It was really nice, specially that i knew the places and the people from my last visit there, which made my life much easier.
In this trip, not only i enjoyed the place\weather\adventure\experience but i learned a lot of lessons too, mostly from the people with me in the trip.
This is the first time i organize a trip, and the second time i travel with people that i don’t know (my first time was really good and the people were just great -by great i mean they were like me )
Learned Lesson #1:
DO NOT RELY ON PEOPLES WORD!!!!
it is very normal that someone cancels the trip 1 hour before we leave, it doesn’t really matter if it jeopardizes your plans or makes a short in the money (some expenses are shared between everyone, e.g. transportation)
That happened with 2 persons (they don’t know each other) just 1 hour before the trip.
I don’t really mind that you cancel, but i need an early notification, specially that you confirmed several times before.
Anyway, i had 2 friends with me from work coming, we move late from work because one of them had things to do, he also got lost on the way as he was following my car, and we were running so lat, and you know how traffic is on a thursday evening so i had to use some driving skills, which resulted in me going on the Autostrad, and he going on da2ery.
After a lot of phone calls, we managed to meet in Youssef Abbas near my home, where i was supposed to park my car and join them in the other car.
Only to find one of them frustrated from the other and they are not getting along at all!
Learned Lesson #2:
Not every one get along, and not everyone can handle people in a nice way, people could be rude sometimes
The other friend join in my car, and needed to get to an ATM, we went to one nearby, then headed to my home, again, the other friend following got lost (DOH! ) so i told him to wait where he is and we walked to him.
Arriving at the meeting point, more than 1 hour late. we’re the last people to arrive, everyone gives me the dirty look, specially that am the trip organizer and i made sure to annoy everyone not to come late.
I introduced myself, and we had a quick intro meeting, then we started to load the bags in the bus.
We were 8 persons in a microbus (you know this 14 persons toyota one’s?3ataba 3ataba, ramseeesssssss) , after a few hours and a lot of “are we there yet?”
Learned Lesson #3:
It doesn’t matter whether you’re 20 or 30, you can still not be a grown up….it’s not the age that matters, i have seen 15 years old who are more mature and grownup than people over 25
We arrived at a city called Al Tarfah “الطرفه” it’s a VERY small city 15KM before St. Katerine, the city does not have mobile coverage, and as expected no was in the whole city as it was 1:00am specially that it was FREEEZING cold (we knew later it was 2 degrees)
To go to Al Karm, i had to arrange with someone from Al Tarfah to meet us, and takes us in 4×4 into the middle of the desert where Al Karm is located, as normal cars can’t go there.
We couldn’t find the guy waiting or anything, i actually was not sure if that was the correct meeting spot or not, the city is very small we went through it a few times with the bus trying to find anyone awake to ask him, specially that there is no mobile coverage and i can’t call anyone.
We got desperate, we went back to the place where i thought we should meet him, and we started to raise our voices calling his name “ya 3am 3eeeeeedddddd – يا عم عيييييييدددددددد”, luckily, he woke up.
We started moving the bags to his car, to find people bringing weird things (e.g. carton of water(12 bottles for 2 days for 2 persons?), dates(bala7), milk, etc) That is not a problem at all, i don’t really mind, am not lifting anything myself the problem is that i sent a very detailed email to all attendees, stating clearly what to bring, and most people either didn’t read it, or ignored it, so we ended up missing very important stuff (e.g. strong durable shoes suitable for hours of walking in the mountains, and heave sweaters etc)
Learned Lesson #4:
People will never listen until they experience it themselves, you have to say things more than 10 times to make sure they understand, you will always be UNDERESTIMATED in what you say, and people will usually think that you are over reacting.
Anyway, it’s none of my business, i don’t give a darn actually, i got my stuff ready.
We get into the back of a truck with our luggages, and we headed to Al Karm, offcourse, some people did not like that we’re moving in a truck, obviously they overlooked everything(refer to previous learned lessons) i wrote in the email and were expecting to go in a 5 stars resort like Sharm El Sheikh but in the middle of the desert.
Entering Al karm, we are welcomed by the Bedouins, the people there are very friendly i know them from before, they show us to our rooms. The place is all built with rocks, there is no electricity or mobile coverage. The place is lit by candles, torches and solar powered lamps.
The water comes from the wells dug by the Bedouins, and the toilets are “self decomposing” toilets, off course, some people did not like this, specially the toilets parts (in my humble opinion, they are WAY much better than many modern toilets i have seen in Cairo -e.g. Al Kasr Al Ainy Hospoital مستشفى القصر العينى- at least it doesn’t smell, and the seats are clean.
Also, next morning i had comments on “are the utensils clean enough?can i have a plastic spoon?why does the blanket smell?(i told u in the email to bring your own, but you didn’t remember?)am afraid of the insects?can someone come show me the way to the bathroom because am afraid?”
Learned Lesson #5:
Some men(supposed to be, at least it says so on the ID) can be such a 10 years old sissy girl
We woke up early(after a REALLY cold night), we washed up, the water is EXTREMELY cold, but it was quite refreshing after a few minutes
We had a nice breakfast, composed of eggs (shakshouka شكشوكة) cheese with zaatar and olive oil, Bedouins bread, green salad and tin jam. very delicious actually, we had the breakfast in the sun, surrounded by the mountains and sitting on the sand. it was great.
A few minutes later(10:00am), we started to pack our backpacks, we meet our guide, and we headed to the mountains, the views are UNBELIEVABLE, extremely beautiful, the weather was perfect too, not so chili and not hot too.
We walked a nice walk until a mountain called “Al hageeg – الهجيج” we started climbing, resting every now and then, taking photographs and stuff.
