March 4, 2011

Colored Canyon, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

The day after we rode camels at Wadi Gazelle, Kathleen was feeling better and we were off to the Colored Canyon. The Sinai gets so little rain that there really are not that many erosional features as compared to the Desert Southwest of the United States. But, there is one area with a deep canyon and that is the Colored Canyon.

For people who have lived and explored the Canyon Country of Utah and Arizona, this area was not anything heart-stopping. But, it was a cool place to check out and would be considered amazing by those less experienced in this type of landscape. We had a 2nd guide with us, I forget his name, who was so excited to see Americans coming to see the canyon.

We had long and interesting discussions about how after 9-11 the fledgling American tourist crowd dried up on the Sinai Peninsula. It seemed that those Americans who still were coming to Egypt were sticking to Cairo and Luxor. In fact, he said we were only the 2nd group of Americans he had taken to the canyon in three years!

It was fun discussing the different aspects of visitors to Egypt. For instance, he and Mohammed described the British as being arrogant and snobbish. They basically said they did not really like the Brits. They talked about Americans being very loud and obnoxious, but also the most friendly and easy-going of the visitors. Mohammed said he was surprised about how quiet and shy we were given we were Americans. But, he also said we were surprisingly interested in and forthcoming in our questions about Egyptian society, socio-economic status, politics, and history. The Germans were the most serious and inquisitive tourists. As for the most gregarious and fun loving of the tourists? That would be the Italians of course! In fact, they called the Italians "their brothers across the sea", since Egyptians are also known for being gregarious.

Well, our last day in the Sinai Desert was an enjoyable one full of interesting geologic sites and fun conversation. We can most definitely recommend anyone to take a trip out to the Sinai if they are heading to Egypt once the current unrest settles down.

The next morning, we were off back to Cairo to visit the pyramids in Giza, the National Museum, as well as, a trip down to Luxor to see the sites down there. That is where this blog is headed next.

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