Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, Feb 10th, St Simeon's Monestary


One of the questions you probably won’t answer until you have to is: “Will I ride a camel across a desert?” At our age, it just may not be high on your bucket list.
While our luggage was on its way to the Miss Egypt cruise ship, we took a boat across the Nile to the base of a huge sand dune. Seated there were eleven young camels with names like Rambo, Lulu, and Mickey Mouse. Mustafa and his band of brothers loaded us up on the camels, and guided us up and across the dunes to a seventh century monestary which hosted pilgrims for over 300 years. A millennium later, it’s still receiving visitors.

If you remember to sit forward in the saddle, grip with your inner thighs, and lean back when going down hills, it’s not that bad. That lets you actually see the desert, instead of your hands gripping that saddle horn between your legs. If you can cross your legs in front of you, and above the camel’s neck, there’s less stress on the butt. I found, however, that dangling my feet out to each side of the camel’s neck made for better balance.

Dismounting (remember to lean back as the camel kneels), we thanked our guides, took a group photo, and boarded a small boat back to the cruise ship. After a stop at Nile Botanical Garden on Kitchener’s Island, we returned to check into our ship’s cabins (quite luxurious) and have lunch, and then savor an afternoon free to visit the Nubian Museum and walk through the Aswan Tourist Market (no, thank you).

After dinner at 8pm, we returned to our cabins, and re-charged not only our camera and computers, but the body and brain cells drained well over the past two days. Tomorrow, the country is going on a general strike in recognition of the one-year anniversary of President Mubarak’s stepping down. We don’t expect to be effected by it, but don’t really know for sure. We’re exploring several alternative strategies to be capable of seeing as many ruins along the banks of the upper Nile.

To see the photos from today’s adventures, click on: Friday, Feb 10th, Camel Day


1 comment:

David MacP said...

Camel Day: We rode camels in Australia a couple of years ago, animals left over from being imported to help build the transcon railroad,now running loose and multiplying like crazy.

It was only a five minute "ride" around a corral but we can now say we rode a camel. Would much prefer your day, actually going somewhere. I found out that, yes, you better lean back when the camel kneels down before you dismount. But even with that it was a ball-buster.