The Call of the Desert

Wadi Araba

Alright, I did it again. I had such a good time the first time in the white desert that I could not say no when Suzie said she was going on an overnight trip to some Canyon Wadi Araba in the Sinai.

We were supposed to be 5 for the trip but Yosh fainted during the night and hurt his head quite badly on the sink. His friend Alex and he ended up not coming so we were only 3 at the end: Suzie, Faris (British-Iraqi) and me :).

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The trip was organized by the hotel (Penguin hotel in Dahab) consisted in ridding a camel for 1h30 first. It was one of the thing I said I would do before leaving Egypt so that was perfect. I had a very tall camel so I was seated very hight. It was very impressive. The ride went very well and I did not experience any back pain or things like this that other people complained about. Maybe it was because of the extra padding they added on the saddle or maybe it was because we rode at walking pace the whole time.

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Then, we hiked through some really narrow canyons for 1h or so. This was quite impressive and it was fun to climb up and down along them.

This was followed by a yummy lunch and 1h more of camel ride to reach our camp for the night. We then hiked up one of the big sand dune to check out the sunset while our guide Mohammed was fixing dinner.

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From up there, we had a cool view on the rest of the valley made of mounts and sand dunes. The sunset was ok but not great.

On the contrary, dinner WAS great. It was almost the same thing that I got in the white desert. It was also very good though so I did not mind at all :). My 3 best meals here will have been while on day trips to the desert!

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After dinner, since it was almost full moon, Mohammed took us for a moon walk around the camp. It was nice walking at night with only the light of the moon and the stars to see where we were going. I spent some time watching the stars but I did not see any shooting stars this time and I missed the sky map Alex had with him while we were in the white desert. I should have bought it from him when he offered! We called it a night and I ended up sleeping looking at the stars. I actually woke up around 3AM to an amazing view of the sky where it seemed like the number of stars had doubled! Was I groggy or what?

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I woke up before everybody so I decided to climb up one of the big mount and seat at the top so that I could show off and look cool… hum, I mean, so that I could meditate and commune with the environment ;). OK, for whatever reason I ended up there, I had a really breathtaking view of the whole place and felt very at peace with the sun warming me up and the slight breeze cooling me off.

After climbing down, Mohammed finally fixed breakfast that consisted of great banana honey pancakes (thicker than crepes but thinner than American pancakes) and tea. And I almost forgot the hobnobs Suzie had brought with her that were a great compliment to the Bedouin tea.

We rode back to the Bedouin village in the back of a pickup truck and were at the hotel soon after.

The Sinai is a very interesting place when you think about it with its great desert landscapes and awesome sea shore. I am really enjoying this part of my trip. Of course, I enjoyed the more cultural part I did before, it is just different.

[Edited on 5/19/2006 to add related pictures]