Saturday, December 05, 2009

[Egypt Day 9] Mt Sinai climb - Suez Canal - Cairo

Could not really sleep during the night. Blamed it on the cold room, my runny nose and the super hard mattress. Morning call was a simple knock on the door at 1am. We got dressed with layers and layers of clothes, wore our socks and gloves and hats, and brought along our torch light as well as walking stick we rented from nearby stall the night before. Met up with the rest of the folks and then we took a 7 minutes bus ride to the starting point.

From the starting point, we walked 15 minutes to St. Catherine monastery. And then it's 7km climbing up to the last station. Every few kilometers there were small cafeteria selling snacks and hot drinks at outrageous prices. Camels were standing by at the side too, offering ride to whoever felt like giving up. From the last cafeteria, it was another 750 arduous steps to the top of the mountain.

I chose to stay at the last cafeteria instead of climbing up to the top, and I did not regret my decision. According to those who went up, the last steps were grueling, the wind chilling, and they needed to fight for space with other 3000 or so people. And according to our local Bedouin guide, the sunrise view from the top was not as nice as the one we had from the cafeteria. Haha.

After the sun rose, it was not as cold as before. We walked down slowly as we needed to pay attention to where we step, to avoid a slip due to sand, as well as to avoid those camel dung. The paths were not for the faint-hearted. They were rocky, slippery and hazardous.

Once everyone gathered at St. Catherine monastery and had breakfast, we went around for a brief tour inside the monastery. We saw the church - its bell tower stood side by side with minaret's of the nearby mosque, the Moses' well and the burning bush.

At 12.15pm we went off to Cairo - a grueling 7 hours drive. Lunch was late at 3pm at Moon Beach hotel, a hotel in the middle of nowhere. This time round it's not a buffet but a choice of grilled chicken, grilled fish and fried fish, served with seasoned rice and fries.

On the way to Cairo we passed by Suez canal tunnel, as we made our way from Asia continent back to Africa. We also passed the site where Moses parted the Red sea. Finally we reached Le Meridien Pyramids.. super tired! Most of the group members chose to stay at the hotel and skipped dinner altogether.

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