I'm not sure when I wrote last. All I know is that I've been on the road for a long time. Last night was the first night to sleep in my own bed for a LONG time. Actually, I slept on the couch. But at least it was my couch!
After some time in Amsterdam doing a bit more language work, I met up with my family and travelled around Egypt for a few weeks. We even made it to Jordan for a couple of days to go to Petra. I'll give you the full list of places just in case you're curious. Cairo (for about a week), Alexandria, Aswan, Luxor, Hurghada, Cairo again, Nuweiba, Aqaba, Petra, Nuweiba again, St. Catherine (AKA Mt. Sinai), and back to Cairo just in time for my family to fly out.
We had some great little experiences along the way. My personal favorite was the personal tour we got of the monastary in St. Catherine. We hiked up Mt. Sinai for the sunrise. On the way back down my dad and I got back first. So once we were back down, I went back up to walk the rest of the way down with my mom and sister. Along the trail I met a security guard who wanted to know why I was going the wrong way up the trail. I told him that I was just going to check on my family, so he let me go through. Later on that day my family was out for a walk. They met the same security guard, who recognized them as my family. They talked to him for quite a while, and gave him quite a generous tip at the end of their chat. He told them to come back for a personal tour with him the next morning. So we went back and met him the next day. He took us to the front of every line, and even took us into parts of the monastary that other people couldn't get into. Then he took our camera and went to take pictures of things that you're not allowed to photograph. It's good to have friends, huh?
It was good to have the family here for a while. Travelling with them was definitely a different experience. I don't visit a whole lot of tourist spots on the average day. I'd kind of forgotten what the really touristy parts of Egypt are like. It was almost as much of a shock to me as it was to my family. At times, I felt like they were experiencing the worst parts of the culture. I wish they'd had a couple of days to just hang out and do life here. But, we just didn't have enough time.
After the family took off, I went down south to visit a place called Marsa Alam. A friend invited me down for a visit, so I went for a couple days. Well, he actually told me I was welcome to come any time. So, I just took the bus down and called him when I got to town. Unfortunately, his son was sick and he had taken him to another city to see the doctor. So, I literally travelled for two days just to see him for five minutes. Funny story. He told me that I should stay at a dive camp just outside of town. I didn't really know how far past town it was. He said to walk south out of town and I'd find the place. The sun wasn't too hot and I had a little bit of water and food, so I decided to go for it. I finally got there, 2 1/2 hours and 14 kilometers later (8 1/2 miles). Let me tell you, when you're in the middle of the desert and out of food & water, civilization is a really welcome sight. The picture at the top is my backpack and sandals on the side of the road I was walking down. I was probably 10 kilometers (6 miles) out of town at that point. I hitch-hiked back to town the next day. I didn't have any water left, and really didn't want to make the hike again. The ride took me about ten minutes, definitely an improvement over the day before.
So, I'm finally back home. A couple more stamps in my passport, some nice photos, and some great memories with the family.
Many blessings & much love . . .