Wednesday, January 6, 2010

October 28-29 Mt. Sinai, Suez Canal, Cairo (Memphis,Saqqara, the Great Pyramids and The Sphinx)

After crossing the Gulf of Aqaba, we continued on and checked in for the night at a hotel closest to Mt. Sinai (I think this is the only hotel in the area). The following morning, a few of the hardy members of our group got up very early to climb Mt. Sinai up to the site where Moses received the Ten Commandments and to see a spectacular sunrise. I was going to join them but a 12:30 am start-up time was way too early for me. I decided to just catch up on my sleep and watch the sunrise from the comfort of my hotel room. This turned out to be a wise decision on my part because the five who made it to the top of Mt. Sinai said it was too cold up there they had to rent blankets to keep warm while waiting for sunrise....and when the sun showed up, there was a heavy cloud cover! So much for missing a night's sleep and the long climb. When they came back (exhausted and disappointed), we all went to St. Catherine's Monastery and from there motored to Cairo passing through the desert and going underneath the Suez Canal via a tunnel. We then stayed in Cairo until it was time for us to fly home on the 31st.

On the morning of the 29th we traveled to Memphis and Saqqara. Memphis was the old capital of Egypt (2700-2180 bc) and Saqqara was an ancient burial site. In the afternoon, we visited the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. I have seen the pyramids at Teotehuacan in Mexico but these are notches more impressive.

Our hotel near Mount Sinai

A desert waiting shed

Well of Moses

The guy in the pic was required to wear the "wrap-around" to enter the monastery of St. Catherine. No shorts are allowed there. I don't think he was happy about his lot LOL.

Bones of dead monks in the monastery

Lucky shot I took from our moving bus - the timing was perfecto!

Was this the manner they transported the huge blocks (this one is nothing compared to the sizes of the blocks at the base of the pyramids) in the ancient time to build the pyramid?

A section of one of the pyramids undergoing a repair job

My attention was caught by the two ladies fully covered in black. Note the size of the blocks at the base of the pyramid. I do not know how they cut, moved and fitted them together and neither do I know why those ladies endured in silence the "hardships" imposed by their culture and religious belief(?).

The Sphinx taken at an angle which shows it between the two famous pyramids

A closer view of the Sphinx. It was used for cannon target practice by Napoleon's army that is why the nose and other parts of its face are gone.

She is demonstrating how the papyrus is converted to paper but I was paying more attention to her look...her face is so serene and beautiful.


Peru said...

hi bertN,

the pictures are very good. the descriptions are very informative and funny as well. LOL!! like it. gone through only this post. will visit again for the other posts in the past :)

docgelo said...

like you, my youngest brother who's only 24 now already toured the great pyramids of egypt when he worked as a crew in costa atlantica cruise ship at age 21 and had been to at least 30 countries across europe and caribbean. i felt nothing but envy when he celebrated his birthday amidst those pyramids and sphinx.

i just wish nature and people will continue to preserve these sights for hopefuls like us who dream of experiencing them too, one day, someday *wishful thinking*

it was fascinating, bert! thanks for sharing. so where's the next pit stop? =)

sheng said...

I envy you for having those great travels, I can only pray that I will get blessed too, a simple wish that I get a new job to really satisfy me and my heart's desires. Great shots! I love the pyramid shot and its reflection over water.

RJ said...

Wow! I didn't think The Pyramids are really interesting until I saw these pictures! Madalas ko kasing nakikita sa photos yung parang walang tao, at malayo ag kuha, itong sa inyo very close po talaga.

I've seen the news on TV yesterday about the discovery of skeletons dyan sa perimeter ng mga pyramids, sabi ng mga experts napatunayan nitong hindi pala mga slaves ang nag-construct ng pyramids kundi mga taong talagang binayaran to do it.

Sana makarating din ako sa Egypt.

dodong flores said...

Great travel!

I love the photo of that symmetrical scene taken while on a moving bus. Perfect capture! Perfect timing!

I feel pity with the Sphinx having used as a target for military practice :(

The lady at the last photo is beautiful :)

Happy New Year, Mr. BertN. Ngayon lang ulit nakadalaw :D

Traveler on Foot said...

