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November - December 2008:
Middle East (Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt) (498 photos)
Egypt: Sinai Mountain / Sharm-El-Sheikh
Today we travelled from Jordan to Egypt. Fact is that one could quickly get there on land, however in order to do with one has to pass a strip of Israeli territory (Port Eilat on the Red Sea)
Some of the people had gotten sick the previous day, and now had to reserve strategically better seats in the front of the bus.
On the way, we got to see a sandstorm.
From our vantage point on the ship, we were able to see four different countries at once: Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt. Each of these wanted access to the Red Sea, so that if it weren’t for the borders dividing the countires one could easily pass through all four within twenty minutes.
We were lucky enough to see dolphins here, however it didn’t seem appropriate to rush for cameras to depict this during mass, so unfortunately there is no photographic evidence of this.
We managed to make it to the city before Mt. Sinai just before nightfall. There was no internet, however I went into town where I located a small internet café. By this point I was used to their computers, always at a state easily ready for the dump – however still better than nothing.
The long trips and constant lack of sleep here made themselves known. If it weren’t for the constant demand to check my e-mail, I might have been able to set aside more time for such personal purposes.
Because of this, I resigned from the visit to the Sinaj Mountain that night, choosing instead to get a long night of sleep and take a morning jog the next dawn.
Today we arrived in Sharm El-Sheikh, where we were given a one-day break.
On the way we got to view the beautiful sight of Synaj from the mountains.
Sharm El-Sheikh is the largest tourist centre in all of Egypt. It is picturesquely set by the Red Sea – one of the largest coral reefs in the world.
Here, there are many resorts and hotels. The desert’s borders actually approach the sea itself, so all of the industrialistic buildings are crowded around this same meeting point.
In the evening we managed to organize a small gathering around two bottles of wine. For the first time, I tried smoking a local pipe – not bad, under the condition that you keep some reasonable limits.
Sharm El-Sheikh and the flight to Luxor.
Today we set out on a boat to attempt snorkeling. Only two of us from the group had ever dived (after our trip to Puerto Rico my eagerness for it, however, vanished…) so I, along with everyone else, were content with snorkeling.
It took us over an hour to find a free ship which we could take to a suitable snorkeling ground.
By the time we arrived at the first of these places, at least another hour had passed. By the journey’s conclusion, however, easily half the people on the ship returned with green faces and lacking the breakfast they had consumed earlier that day.
Oddly enough, I was not part of this unhappy group.
We snorkeled mainly in two places, each no more that a few meters from shore. I’m not sure why the boat was necessary at all, killing so much time waiting for and sailing with it when we easily could have arrived in the same places from the beach, particularly considering our hotel had one of the nicest beaches.
Still, we managed to fit some swimming into our trip, and the snorkeling was easily just as good as it had been in Hawaii or anyplace in the Caribbeans.
It’s only a pity we couldn’t have stayed there a day or two longer.
In the evening we had our flight to Kairu, from where we took a connecting flight to Luxor.
We ended up arriving in our hotel well after midnight. It was much too late for everyone, especially considering that we had to leave it several short hours later for two full days of visiting.