The last leg of my two week tour through Egypt was the Sinai Peninsula. It was about a 6 hour “bus” ride from Cairo to Mount Sinai, through mostly rocky desert terrain. I put bus in quotes because it was really just a large minivan. Our group of 14 apparently wasn’t large enough to merit a whole bus to ourselves, but it was certainly a tight squeeze. The highlight of the ride was probably going through a tunnel under the Suez Canal, even though we couldn’t see a whole lot. And since the Suez Canal is supposedly the dividing line between Africa and Asia, I was technically in Asia for the first time by the time we arrived
We arrived early evening at Morgenland – a hotel/hostel resort near the base of Mount Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine’s. Our group was supposed to stay in the hostel portion but somehow managed to get upgraded to the hotel, with a series of triple rooms. After an early dinner, several of us hit the little market outside for a bit (I’ve concluded it’s a requirement that absolutely every place in Egypt have some form of market/bazaar for the tourists). We had some fun joking with a couple of the shopkeepers, including one who, when asking where we were from, announced that he “hates Americans.” He quickly recanted, though, when I said I was American. He clarified that he hates American politics and George Bush and thought it was only a matter of time before Bush decided to invade Egypt too. I think he really did believe that and I assured him that an invation of Egypt was very, very unlikely. I also emphasized to him that many (or even most) Americans hate American politics too and that we don’t necessarily agree with everything that President Bush does.
After our market excursion, we returned to the room and played some Aussie card games that I inevitably lost. But it was an early night as we had to get up at 2:00 a.m. in order to start our hike up Mount Sinai.
Note: I visited Egypt in January 2008, pre-revolution. This was originally published in 2010.