot (90s) almost immediately after the sun rises. Another 2 hours to get down and we had breakfast at about 9. So, all before 9 AM we climed a mountain and saw many historical sights.

We then drove another 2 hours to the beach town of Dahab. It's a great town with amazing beaches, snorkling, and diving. We rode Camels on the beach and did some snorkling. You can swim right up to the corals that surround the Red Sea. The view is also amazing, you can even see land across the Red Sea and you are looking at Saudi Arabia! We couldn't dive until today because you can't be in extreme altitudes (mountain) and extreme depths (deep sea diving) within the same 24 hours.

A quick nap and we went out to get drinks and an amazing dinner. For about $20 we were stuffed with fish, calamari, mussles, humus, baba ganuj, and a great sherbert dessert. They even gave us a free Shisha (Hookah) to smoke at the end of our meal.

Today, we went diving (my first time) and it was awesome. After squeezing into my wet suit, and loading up all the gear we walked in from the beach. The views were awesome. Again, the coral amazing, plus you can see so many different types of fish and sealife. The plan today is to just lie by the pool and soak in some sun.

Lastly, if anyone has been to Turkey, I"m looking for ideas. I'm spending a month there and I don't have a plan yet. I've heard good and bad things about Fez tours who run a Turkish bus-a-bout. Or should I try to do stuff on my own. Also, I heard Greece is easily accessible as well as Romania (seeing transylvania would be awesome). Please e-mail me with suggestions (espeically if you've been to the region). Thanks everyone.


Anonymous said...

Sure..you're trekking across the middle east, laying by pools, climbing mountains while armed with chocolate. But you're missing out on the cement-lined-"beaches" of NYC, sweltering subway platforms shared with 1,000 NYers. I'd upload some pictures of sweaty people, but you might miss home too much. -PQ (I luuuuv you!)

Anonymous said...

Jonathan...your day sounded amazing! im glad you are having a good time. Stay safe!

Melissa said...

that's it, i'm hiring my own guard with an uzi to follow me around.