Posts Tagged With: Desert

Don’t Tell My Mother – Part III – Final Lies

In Part I of this story, the whole lie began, and I was “kind of” stuck in a city while again lying to my parents  and telling them I’m in a totally different cities so they wouldn’t freak out about safety. And I also started getting loads of phone calls from the Tourism Police, which starting to worry me because I didn’t want to get introuble there, without being able to even call my parents and tell them I’m in trouble (More and more trouble…get it?)

Mistake, Again!

So after loads of phone calls, and after the tour at the beautiful monastery of St. Catherine, at 11 we finally met Officer “Osama Amer”, first thing he asked for was my national ID, biggest mistake was that I gave it to him. He looked at it and put it in his pocket! Now I was stuck, can’t leave until ‘he lets me go’.

National ID Card

National ID Card

He started asking if Anna, the American Pilgrim/Tourist that was accompanying me, will leave today or tomorrow, when I said she will leave tomorrow, on foot, things got a little crazy! At first he didn’t understand, so I explained to him her pilgrimage and what she is doing and showed him her book where every night she gets a stamp or a couple of words from her host to prove she’s been to everywhere. That is when things started getting annoying to me. He started laughing, asking me if I’m sure she’s not lying, making fun of her pilgrimage, and making fun of me for believing her.

I won’t take BS!

All I had to do (and I thank God for giving me this idea) was stand up, pretend I was leaving (yes, without my ID card). He called me and I was like “If you’re talking to me to have a little laugh and make your soldiers laugh at me, then you’d better start calling the American embassy in Egypt and see how you plan to escort her to Taba, I’m out of this and I have nothing to do with it, and see if your sarcasm will do good with the embassy now”

“I didn’t mean to be sarcastic, Dr. Mina you’re like my son and I didn’t mean to be mean to you or anything. I repeat my apology.” And he started talking again that it is impossible for her to walk under any circumstances.

Now I hate myself for using the American embassy card, I actually hate the fact of discrimination between people according their place of birth, face it: it’s 100% luck. But if I hadn’t done this, to a character like that officer, things might have went a little out of hand. So I’m sorry for using this, because I know it will be annoying to many people, not just me.

I told him she doesn’t have money to take a bus or a taxi to Taba. He said I should drive her there, or she could stay at the monastery until there’s a tour bus going to Taba and he will make sure she’s on that bus with them. “But tomorrow is Sunday and the monastery is closed, so no tour busses tomorrow, so she’ll have to wait until Monday!”

Feeling a little bit defeated, even Anna told me in she gave up a while ago but was just going on to annoy him, because we can 🙂 So we finally agreed that she’ll go to Taba by car, and that I will drive her there, now. (Thinking to myself, nice, now I need more excuses to be extra late on my way from “Dahab” back to Sharm).

Our escort to Taba. A real man!

View from my room in St. Catherine Monastery Guest House

View from my room in St. Catherine Monastery Guest House

And just as I thought this was over with the Tourism police, he starts to leave, I ask for my ID card, he says not now, because we can’t leave now. We’ll have to wait for another officer who will accompany us as a safety escort until Taba.

We waited for around 30 minutes for our escort to arrive. And no, he wasn’t a bodybuilding boxing wrestling championship that is totally armed as I thought a safety escort would look like. He was a brown, tall and really skinny guy in a grey suit, with no guns or armour or even anything to prove he works for the police. Except for the Egyptian Flag pin on the left side of his suit.

My car fell inlove with Blacksmiths

We Head towards Taba, and 30 minutes later, that loud voice i heard to the way to St. Katherine was there again. This time we weren’t infront of a city though, we were in the middle of nowhere. I kept going for a bit, looking from the corner of my eye atthe soldier that is with us, waiting for him to take action, make a phone call, makes sure we are not stuck in the “dangerous desert” that he came to protect us from. Nothing.

So after a while I find a gas station and ask them if they know anyone close to fix this. They told me there are close by hotels that have their own workshops, maybe theres a mechanic there. I went in there and as suspected, no mechanic. But another blacksmith. He told me he never worked on cars and I told him I know, but I guess the car is used to having blacksmiths work on it now, so it’s no problem, just do your best and make it go to Taba and back to Sharm el Sheikh and then I’ll find a real mechanic there.

45 minutes later the car was ready to go, doesn’t sound like a butterfly, more of an angry bee, but I had to get going so I just went.
As soon as I reached Taba, our escort told me he’ll leave us here by this check point. I told him I’m going back to all the way to Sharm if he wants to be dropped off anywhere but he said a police car will come pick him up in a while.

I kept going with the car until the road was over, with a sign that said “Taba Land Port”. That is when I stopped, said goodbye to Anna and watched her walk through the Port.

More lies?

And then headed on my way back. Hoping and praying that the car will not break again.

My parents? Yes ofcourse they called me “It is almost 3pm when are you planning to come back to Sharm?”
“I’ll start in a while, I’m just having lunch now and as soon as I;m done I’ll start going”

By the time I reached Nuweiba “I headed out of Dahab and the car broke again!! So I went back inside Dahab and I’m fixing it now, and very soon I’ll be on my way back”

Right before Dahab it was almost 5pm, so my dad called, a little mad for me wasting the whole day again, so I said “I’m midway between dahab and Sharm but the car’s sound is really loud and its not accelerating, so I’m taking it slow so it doesn’t break again!”

