Suitcase and World: Day 9. Sinai.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Day 9. Sinai.

We woke up before the crack of dawn on Day 9, dropped our keys at the Front Desk, picked up our breakfast boxes (bread, cheese and jam, hardboiled eggs and fruit), grabbed our backpacks and waited outside for the mini-van to arrive. The packs were strapped to the luggage rack on top the van and we all piled inside for the 7 hour ride to Sinai. Lei had taken her Dramamine and put her sea bands on to ward off the nausea that she suffers when her motion sickness hits.

We all hunkered down into our seats - those who could catch a few winks did. Otherwise, time was spent watching views of the Egyptian desert unfold as the sun rose. It was too early in the morning for any chatter.

Our first pit stop came about 2 hours into our ride. By now, the sun was up and everybody was ready to get out for a bathroom break.

Our second stop came two hours later. Everyone bailed out of the van to stretch their legs

Daniel peeking out from his seat on the van.

We then passed through a checkpoint and drove through a tunnel that crossed under the Suez Canal. We never got a glimpse of the canal itself as the road dipped below the level of the canal long before we actually reached it.

Flat desert landscape soon turned into desert mountain landscape.

Every now and again, you would spot a camel in the wild.

....and on at least two occasions, we had to slow down to wait for a camel to cross the road.

Continuing on our way, we arrived into Sinai shortly before lunch.

View of the hotel lobby which also houses the restaurant.

Daniel got us checked in and we headed for our rooms which are in duplex buildings on the hotel property i.e., there are two rooms to each building. Daniel was in the room next to ours.

Lei relaxing outside our room.

View of hotel lobby from our front porch.

Lei, who is comfortable if the temperature is above 80F was ecstatic to find a wall heater in the room. Didn't take her but a few seconds to figure out how to turn it on and blast hot air into the room......and I was wondering if I would survive the night in the heat as I prefer cooler temps to sleep in. Lei and I have decided that we are about 20 degrees apart when it comes to what each of us thinks is a comfortable room temperature!

After a few minutes to freshen up, we headed to the hotel restaurant for a buffet lunch. Ate like a pig as the breakfast box wasn't really satisfying so I was famished.

The main event of the afternoon was to climb the 3700 Steps of Repetance that lead to the summit of Mt. Sinai. It would be a two and half hour climb to the top. The goal would be to get there just before sunset, watch the sun go down and then trek back down via the camel trail.

I had been debating whether or not I would do the climb to the top of Mt. Sinai. In the end, I decided against it. My main concern was that I would risk further injury to my arm if I fell on the path - especially on the return trip which would entail hiking in the dark for two hours.

While the rest of the group boarded the van for the short ride to the start of the Steps of Repentance, I sat on our front porch, put my feet up and read and caught up on my journal entries.

Soon, I found a kitty on my lap. The hotel is home to two very friendly cats (strays??) who love nothing more than to cuddle on your lap. How cute is this picture?

It had been a beautiful cool day. Shortly after I sat down, it got cloudy and quickly turned cold. I headed indoors. I did a bit of laundry and then laid down for a nap. Next thing you know it, Lei's knocking on the door. She had a great time hiking up/down Mt. Sinai and you can read all about her Mt Sinai adventure on Lei's blog posting.