Camel Dumpster Diving

Trip Start Apr 07, 2010
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15
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Trip End Sep 11, 2010


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Flag of Egypt  ,
Saturday, June 12, 2010

 

My trip is getting more and more out of control.  In the best way possible.  Two days ago I was walking down the main street of the "city" I am in on the Red Sea in Sinai.  Actually there are only 2 streets in the town center.  I see a donkey cart with 2 donkeys parked outside of a small restaurant.  Naturally I stop to take a photo.   I continue on my way.   About 10 minutes later behind me on the main road comes a small devilish little chap on a donkey wearing a traditional (and filthy) Bedowin dress, no shoes and a huge grin, smacking the donkey's butt to go faster.   Behind him, the other donkey pulling the cart with another rugrat and his older mate, one wearing Bedowin dress, the other in Western style clothes.  I laugh and take photos as they proudly grin and say half Arabic half English phrases.   They see my fascination with the whole situation and insist that I get on the donkey cart with them.  After about 2 seconds of consideration I laugh and say NO THANK YOU with a huge smile on my face.  So they humor me by trotting along slow enough to walk side by side with me, yelling HELLO everytime they want to say something to me in "Arab-lish."  For lack of better words for what happened next, please watch the corresponding video.  Thank you Lord.

 

The next day at the market there were two camels DUMPSTER DIVING.   At one point the camel was swinging a plastic bag around its head like a lead singer of a metal band, trying to get the rubbish to come out.  Again, please see the correspoding video (alltho unfortunately I was unable to capture the metal headbang in action).

 

THEN last night I met a Bedowin (desert dwelling) family.  My new British friend who runs the only internet radio station in Sinai took me to have tea with his friend Mohammed, a generous spirit with the most beautiful family, a herd of girls that swarmed me in fascination.  In fact I was so surprised by the size of his family that I asked how many children he had.  "Ten kids.  5 here and 5 over there" as he motioned over the fence.  Without even a further question I knew what he meant.  The OTHER wife over there.  Despite the obvious cultural and religious difference of opinion, I had such a beautiful night with them, free of judgement and full of games and photos with the beautiful children who loved me because I am me, and I them because they are them.

 

And of course the travelers continue to become more and more absurdly interesting.  The last week I have spent my time with 2 Chinese friends who are fluent in and hold degrees in Arabic.  You can imagine my days:  strolling along an Egyptian beach listening to English, Mandarin and Arabic all from the same 2 mouths.  A few days ago at another beach town I met a new Korean friend who is literally traveling the world.  He's in his 20's and saved his money and started in Tanzania, then to Uganda - Kenya - Ethiopia - Sudan - Egypt - Jordan - Syria - Europe - South America - Australia and home, all in about 7 months.  We share travel tips and stories. 

Most days I spend half the day outside in the shade watching the sea and wondering what the heck Saudi Arabia is like, just over the water.  Then I go inside and change clothes to let the sweat from my first outfit dry.  Then I spend the rest of my time exchanging cultural stories with Sudanese men at the camp or ex pats who have taken up residence in Egypt.  It's from them that I get the real dirt on Egyptian culture.  He tells me about the papers he calls "shag papers" that local men have to get if they want to ride in the car with a female they are not married to or family with....because of course anyone in that situation would be doing stuff they shouldn't be, right?  Right.  He tells me all about the wealth of the land-owning Bedowins and the tension that mounts between them, the Egyptians and the police.  Now I understand why I see men in dresses with head wraps driving crazy nice cars. 

And then there's trash collecting I've been known to do on the floor of the Red Sea....just like Lori to do something like that.   I've never seen anything like this place in my life - open air dumpster piles next to clothing shops and camels roaming the streets, teal blue sea water and mountains singing all around, dust and sand and sun dancing overhead, and a most beautiful language filling the air.  If Turkey currently claims the title "Mystery Collection,"  Egypt is DEFINITELY giving it a run for its money.

 

 

 
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Comments

crystal on

Oh Lori, I am so enjoying your trip : ) What amazing adventures you are having!! Thanks for taking us along. Love you

pinkfloyri
pinkfloyri on

you are so welcome my dear friend :) i do miss you.

Hotel Travelia on

Good One

Team Hotel Travelia
www.hoteltravelia.com

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