Moses Mountain

Trip Start Dec 01, 2011
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170
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Trip End Jan 20, 2013


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Flag of Egypt  , Al Baḩr al Aḩmar,
Monday, December 10, 2012

The only tours that leave for Mt Sinai leave late at night to see the early morning sunrise.  Our bus left Sharm El Sheikh at 830 PM.  Claire and I were the only Westerners on the bus and the rest were Russians.  One Russian man showed up extremely drunk on vodka.  Despite buying the tickets from a travel agent and telling them my nationality, the bus driver told me to sit in the back of the bus until we passed through the checkpoints and hoped they would not check my passport because American’s need to be escorted by police for some reason.  They did not check my passport in the back of the van and only checked the people in the front and we proceeded to Mt Sinai.  We woke up at 130 AM in Catherine, which is at the base of Mt Sinai.  It was very dark and extremely cold and got colder as the hike went closer to the top.  Mt Sinai is over 2600 M high and to locals it is called Moses Mountain.  We could not separate from our tour group.  The drunken Russian’s really held up the whole group.  They needed frequent rest breaks.  It was a bit ridiculous.   There were a lot of camels coming up and down the mountain that people wanted us to ride up for money because they think we are lazy fat Westerner’s.  We were constantly dodging camel poop as we walked up the mountain.  We had to stop and rest in these huts that were like Bedouin tents made out of bricks.  This is another way for them to get Westerner’s to spend money on coffee and snacks.  I have never seen so many stars in this clear night.  There were thousands and thousands of stars and photos cameras cannot capture this moment.  I saw at least 7 shooting stars in my first hour here that left a tail of sparkles. That was amazing.  
I could have realistically climbed this mountain in a couple of hours, but it was dragged out to at least 4.  The top is where we watched the sunrise in the freezing cold.  It was a nice sunrise that was very red and orange.  I was a bit grumpy from not getting much sleep in the last 24 hours, but there was a huge crowd of roughly 400 people up there.  As the sun came up, the Sinai Mountains became clearer.  There was one side the was a bit flatter and desert and the other side was jagged peaks.  We could literally see the whole path we just walked up the last 4 hours from here.  Going down the mountain was extremely frustrating.  There was a group of roughly 50 people that were around 80 years old and they were extremely slow going down.  I think it is great that they got to see this event and climb this mountain, but it should affect 400 people getting down the mountain.  There were literally lines of 50 people waiting to past the slower people, but they did not move aside. 
This site was a bit special to me.  It does confirm that the bible did exist and the cities are real, but it is not like any special mountain that is different than others as far as scenery.  There is no monument where Moses actually had the 10 commandment tablets on the mountain when he received them.  At the bottom of the mountain, there is a well where Moses supposedly met his wife and there is a monastery around it now at the moment that was built by an Armenian King in the 1100s.  This is called St Catherine’s Monastery.  There is also the site inside the monastery that supposedly has spot of the burning bush of the bush where Moses heard the voice to head up the mountain.  This is where God first spoke to Moses.  
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