Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Okay, ridiculous again, I know. I've been home for two weeks and still haven't told you I lived to make it off Mt. Sinai? Well, all drama aside, it's been a crazy couple weeks at home, lots of sick kids (and sick me), parents working a lot...so here I am on a Wednesday night two weeks after my return to tell you: Sinai was AMAZING. Religious or not, the idea of climbing up a mountain in the middle of the night and watching the sunrise is a defining moment. It's so worth it, if you ever feel the crazy notion yourself to try it. I think any mountain will impress you, but this one certainly was breathtaking. I befriended a lovely young lady from London, Lisa, who was in the same bus as me to go to Sinai. We had a group of about 9, but we ditched the rest to climb at our own pace. 2000 meters and about 2 hours later, we were standing on the top of darkness, breathless from the hike and the unbelievable amount of stars. There's really nothing on the entire Sinai peninsula bright enough to diminish the sky, so you have 180 degrees of stars.
We settled ourselves in a little niche in the rock, and waited for another hour and a half for the sun to come up. It's really cool to do highly memorable things with absolute strangers; you find out a lot about yourself and others too. There's a pic of me and Lisa (in case you couldn't guess) and a couple of the sunrise. Pictures can't possibly do it justice though, so I highly recommend you try the experience for yourself. After the sun had fully crested the horizon, we began the equally-long trek down. It's a little disenchanting seeing as there are probably a couple hundred other people on any given day, and some of them have very poor manners, but we waited them out at the top, and headed down the slippery, dusty road slowly. By the time you reach the bottom the sun is scathingly hot, and it's hard to believe that three hours before you were gratefully bundled under a wool blanket with five layers wrapped tightly around you. Like I said, highly memorable.
The rest of my time in Egypt was fairly uneventful. I spent my afternoon wandering calmly around Dahab, chatting with my new friends (people in Dahab are SO hospitable), and soaking in the peace. Another night bus back to Cairo, a tough fight with the scandalous taxi drivers to get to the airport, a four hour delay for our flight (that only took four hours as it was), and I was back to Italy, and feeling more at home than ever before. Truly a trip I will never forget. I hope this year never ends...