A: St Catherine, B:Nuweiba, C:Where the car broke, D:Taba, E:Where my dad called and I told him I'm mid-way :D, F:Sharm el Sheikh

I reached there by 5.40 pm, meaning I was going on a minimum of 115Km/Hr. I know I’m a bad kid, I didn’t mean to do all that but the thing is… (oh yes I;m going for a moral of the story) … it’s never just one small lie, it all started with me planning to not tell my dad that I’ll drive an extra 100Km, and I ended up lying, lying, and lying. Which is not something I’m very proud pf, but it happened already. And there was no chance of changing it after doing that first small lie for a good cause.

So moral of the story: Check your car before you go on a road trip. It could be a huge pain the ass!

Categories: Egypt, Sinai | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Tell my Mother – Part I – The Paradox of lying!

I know that the name is ‘stolen’ from a show on Nat Geo Adventure, but unlike him, I really do wish some people will never read this post. Well I know my parents don’t check out the blog, but at least I hope any of those who know my parents wouldn’t tell THAT SPECIFIC story in front them. Could get in some trouble *Angel Face*


At the end of January, someone very special was here in Egypt. Her name is Anna, she’s somewhere between 45-50 years old, and she is a full time pilgrim. She has been on so many pilgrimages, all of them only on foot, very long routes, and all of them in winter. That’s why she was called – and now calls herself – the winter pilgrim.

So to say it in brief, Anna is currently on a pilgrimage from Santiago de Compostela, Spain, to Jerusalem, Palestine; All through North Africa, walking across 5 Arab countries. As an Arab, I know this is not easy. Even an Arab would be afraid to do such a thing. But well, she says it was really nice, and people are always very kind and helpful to a real old school pilgrim like her, who carries no money or extra food for the following days.

Pilgrimage route through North Africa

Pilgrimage route through North Africa

I found her blog by mere chance, and going through her latest posts I knew she was still in Continue reading

Categories: Egypt, Sinai | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

That Small Particle called Sand

Inspired by last Friday’s twitter #FriFotos topic, and later on by AdventurousKate’s post about sand photos, I went through some of my albums and figured out I have loads of photos of sand, well some of them are pure sand, The great Sand Sea in Egypt. Some of them are your normal sand beach photos. Some are kind of rocky/sandy beaches. So I thought I could also share some of them. Well my favourite of them atleast.

Siwa, Egypt. Well most of my sand pictures are in that place. It is one of my favourite places on planet earth. Continue reading

Categories: Camino de Santiago memories and lessons, Egypt, Siwa, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bashing a Sand Dune’s Virginity

Adrenaline rush. A little bit of a screaming like a kid on a roller coaster (and hitting the ground with my feet).

That’s what I did during a (I guess) less than 2 minutes descend of a sand dune near Siwa Oasis.

Amazigh Expeditions owns a small land there (a camp to be), and it’s where I spent my days in Siwa. Bordering the land is a HUGE sand dune, surrounding it from 3 directions. And their slope, I would say they are almost 90 degrees inclined.

The left hand side on the sand dunes

The left hand side on the sand dunes - the easiest looking

So its good sunny morning, we reached the camp Continue reading

Categories: Egypt, Siwa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sucking on Pebbles

In your Camino, sometimes you will have to do things you wouldn’t normally do, just to give you the feeling that you are going to survive.

On my Camino de Santiago, it was this day when I had planned to walk 30 Km, I was getting out of Burgos, a big city with a beautiful cathedral but what I hated about it (and all other big cities) is getting in and out of it when you have to walk through the ugly industrial areas. Also this day was at the beginning of my tendonitis and I didn’t really get what was wrong with my foot/leg but I couldn’t walk properly.

So I set off with two friends, Gastone and Jenny for the first 10 Km with no breaks and then we have Continue reading

Categories: Camino de Santiago memories and lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Injured In The Desert

Imagine being in the middle of nowhere, you look in all directions around you and all you see is yellow sand dunes. Amazing yeah? Well it is! It is breath taking and stunning and all those words that describe beautiful places. But at some point you wish you were in a city, a place where an ambulance can reach you. Well I had that feeling for a fraction of a second when I thought I broke my spine! Luckily though, it was only a strong cramp in my back muscles.

We were crossing through the desert, me and my friend from Amazigh Expeditions. We were heading to a hot spring to have a shower there. A lovely morning, with lovely sand, warm weather in January (the previous night was freezing cold so I was really enjoying the sun at noon), no speed limit, no traffic signs, you just speed and drift to take turns, no specific streets; it’s heaven!

Sand Drifting

Sand Drifting

Suddenly, we hit a small speed bump like structure made of Continue reading

Categories: Egypt, Siwa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Siwan People and The Revolution.

Like anyplace else in Egypt, Siwa and its people were just living their normal daily life, during their high tourism season, January/February, when suddenly the revolution started, and the police forces were withdrawn from all of Egypt.

In big cities like Cairo and Alexandria, people were terrified because of the lack of security, thugs were let loose and stealing and killing was something normal, and that brought to the civilians the idea of securing their own homes together, where all people living on the same street would leave their homes at night and gather together in the street with any weapons they can have (sticks, kitchen knives…Etc) until the morning.

Swa

The Serenity and Peacefulness of Siwa

On the other hand, in the serene Siwa, where all people live together peacefully Continue reading

Categories: Egypt, Siwa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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