We kept walking and moving until around 1:30 or 2:00 pm, some people started to get tired, frustrated and lazy, they kept slowing our movement, which (due to my previous experience) could lead to the sunset while we’re still in the mountains, where we will be stuck and not able to come back, specially that we have no torch on us, which will lead to us dieing freezing from the cold
Some people lost temper and shouted at each other, and some disputes happened, it was not nice, nor mature, but it passed.
Learned Lesson #6:
Some people cannot control their tongues, some people cannot control their anger or temper, and sometimes people can be rude to you for no obvious reason.
Mentioning rudeness, some people think that others are inferior or are “خدامين أبوك” just because they are not from the same social level, so words like “please” and “thank you” does not exist. and also think that only because you paid someone money, you are allowed to control him in every possible way and comment on his way of doing work rudely or even make fun of him.
Learned Lesson #7:
Don’t be shocked if people are not behaving the way your parents taught you, that should be expected, people are DIFFERENT (IN EVERY WAY)
Finally, we arrive back to Al Karm at around 5:30pm, everyone (including me) was dead tired, except for the guide(Ghoneim – غنيم) off course he only had two sips of water the whole day (not joking) while we consumed liters of water, coke and snacks.
We had showers, while we could barely walk on our feet, for some reason, my shower did not have any hot water, it was extremely cold, i was being tortured while taking the shower, but i survived, and to be honest, that was the most refreshing shower i ever had.
We grouped again and went to dinner, it was an ok meal, composed of zucchini (not sure if it’s the correct name) Kosa “كوسة” , rice, soup with lentils and grilled chicken. It was not the best meal i ever had, but it was ok, actually, after 7-8 hours of walking and climbing mountains, i could eat anything, if they gave me kaware3 i would have eaten it.
Followed by some tea and a VERY interesting chat around the camp fire with Amm Jameel “عم جميل” he is running the ecolodge, he is VERY nice, has a lot of entertaining stories, and the guy is a “Walking Encyclopedia”, he seriously is!
we went to bed at around 8:00pm !!
I woke up around mid night, to find some camera flash in my eyes, but i don’t give a damn (you know how i sleep) and i woke up next morning at 7:45am
When i woke up, i find some tensions between the people, obviously some people from the other room, woke up in the middle of the night, and were trying to be fun and kept annoying the others, and they had a good clash
Again, we washup with the cold water, and have our breakfast, the breakfast is beans “فول” bread, green salad and cheese. it was delicious.
I meet with Amm Jameel to finalize some money issues, and he brought the shoes of one of the group as they teared up while walking the day before.
We then agree that we will go to the canyons in his Jeep Wrangler car, we’ll leave our luggage in another truck at Al Tarfah until we come back from the canyons where the bus will meet us in Tarfah too.
We all(8 persons + Amm Jameel) try to fit in the Wrangler, it was very tiring, and could have been recorded in the Guinness records, after a trip of more than 1 hour (driving on 60Km\Hour) we arrive to the Canyons in Wadi 7odra “عين حضرة” we walk for a less than an hour then we arrive to the canyon entrance.
The entrance is bit steepy, and you need a rope to descend, it was nice and adventurous offcourse, not as thrilling as the British people we met, who were just coming down descending the highest mountain in the area “Al Banat – the girls- Mountain جبل البنات” using professional equipments, on the most dangerous side of the mountain.
It was the first time for Amm Jameel in this specific canyon, but amazingly, he knew the way and predicted all possible routes and he even knew when and where we will meet a dead end, these people are very skilled in tracing foot prints and knowing directions, they recognize any foot print in the sand and can know when it was made, by what animal and which way it was going, they could even know if it was old or young, if it’s pregnant or not. and if it’s a man or a car they could tell if he was lifting something heavy and many other things!!!
We finished the canyon, arriving to 3en 7odra, we didn’t have much time to visit the other canyon near it, it was very interesting last time i was there, but we were late with that pace we were moving, because everyone is tired.
We stopped in the “3en” to rest and have a cup of tea, the Bedouins also have very nice herb to drink called “Rabl – الربل”, we also bought some souvenirs from the young girls. You should bargain, but the prices are generally low, 5LE per piece on average.
We then walked back to the cars (we had to climb another STEEEEP sand hill, followed by a small mountain on the way), it was sunset already.
We arrived in Tarfah, one hour late for the driver, we moved our luggages to the bus, said good bye, had a picture with Amm Jameel and we started the trip back home.
I didn’t ride beside the driver on the trip back home, because of many reasons(not to be revealed now )
On the way, we were starving, we had to stop in “Abu Redeis – أبو رديس” which is a small town, on the way to Ras Sudr, it’s used as homes for workers in petroleum companies. We had quick meal there, it was good (1\4 grilled chicken, soup, rice and vegetables 15LE)
The driver asked me if i could join back in the front with him because he had enough with the guy sitting there already.
Learned Lesson #8:
Some people cannot sense when they go over limit, or when other people are fed up with them (check my post on “Melody tata7ada el malal“
On the way back, some (un)funny people made a few jokes, that were quite rude, to me and to the driver, i did not respond to any of them, because:
- I was so tired
- I wanted to end the day peacefully
- I had fun and it didn’t want to ruin the day
- I have enough people who hate me
We arrived home safely, with minor disturbance from the checkpoints.
I had fun, it was a nice trip, though i learned a lot of lessons, the hard way…but the over all was good
I might go again soon when i have time, but this time i’ll put the learned lessons in mind
BTW, in case you want to know, the trip cost is 325LE including everything tips, accommodation, guides, transportation food and everything.
e.g. 1 night stay in Al Karm = 35LE
1 Meal starts from 15 – 30 LE
Guide per day 75-100LE