Travel Journal from Egypt to the Middle East


The first destination of my trip was a place called Ras Hasatan (Devil's head) in Sinai. Imagine endless panoramas of brown-red sand, clear blue sea and the occasional camel dressed in bright Middle Eastern fabrics. Time doesn't exist in the desert - we spent six days lying on mattresses on the beach, snorkelling and swimming in the Red Sea , eating hot, flat pita bread and drinking sweet Bedouin tea.  Sinai is the hash-smoking capital of the world. I have never witnessed such extreme lung abuse in my entire life. My friends smoked the same amount of marijuana as normal people smoke cigarettes. And they smoked more cigarettes than the average person breathes air. Basically the whole week was spent in an exquisite hedonistic haze. 



After our Egyptian adventure the rest of the crew returned home and my travel-mate and I continued on to Jordan alone. We did a day trip to a city called Petra which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World . 

Petra is also known as "the rose red city."  The reason why these ancient ruins are so famous is because the Nabateans who inhabited the area thousands of years ago carved their entire city into the cliffs and rock faces of the area.  If I describe the two hour drive from Aqaba (near the Israeli - Jordanian border) to Petra as a terrifying experience it would be euphemistic. 

In order to cut time off the journey, every few minutes our Arabic taxi driver crossed from our yellow line over 4 lanes of oncoming traffic to the other yellow line with ease and grace. I had numerous heart-attack scares and resorted to holding onto the door with my eyes tightly closed for most of the ride. Even though the sights of Petra were undoubtedly amazing, the loud American tourists and the pushy, haggling, abusive Arab merchants made the experience a little unpleasant. I would recommend this trip for determined and thick-skinned archaeology enthusiasts only.  



This is the city of Kabbalah and currently the holiest city in the world ( Jerusalem will be the holiest only when the messiah comes, apparently). Because it is so elevated both physically and spiritually it has been designated the city of "air" - each of the four holy cities correspond to one of the four elements
( Jerusalem : fire, Tiberius: water, Hebron : earth).  The doors and window panes are all painted blue - a small effort at bringing the colour of heaven down to earth. Zefat is one of the oldest cities in the world and the whole place lies up on a very steep hill. It is built out of ancient stones and half of the buildings have collapsed into their own foundations from an earthquake 200 years ago.  The place is like a complicated labyrinth – there are no roads; only alleys and tunnels with tiny winding staircases joining all the nooks and crannies together. It is impossible to get to the same place twice in the same way. It is also impossible to get lost as you keep finding familiar landmarks when you least expect them. It is a town of magic and mystery and it feels like the inhabitants know all the secrets and all the answers.


Considering that my travel mate has never been to Israel before, we decided to visit a few of the main tourist attractions of the country. We hitch-hiked our way from Eilat to Ein Gedi (mid-Israel) in order to climb mount Massada and become human corks in the salty dead sea. We also hiked for an afternoon in Ein Gedi - a desert oasis featuring steep climbs and spectacular waterfalls. There was much nude swimming in the mountain pools along the way.

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