Monday, June 3, 2013

Taking the kids to Siwa oasis. (Egypt)

Last year I traveled with seniors to Barcelona and this year with middle school students to Siwa oasis-about 30 miles from the Libyan border. Of the two, I would say with the punishing heat and level of commitment, this year's trip was a little more intense. The process of driving 8 hours to get there coupled with the paranoia of security (kidnappings have become more common-so the parents say) set the initial tone. Sadly, I would have to say Egyptian are becoming more like Americans in that fear and uncertanity has started to influence their pursuit of happiness in post-revolution Egypt. But all that adult non-sense didn't keep our kids down, in fact I would say they committed to a festive mood once the bus left the school...junk food, off key singing to pop songs and all.  

We needed a break from the 3 C's: chips, cookies, and cupcakes so we stopped in Mersa Matruh for Pizza Hut.
To serve and protect.
Mersa is a popular summer destination.
The bus driver.
Military checkpoint, there were plenty.
All that driving was worth the wait.
Salt. I ate some salt crystals/dirt on the ground.
Race to the top.
360 view of Siwa
On top of the world.
Dinner time at Cleopatra's bath.
4:30 am at camp.
Mary may have had a little lamb, but so did the dogs.
munch, munch, munch

A walk around camp.
Lit candle in tent = bad idea. Nayla lost some clothes in the fire.
Flies were brutal.
Aly ready for action.
We had to wait an hour to get permission to go into the desert.
Our guards.
On the edge.

This was once a sea.


We did a lot of this, and no one tipped over.

Hazy sunset. We spent several hours at lunch near a salt lake. It was about 112 degrees. Several of us stayed in the cool water.
Sand boarding. I had a nice wipeout.

It may be fun to ride down the coming up is another beast.
Phone service means calls home. Later that evening we camped in the desert under the stars.
Biking in 100 degree heat, not the best idea.
Mountain of the dead.
The bustling metropolis.
She had 72 bites. Her legs were a buffet for biting insects.
Inside the Temple of the Oracle of Amun.
Obligatory jail photo.
Temple of the Oracle of Amun.

View of Shali (the old fortress made of mud bricks) washed away by the rain.
Siwa is pretty conservative and denies it's past homosexuality haven. There are a couple of good articles about Siwa's past regarding relationships between boys and men in the olive groves.
Blood bothers.
Another sunset lost in the haze.
The fish that caused a lot of laughter and tears.