Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What a week!! II

So my week long excursion through the desert of Egypt began near Nuweiba. Ras Shitan to be precise, in a small camp run by local Sinai Bedouin. What makes this camp unique, is that it has yet to be touched by the over-commercialized tourist oriented world that lies just a few kilometres down the road. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the border-resort town of Taba, our little camping haven was absolutely beautiful, and perfectly peaceful. It provides the ideal reprieve for anyone looking to clear their mind.

We arrived early in the morning, having battled the roads throughout the night. Check points however, were made quite easy considering the size of the German Shepard that we brought with us...who really looks nasty, but couldn't hurt a fly. Of course the guards at each check point were too mesmerized by the size of the teeth and the bark to notice much else... I digress... Anyhow, pulling into our camping grounds, I'm struck by the simplicity of everything. Our huts were not much more than wooden reeds strung together, with more reeds forming a simple roof over the top. (Thank God it doesn't rain in Egypt...I can't imagine what they would do hahaha – quiiiiiiick! Our huts are floating away!!!!!!!!). There is no electricity in any of the camping huts; electricity instead is limited to the main hut, where you can sit and listen to live music until 1-2 am (when the owners shut those lights off too), and order food from the main hut's restaurant, offering traditional Bedouin styled meals as well as Egyptian staples.

Our first night was marked by the tabla, a traditional drum, singing, camp-fires and a great deal of food and tea. Vigorous games of Scrabble ensued, resulting in quite the Scrabble rivalry. Endless entertainment need I say. Once the lights in the main hut have been extinguished, the night sky is astounding. You truly forget how awe-inspiring the star filled sky can really be when you're limited to a speckling of 10 of the brightest night starts in Cairo's skies. With minimal light pollution in Ras Shitan, you can truly admire the heavens, and next time I'm definitely bringing a telescope.

Loads of food...

The days are spent relaxing by the water, reading a good book, drinking more tea (spot a pattern here? lol), and sleeping. The complete isolation from the world outside is compensated for by the friendly atmosphere within the camp itself, where mingling and chatting reign in the main hut. It was truly an amazing experience, but after three days of “roughing” it on the beach, I was ready for a real shower. As let me tell you, as “earthy” as I may try to be, there's certain things that I cannot do. And showering next to a hole in the floor one of those things. Can anybody really feel clean after that?!!?!?

That would be my only gripe about our entire camping experience. However – if you venture out to camp on the beach – remember to bring your own bed sheets lol. And whatever you do...unless you want a good hour long work out, don't try and park your car next to the huts :-p. Thank God for the Bedouin expertise with desert driving, we were too remote for a tow-truck, I can't imagine what we would have done without them – and of course the power of manly brawn. But, we got the car out, and got a few great snapshots along the way too! (By we of course – I mean they – while the girls stood by and observed hehe).

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