Camping in The Sinai Desert of Egypt, 1984
After lunch in Nuweiba, the convoy carried on inland to the first camp, on the way to St. Catherine’s Monastery, tomorrow’s destination. What can I tell you about my first camping experience? I thought it was exciting. After all, it was only the first night. The guides made a huge fire and set to work concocting dinner. More bread, tomatoes, salami, hot soup, cans (tins) of fruits and vegetables, chicken and wine.
While they worked on this, ex-Marine and I unrolled the sleeping bags in the sand, changed into long sleeves, sweat pants and climbed in for a fast nap until dinner. We had flown directly from the United States to Israel via Amsterdam and had severe jet lag. Soup on, the guide woke us for dinner and after dinner, the entire group hunkered down around the camp fire for introductions and games, Each person was asked to stand, tell a little about themselves and why they signed up for the Sinai Desert Adventure. Great reasons, interesting backgrounds but need I say that when ex-Marine (never one to pull punches) got his turn, guides and group were momentarily at a loss for words when he stood, abruptly said, “I carry Sheila’s bags” and sat back down. He was not happy…
It is hotter than blazes during the day and frigid at night. Bring warm clothes or you are going to freeze! The group spread out in the sands looking for a spot out of the wind otherwise sand will blow in your face all night and far away enough from the snorers. Then try to find a place to use as a port-a-potty, mummify yourself in the sleeping bag, scrunch around in the sand to make a nice indentation for comfort and fall asleep.
There is an advantage to touring like this. No one showers. No one cares. It’s easy to pack up the pitiful sleeping bags and wear smelly clothes for days on end. With morning, and breakfast (the bread was already getting stale), it was back in the truck for a ride to St. Catherine’s Monastery.