Weekend in Siwa (Part 2)
Trip Start Jan 22, 2010
15Trip End May 29, 2010
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We did the usual 8 am breakfast thing at the hotel then hopped on the bus to go into town. We basically had free time until noon, and all of us decided we wanted to shop and walk around the town of Shali. There are numerous handcraft shops selling everything from scarves to bags to rugs to coin purses...you get the idea. They were all handmade by the women villagers in Shali, so I bought an absolutely gorgeous scarf and felt as though I did my share to boost Shali's economy. After wandering around we ended up at the same coffee shop where I indulged in another Turkish coffee-I need to find this stuff in America for real! We headed back to the hotel around 11:30am, and the next adventure on the agenda was lunch with Bedouins!! I was looking forward to this whole trip solely because of this lunch....and it didn't happen. I'm still not sure why, something about prayer and timing, etc. But anyway we ended up eating at the hotel- not too exciting, and finally at 1pm we were ready for the Saturday adventure- a desert safari in the Sahara Desert!!!!!!!!
We walked out front and their were three jeep-like vehicles parked and waiting; we divided ourselves into cars- I was with three of the guys, Tamer, and Lindley. Before we left, we were told to run back and get our bathing suits which I thought was a joke. Really? We're going swimming in the desert? Who does that? Our driver was a native Shali man, dressed in a full white garment and wasn't the most cheerful guy, but he kept us alive so, whatever. Matthew told us before we left to hold on to the roof when it got too rough, especially if we flipped upside down. UM WHAT? I was legitimately freaking out and felt like we were about to embark on a roller coaster ride that I was too scared to ride. Oh well- I'm totally brave right?
We began driving into the desert, specifically called The Great Sand Sea- it literally used to be the bottom of the Sea, but now is blatantly a sea of sand, with actual shells and fossils of fish in some areas- very cool. We sped through the desert, bumping up and down, and I took an insane amount of pictures and was literally giddy with excitement. I must have said "Oh.My.God. This is SO awesome" five million times along with "This is the best time of my life!" around 3 million times. We drove up and down sand dunes (which are basically moving mountains)- the wind was BRUTAL on this day. We would go up and down the dunes, hold on tight yell and scream, because it felt exactly like a roller coaster ride
We came to a stop at the bottom of a dune and got out of the car- WHAM! sand in my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my shoes, my hair- Immediately! I didn't care. I leaped over to the other cars jumping up and down because, "Oh. My. God. This is SO AMAZING!!" I ran over and began to run up the sand dune, which is not as simple as I thought. I eventually made it to the top with some of the others and began snapping pictures, until my camera broke from all the sand blown into it. At the top of the dune the wind was outrageous, and I had so much sand in my eyes I could hardly see- somehow I looked down and found the sand had blown all the way up to my calves- I decided to head back to the bottom where the car was, so I lifted my foot out of the deep sand and......MY SHOE!!! I LOST MY SHOE!!" That's what I kept screaming over and over as I lay in the sand with one shoe on and one shoe off and lost in the depths of the sand. I dug and dug and dug, but it was a goner. And I was less one shoe in the desert. Other people came over to help me dig for it but we couldn't find it and the wind was too strong, so I started to get up and head back when low and behold there was my shoe laying on the surface next to me, slightly covered in sand!!!!!! Success!! I was a very lucky girl- I kindly thanked the desert for giving my shoe back and walked to the car- both feet covered:)
We hopped in and started the off-road driving again until we ended up at a little area where there was a tiny hole in the ground hot water spring!!!
I though climbing a pyramid was hard- nope, climbing a freakishly steep sand dune beats that a million times over. We had to carry the board too, with the wind pushing me backwards and the sand constantly moving under my feet, I felt like every step really made me go back two steps
At the bottom of the hill was a huge...lake? This is where the swim suits come in handy- we parked and went to the water, which ironically was freezing cold. No way I was going in there- too much wind, too much sand, too much cold water. I rolled up my pants and put my feet in, and there were actually only three people who put on their suits and went in- it was that cold. We basically hung out here for the rest of the day, making sand sculptures, and a few feet away the drivers had set up a tent and were heating tea by fire, so we sat up in the tent, finally away from the wind, and drank some hot delicious tea