Days in the Desert

Ninety four percent of Egypt is desert so what better place to visit, while in Egypt, but the desert.  We made 2 trips into the sandy wasteland: one to see the sunset, the other to ride camels.  In both instances we went in 4×4 Jeeps to Bedouin camps to learn more about them and their lifestyle.

Basically they set up camps near water (wells dug by the government) and stay there until the water runs out.  Depending on the season, some of the members of the village take the herd of goats over the mountains for better grazing land.  Their only income is from tourists who visit the camps, so this latest political uprising in Egypt has severely impacted their lives, because tourism is the largest “employer” in Egypt.

The Bedouins are Muslim and, even in these temporary camps, they have built prayer rooms for their daily devotions.  In most instances the women do the majority of the work: cooking the food, tending the children and herds of goats, bringing the water to the camp (women are allowed to drive trucks for this purpose), and anything else that needs doing.

At each camp we visited, we were offered extremely hot tea (one time plain, one time sweet).  Then the men would explain their customs and lifestyle and show us how they make unleavened bread on the open fire (very tasty) and goat cheese.

The major enjoyment for me was experiencing the peacefulness of it all, the rugged beauty of the desert, and to interact with the people.

We enjoyed the sunset and the camel rides (though we were all sore the next day).  It is definitely a different way of life, but it helps one to understand why the people were so unhappy with the Mubarak regime taking the money that should have been spent to better the people’s daily living standards and education. It is estimated that Mubarak amassed over 67 billion dollars for his personal fortune. It will be interesting to come back in 5 or 10 years and see if there have been reforms that benefit the people.

Enjoy the pictures!

 

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2 Responses to “Days in the Desert”

  1. Betty Schnatterly April 12, 2011 at 10:51 am

    You are all so brave to ride a camel!!!! Good for you. The pictures are beautiful
    Betty

  2. These pics are amazing! I love all of the vibrant colors of their clothes and the close ups of their beautiful faces! Did y’all partake in the Hookahs?
    I have really loved reading all of the blogs and seeing the pics! I’m going back to day one and reading again and enjoying the photos!

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