Saturday, November 26, 2011

25th November Happy Half Century


It gets to us all in the end and here I am, I suppose I should reflect on the last 50 years and where I am now but I’m not going to, instead I had my friends round for pizza (from Dominos), home made garlic bread and chicken wings and 2 birthday cakes. Geoff and I went to the cake shop and Donna brought a delicious chocolate cake from the Fino Bakery as well. Timothea bought me flowers, Ivy had left me a book to scarp into and Geoff had got his mum to bring the ‘Lord of The Rings’ blu ray extended edition dvds across when she came at the beginning of the month.

We had a great time and it was brilliant to share this milestone with all my friends. Mum and Dad and Ivy phoned while we were eating and Steve and Al sent emails. All in all a perfect day.


11th November ‘The trip Back’


After a breakfast of honey, fig jam, flat bread and cheese triangles we wandered round for an hour while the guide and driver packed up camp then we headed off to rescue a group camping with the same company whose 4x4 wouldn’t start! After jump starting their engine we continued our tour.

First we went and found an acacia tree (same wood Moses built the Tabernacle and the poles to carry the Ark out of ) growing in the middle of nowhere. It was full of life, spiders, bees, birds, a small burrow, . . . .


From here we went to the  ‘Small Oasis’, now this is what Hollywood makes you think an Oasis is half a dozen palm trees and a pool of water. Not 92 km by 40 km!


The place was surrounded with a legend involving a dinosaur eating people and the eggs it had laid. The egg shell was still there (chalk formations) as well as a cave that had been used as a dwelling.


From the photo you can see the reason for the egg story.

Our last stop was for a scenic view of the black desert, for all those willing to walk to the top (45 mins) we were promised an amazing scenic view, only Geoff was interested as by now the rest of us were quite tired, so we settled for some photos at the bottom.


Then back to the hotel and the mini bus to travel back to Cairo. We stopped at the petrol place on the way back and ended up giving the wife of the owner of the company back to Cairo as her car had broken down. We were back in Maadi for 5 and real toilets after an amazing 2 days away.

11th November Sleeping out


The tour provides tents, mattresses, sleeping bags and camel hair blankets so we were all kitted out for a night of fun. The desert provided open air toilets with amazing views of the camp fires of the other tours and the moon lit (full moon) panorama.

Our amazing cook/driver produced rice, bbq chicken and an Egyptian vegetable dish, even Maddy ate the veg and asked for more!IMG_9299IMG_9302  

After dinner some of the other campers came and joined us bringing the entertainment with them. First a couple from Barnett who were spending 2 weeks in Egypt and had an amazing drummer with them and then 3 Germans heard the noise and wandered across. Copious amounts of mint tea were drunk from small cups the drummer brought with him, I tried it but didn’t like it much – too sweet for me. Every one was gone by 9:30 pm as we were all (apart from Maddy) intending to be up to see the sunrise at 5:30 am.


Sleeping in the desert can be cold, Maddy and Pritti had opted for separate tents and mentioned their faces were cold. I had Geoff and was fine!

Sunrise was slow to arrive but we were up at 5:30am ready and waiting and got to see the moon set as well.

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Then back to bed for some extra sleep before breakfast and our final day.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

10th November Black Desert


We all slept well and enjoyed a good breakfast which included pancakes, cucumber and tomato, flat bread, cheese triangles, and other things I forget now. The 4x4 to take us into the desert was out of petrol so they had to send for another one with all our camping gear on! This took a while so we played cards and chatted while we waited. Finally, around 11am, we set off. We journeyed up and down sand dunes, there are 5 types of sand dunes of which 4 can be found in Egypt Geoff tells me!


The black desert was first, formed from volcanic action it looked like this.


Then it was on to a well for a lunch break. All the tour guides seemed to b ring their tours here and if you wanted you could sit in the spring water as it it collected. We settled for wetting our feet as we sat inside waiting for our driver to prepare our lunch. He was an  amazing cook and well worth the wait, due mainly to the drivers taking turns in the kitchen.


Then onto the White Desert and our overnight stop . . . . .

10th November White Desert


This desert was an ocean 40 million years (or so) ago. The formations are chalk and have been weathered over time.

WOW. Here are a few crummy pictures to try and show you how awesome it is!

The first formation is called ‘The Crystal Mountain’ because it’s made from crystal!


From here we drove through the Valley of Obstacles.


Then onto the formations . . . . . and the fossils.

Next time on the blog – sleeping in the desert