I am never climbing Mt. Sinai again.

Last weekend, I went to Dahab, a beautiful city on the Sinai Peninsula for the weekend and had an unbelievable time. From snorkeling, eating some of the best sea food ever (and mind you, I am Bangladeshi), riding horses along the beach, somehow not being scared that I was in a body of water 100+ meters deep with jellyfish all around me, was exhilarating.

We stayed at this adorable hotel called Penguin Village (affordable for our student pockets) on a strip with other cute restaurants and hotels, all lining the Red Sea. All of the restaurants and carf were outdoors setting, Baudoin style (cushions and carpets on the floor, brightly colored tapestries, lounge chairs on the roof for sunbathing, and almost all of them with an opening so you can just jump into the water). Our favorite restaurant was called Funny Mummy where we had dinner and breakfasts in our cute red-painted tables and cushioned chairs, with spray bottles on the table to get rid of the cats that would roam around the entire time. I had some of the best drinks in Dahab- banana and mango milkshakes, mixed fuirt juices, fresh mango juice, fresh everything, often covered in aluminum to get rid of flies. I have never had so much calamari in a span of a weekend (calamari sandwich, friend calamari, calamari napolitano…).

It is less touristy than say, Hargada and Sharm Al Sheik, and yet I ran into so many from Sweden and Denmark and Norway. It is the only area where you can be totally comfortable wearing a swimsuit around the streets, as my friends exclaimed with glee as they got sunburned. No practicing Arabic here…

We climbed Mt Sinai the day we reached Dahab- at almost 3 am we start our climb which took about 2.5 hours. It was dark, which was good because I would have been scared to see how steep and high we were going. It was cold, but we were climbing at such an angle and so fast that I was wearing a t-shirt and leggings most of the way. There are camels everywhere, with their owners creaming at you to ride them up the hill. I was so very tired, in pain, and thought I would die and would have loved a camel, but didn’t take one (self-preservation!). Once we get to the stop before the 772 final steps, I fall and thought I twisted my ankle which was just depressing, but I managed to not cry too much and continue. It was seriously, so painful and difficult. It didn’t help that people were screaming in my ear to buy their overprices water bottles, blankets, flashlights, and camels.

At the top, we reached in time to see the sunrise which was, well, gorgeous. The mountains were all rock, reflecting orange and red shades. I had a moment when I was like, wow, this is pretty insane. Insane that  I am at such a historical site, and insane that I made it and didn’t die yet. The site was just too beautiful.

Our exhausted selves made it back down in a few hours, all sore, complaining, and not admitting how scared we were of heights. I almost fell again, to which my guide laughed and realized I probably needed help. There were random Romanian nuns in the mountain, praying together, which was a peaceful site on its own. You could also see a Greek Orthodox temple randomly situated on the edge of a mountain nearby where apparently, monks lived.

So, Mt. Sinai was amazing, but I am never doing it again. Let alone climb. We were all sore, with one of us not even being able to get out of the bed the next day. I had disproportional pains all over my body, whcih was just random, combined with the pain still there from riding horses.

Yes, I rode a horse. And if you know me, you can laugh. Because I have a terrible phobia of animals. I sat in every meal with my feet up because I was scared of cats, and yet I was able to ride a horse, named Sara. It was fun, but the horses did not get into the water much as was promised to us. Typical. What can you say when he comes up to you as you are sitting on the beach, with a horse running in the water? We fall for everything.

Just a very beautiful weekend, literally. So no wonder I am here at the library writing this instead of practicing my presentation that is in an hour.

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