One of the coolest trips in my life was a mountainbike trip across the sinai desert with a friend of mine. It should have been organized by a travel agency specialized on such kind of thing but sadly they cancelled the tour as we were the only 2 guests who had signed up in late November. We begged them for their local contacts which was sub sinai adventures in Dahab. A bedouin was to be our guide in a jeep, we had our mountain bikes; the only other thing we knew we a vague notion of camping in the desert, for 6 days.
Finally we took off, drove for a while until the road was no more and the guide let us be known we were now on our own. The jeep would always head off showing us the general direction. More was not necessary since when there is no road it does not matter where you drive. If there is no sand as we quickly discovered. Because in sand you can drive as well as breath in Beijing.
We enjoyed a sensational feeling of freedom. Where in Europe can you drive where you want? Nowhere because there will be a fence, a building, a forest, a mountain or something always forcing you to choose a road. Not here. Here is nowhere. Here is vast sand, stone, rock desert. It was thrilling to search for your way, to learn to interpret the underground, to learn how to tackle this or that or the other surface.
At one point we crossed an endless vast area full of rocks, from 10cm to 20cm big. At first you carefully drive around them, eventually getting tired and hitting one. To our surprise our bikes allowed us to drive right over them, bumpy but ok. So literally bumped around for perhaps 2 hours like this!!!
Every later afternoon the jeep would have picked a night spot for us. At first we expected a tent but there was no tent. There was our sleeping bags on the sand, around a fire place. The bedouin would walk away and before you knew it had disappeared in thin air. I could not understand how did this but he was gone. And 15min later he reappeared out of thin air with a handful of firewood. The fire would cook us a delicious vegetable soup, a fresh bread (simply under the fire - in the sand) and loads of tea. The night would settle in, revealing a sky so full of sparkling stars it always hurt looking it. At the night the desert was almost basking in the star light. And at the same time this was the quietest place I have ever been. No wind. No leaves. No birds. No insects. No cars or planes, no radio, no phone. At any point we could hear our heartbeat.
This would go on for six days, where we also passed Saint Catherine, a bedouin village, many water holes in the middle of nowhere, always protected by a child there to quickly serve us water (we thought to protect it!), an old smaragd mine 5000 years old and once personal property of the pharaoh, the Nuwei canyon, plenty of illegal Marihuana plantations heavily guarded by local bedouins and more.
An unforgettable experience. The desert is unlike other places. Do not do this silly Quad thing. Or motor bikes. Mountainbiking is for real guys and girls.
In current times this may be rather dangerous. We were there in about 2005. The desert is always the same, the politics change.
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