Are they selling paper made of papyrus? I think it's good to bring it home as a souvenir.

bertN said...

Peru, thanks for dropping by. Your pictures are better!

docgelo, one of the the advantages of working in a cruise ship is the opportunity of visiting many foreign countries. There's a lot of hard work on cruise ships (depending on the work assignment) but there's a lot of fun, as well.

Those tourist sites will be preserved for as long as it is possible. They are money earners for the country and, more importantly, they are culturally and historically significant.

Keep your sight on your goals, you'll reach are a bundle of energy in whatever you undertake LOL.

sheng, I do hope you get a new job to your liking and amply rewarding. However, don't forget you have a great family and you don't want a job that will tear you away from them. They are the reason for your being, isn't it?

RJ, I did not think the pyramids are as interesting as well, until I found out how they were built, for whom, by whom and for what reasons and how they were pillaged over time by the local baddies and the foreign invaders.

dodong flores, I didn't know I got a good capture until I downloaded it. Like a lucky sniper...(one shot, one kill LOL). It is a dull picture overall but a well-timed shot made it memorable for me LOL.

I like taking pics of people or object that captivates me, especially of ones that I know will not repeat itself.

Traveler on Foot, they are selling work of arts done on papyrus. We brought some home.

Ferdz said...

Wow! I could only dream of climbing Mt Sinai for now. To step on where Moses walked would be amazing.

Hope to see the Pyramids in my lifetime as well :D

Photo Cache said...

I would love to see Mt. Sinai too. Luckily I got to see a little bit of Cairo and the pyramids this past November. Cairo and the pyramids are amazing.

dyosa said...

Thanks for letting me see the world from your photographs.I loved the symmetry of the 6th photo. And to think you're in a moving bus! Bravo! The ancient times always amaze me because of people's artistry, ingenuity and faith to their beliefs.

I'd love to see the world you've seen someday. :)

Missy said...

Wow love all the shots and even the shot from your moving bus it's really perfecto! hehehe Now I want to see the pyramids too! I hope we could have the opportunity to travel there (who knows) maybe when we retire too like you hehehe

Sidney said...

Hmmm...looks like you are promoting laziness... ;-)

Great views... it is my dream to go there one day !
Such interesting places ! Lucky you !

bertN said...

Ferdz, you are an avid traveler, I'm sure you'll get to see these places in your lifetime.

Photo Cache, I'm sure you feel like I do that more time is needed to really enjoy the city of Cairo and see more of the many pyramids in Egypt.

Missy, don't wait till you retire to go there. Do it whenever you get the chance. Travel is not as much fun when you are older.

Sidney, hahahaha....not my intention.

bertN said...

dyosa, I'm sure you will not only see the world I've seen and more but I bet you'll try and enjoy(or not)the food of the many countries you will visit. I'm not as culinarily adventurous as you are but I'm always willing to try anything once LOL.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

Looks like I'm on your trail Bert.

Reena said...

pyramids!!! these are the main reasons why i wanted to go to egypt. until i studied architecture, and realized they have a lot more to offer! im so inggit na tlga. hahaha..great shots!

bertN said...

The Nomadic Pinoy, good! I want to see through your eyes what I saw. Have fun.

Reena, you'll get there and the pyramids will be waiting for you.

julie said...

BertN, that reflection on the water "the lucky shot", i love it. great photos :)

Amazing and awesome would probably be two words I will use IF i am face to face with the pyramids and the Sphinx.

What about you?

bertN said...

julie, I feel good about that capture after what you said. Thanks!

thess said...

Napoleon did not only destroyed the sphinx's nose but stole some of Egypt's treasure...

I envy you for seeing all those treasures on your shots!

I hope to see them in this lifetime :)

☮Pinay Travel Junkie☮ said...

oh my, awesome photos! i'm JEALOUS! haha! gotta add this site to my blogroll... definitely worth following.

bertN said...

thess, I'm sure you will see a lot in your lifetime.

Pinay Travel Junkie, thanks for dropping by.

jane cajuguiran said...

Great shots here bert as always.