Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 10: Travel from Israel to Egypt

Woke up early today and decided to run the two miles to the "downtown" center of the Dead Sea Resort Area. It was a GORGEOUS morning... but already warm. It was a hilly run (and I am SO not ready for San Francisco's Nike 1/2 marathon in Oct) but I made good time, saw other folks out walking and running and enjoyed the time alone to reflect on our trip thus far.
Today we leave the Dead Sea and Israel to transition to Egypt. For many of us: no more veggies and concerns about having an air conditioned bus are prevalent. After a breakfast laden with veggies and hummus we load up the bus and head south.
Our first stop: to see the pillars of salt and Lot's wife. The piece of rock in the upper left corner of the picture (the one that looks as if it's going to fall down?) is said to be Lot's wife. She's grown in size over the years AND has climbed in height. This mountain actually grows 1/4" every year. Salt and other minerals are mined from the walls of the hills in this area.
Back on the bus and soon we're at a potty stop. This is my LAST opportunity (in Israel) for a Magnum Gold. I buy one without hesitation and savor every morsel! This little "rest area" had potties, food, goats and all sorts of fun stuff for little kids.

We drive down to Eilat by the Red Sea (which should have been REED Sea but a letter was lost in translation at some point.) First up, shopping for the famous Eilat stone: a type of turquoise found in the region which differs fro AZ turquoise because of extra minerals. Dan and I purchased matching Jerusalem crosses in Bethlehem with my birthstone, ruby, in the center. Dan's birthstone is turquoise, so I pick up a ring with his birthstone in it. It's gorgeous!
A short drive later and we're at the Re(e)d Sea for a quick feel and to grab some lunch. Dan and I played this game of "Oh, we've never Kissed in (at) XYZ before!" Here we are sucking face at the Red Sea.

We load back in the bus and drive to the border where we say a tearful goodbye to Husam and Kobi - they have taken EXCELLENT care of us and we're sorry to leave them. Here's to hoping our guides in Egypt are as good.
After a few hours drive we arrived at our hotel. This is, by far, the shadiest hotel we've stayed at. The sunset is gorgeous and I wander (not too far) from our hotel for a few pictures. In this small town near St. Catherine's church at the foot of the Moses Mountain (Mt Sinai) where Moses was thought to have received the 10 commandments we are surrounded by mountains and clear sky and travel by camel or beat-up pick up is typical.
This is our hotel: All rooms face an inner courtyard and we were a spectacle to the few others staying at the hotel. We all ended up on the balcony or by the pool chatting, laughing and wreaking general "havoc" on the otherwise quiet town.
Dan: Voguing
Twilight: After a dinner (That excludes veggies) we hit the hay early. Tomorrow a few of us (11 or so) will be getting up at 1am to hike to the top of Mt. Sinai to watch the sun rise.