Here's something that i dug up from a paper i had written after coming back from egypt.
One of the first few weekends I was there a new friend Max called me up and asked, “are you busy this weekend? Ok, meet me at the bus station in the morning and bring a sleeping bag.” And this was the beginning of my first adventure, and it truly was just that. In the morning I found myself at the bus station, in reality it was just a huge lot with ten different bus companies scattered around and filled with people who only speak Arabic. After much searching I found Max, and we were off to, to, to….well to be honest we weren’t sure. Armed with bread, some jelly, sleeping bags, and our handy Fodor’s Egypt guide, we took off!
Some four hours into the bus ride the bus driver let us off, strangely enough it was just the two of us who got off. It was a fork in the road, on one side was the red sea, the other desert and not a town for 3 miles in any direction! After some lunch and deliberation, we hitchhiked (not highly recommended) on an unusual overcrowded bus full of Coptic Christians; a large Egyptian man who closely resembled Santa Claus invited us on.
From there it was on to St. Paul’s Monastery, the first in the monastic tradition. Some monks gave us food and a room. Thus far everything just seemed to be happening for us, it was amazing and completely spontaneous. We stayed for a few days and hiked, just trying in vain to capture and take in all the serenity that was around us in the middle of the desert. Hiking was one of the activities of choice, and no words can describe the immense fullness of what we saw. Imagine climbing a mountain, when you reach the top you can see miles in any direction and still see no sign of life-a road, a tree, a house-nothing! Imagine climbing to a place where the wind gusts so that you can hardly stand to see the canyon that the wind has eroded away, just years of wind!
Traveling is an excellent way to meet people. We played soccer with some of the other people visiting, and it was a bonding experience despite the language and cultural gaps we connected, beyond words. At this point everything good just seemed to happen, so convenient, and when we thought about how we were going to get back to Cairo, some of our new friends offered us a ride to Cairo, a 4-hour ride! When we arrived back and tried to explain the details of our trip, the response was pure jealousy. It excites me to see a person totally enthralled by a story of something I did. OH and by the way, this 3-day excursion ended up costing around $6.