Siwa

Trip Start Jun 22, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Egypt  ,
Friday, May 19, 2006

I arrived in Siwa after a 10 hour bus journey from Alexandria. Siwa is an oasis town in the Western Desert, near the border with Libya. It's still in the early stages of becoming touristy, so still has a authentic feel to it, with it's mud houses and crumbling Shali fortress.

I had a walk around the fortress as soon as I got there as it was nearly sunset and the light was good. I came across some kids who immediatley called a couple of older girls to come and try and sell me some locally made items. After I'd bought something I asked the kids if I could take their picture, they wanted some money at first, but I said no as I bought something from them. So they agreed I could take some pictures. But a 10 year old boy pointed at the older girl and waved his finger from side to side to say no photo. Then he ran his finger across his throat to say what would happen if I did. This left me in know doubt that I was in a very strict Islamic area. I wasn't put out though as the older girl wasn't very photogenic, unlike the younger girl who was a deadringer for Drew Barrymore in ET (PIC 14).

I spent a couple of days looking around the town with it's old sites, most of which there wasn't much left of as they had erroded. And visited a couple of natural springs for a much needed cooling off.

I then went on an overnight trip which took us to the edge of the Great Sand Sea, a huge area of desert. We visited a couple of springs first, one cold, which was suprising given we were in the desert and the other bordering on been hot. Then we had a drive around the dunes in our 4 wheel drive truck, which had a habit of taking 10 minutes to get restarted, with a lot of help from our driver. The bit of the Great Sand Sea we saw was very immpressive, with huge swirling dunes. It must be amazing further inside.

This area used to be underwater millions of years ago and there is an area now that is littered with fossilized shells to prove this.

We slept under the stars that night at our campsite. It never felt like we were out in the wilderness as we were really just outside the edge of town, but it was a nice
experience all the same.
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