The Tale of Mt Sinai & Muffins the Racist Dragon
May 30, 2009 – Day 156 – Nuweiba, Egypt
After hiking for nearly 3 hours, we summited Mt Sinai and found a hidden cubby to shield ourselves from the chilling wind until the light of dawn began to peak. And when it did, it was really splendid.
The hike itself wasn’t too bad: 3 hours on a camel trail plus a good 20 min. climbing stairs. The top of the mountain has been a pilgrimage site for decades and as such facilities are well laid out with snack stands every 30 min or so.
Once we were at the top though it was absolutely freezing! We were expecting it to be cold but this was ridiculous. We found a small cove we could hide in for the hour and a half till sun up. The sun rise was spectacular even though the entire top of the mountain was crawling with tourists and touts.
On the way down we stopped by Saint Catherine’s Monastery. The monastery holds some interesting things for people of all or no faiths. The alledged Burning Bush is now housed inside St. Catherine`s and people from all over the world come too see it, touch it, pray beside it and be otherwise emotionally moved in its presence. In addition, the oldest translation of the Bible is in St Catherine`s world renowned extensive library along with one of the largest collections of illuminated manuscripts in the world. İt is definitely worth a look and also houses some truly incredible old pieces of religious art.
After a tiring day, night, and now another day, we were happy to finally get to Nuweiba where we spent the night to more easily catch the ferry to Jordan tomorrow. We rented a charming beach bungalow for around $2/pp complete with mosquito net riddled with holes and windows that can`t open and no fan.
We even made a friend, a scruffy looking brown lab mix (now known as Muffins, the Racist Dragon). He wasn`t very good at playing fetch with his one eye and was afraid of the water…that was painful for his numerous war wounds. After playing in the water for a while we all three retired to our beach blanket where Muffins became our guardian/attack dog when Arab men walked past us down the beach. Aparently Muffins had had a bad run-in with one or several Arab men because he really seemed to like Saben. He didn’t have any problem when a woman walked down the beach either but at first sniff of an Arab man he shot up and chased them snarling and snapping his teeth. He ran two guys (who took turns running behind one another) into water up to their waists! We were not too surprised when they returned a few minutes later, one with a metal pole and the other with a 2×4, and purposefully tried to aggravate the dog. Saben gave the dog a pat on the head to calm it down and gave the men a few choice words that encouraged them to leave the three of us alone. We have seen men beat anything they can get their hands on here (one of the saddest aspects of our time in the region) and it looks like Muffins has as well.
We bid Muffins farewell and left him on the beach as we headed back to our bungalow trying to escape the torrent of mosquitoes that come out around dusk.