March 03, 2011

10 + 11 September 2011

There was some confusion with the time today. Egypt uses daylight savings during Ramadan and this meant some of our group missed the things they had booked for as the hours changed back.

The rest of us didn’t do much for the day. Hung around at “Same Same”, packed, had dinner and got on the truck at 7pm to drive to Mt Sinai. We arrived at about 9pm(ish). We started the climb shortly after.
For me, ambition outweighed ability and I ended up stopping at one of the drink stations about a kilometre up. It was okay though. Ange got a camel to the top and I’m glad she did. Kate told me Ange was upset about going on without me, but I’d rather she go on like she did than give up something she really wanted to do.
Rest Point where I stopped. Photo borrowed from the lovely Penny Hall
I put my sleeping bag out and managed to get a couple of hours worth of sleep. At quarter to 2, hundreds, perhaps a thousand people started filing through. I gave up on sleep at that point.
At one point there was a group of about 15 Egyptian women and a young guy sitting at the station. I was watching the hand gestures and the pointing, being made by the women, going on between me and the guy. They asked where I was from and how old I was. I liked about my age and that seemed to put them off. At about 5am I was sick of the snickering so I went outside. Pretty sure they were tying to match make for the poor boy.

Shortly after I went outside a group of voices started to be heard from where I was now sitting. I’d been dozing when a young man appeared in front of me and asked if I’d mind moving spots as they needed the wall for prayers. I got up, smiling at the man. I felt a little silly I hadn’t worked it out myself. The group of about 20 prayed at the wall for maybe fifteen minute as the sun came up. It was incredibly special and very powerful. I felt quite lucky to have experienced it. As the group started to move off and continue up the mountain, the same young man thanked me for moving for them. He kind of bowed at me and I didn’t really know how to respond, so I just smiled at him again and nodded my head.

Start of the Sunrise from my spot

Sleeping Camel. Hateful creatures.
It took a while before I saw anyone from our tour coming down, based solely on the number of people while I was waiting I talked to two ladies, one Italian and one Indian. They were both lovely. The Italian lady had just been in Australia for 3 months travelling and had only reached Egypt a week before we did.

From the top. Photo borrowed from ACP
Downward journey. Photo borrowed from ACP

Once we were back on the bus we headed for Cairo via the Suez Canal. We arrived crossing over the River Nile and it was incredibly exciting. The bringer of life that I’d heard so much of was right in front of me. It was amazing to come across so much green amongst so much nothing. And in saying nothing, I can’t help but think of my anthropological background and realise that for the people who have always lived in this environment, it is more than nothing to them.

The Suez Canal. Photo borrowed from ACP

The hotel we stayed at has been one of the nicest so far. Helen shared with us cause of the odd number of people. This first night there though was bittersweet as Kate and Penny were leaving the tour to head for Spain. Plus Penny’s wedding is getting close so she’s a wee bit excited.

We also met the newbies. Ange yelled across the room “we’re going to be BFF’s”. One of the new guys started quoting Kath and Kim so I new he and Ange would get along fine. Didn’t end doing much. Got KFC from some deaf shop and went to the internet cafĂ©.

From Ange

Um… that deaf shop was a community care KFC that employs people with hearing disabilities. It was awesome – the staff were so much fun compared to the pomply 15 year olds you usually get at those places.

Anyways. My Mt Sinai experience was interesting. My first ride on a camel came unexpectedly. It was quite scary. I was very brave. I climbed the 750 steps of redemption. I was very proud and slightly sore, but it was all worth it in the end, or so I thought. We set up camp right on the edge of the cliff, all cuddled up and waited for morning. I got a few hours sleep, despite all the chitter chatter from other tourists. I mean really, rude. Kate went crazy on them, flashing her torch about and yelling “sshhh!!”. At about 4:30am sleep was over. The thousands had finally made it to the top and all wanted the best spot to watch the sunrise. Unfortunately for them we were in that spot. Sucks to be them. The sunrise, while beautiful, didn’t bring on any epiphanies. I tried to write my own 10 Commandments; “Thou shallt not step on sleeping tourists”. Just after the sun rose, the place cleared quickly. Around the same time I got the attack of the tummy bug again. Fun. Tip. Never use the drop toilet at the top of Mt Sinai. It made me vomit so I had it coming out all ends. This is what made me take twice as long to get down the mountain. Butt clenching doesn’t help and neither does stomach cramps, while trying to go down a cliff with no pushes and thousands of people. Fingers crossed it’ll give me a good arse.


  1. Oh Ange. She makes it sound so wonderful and spiritual! ;)
    Amazing photos Brooke!

  2. Good times Brooke! This brought back memories! Was great to read xx Penny