I can see why the ancient Egyptians built the Pyramids to look like they do.
The template is everywhere in the crumbling mountains around me. Here you can see tbe process of mountains being ground to dust. The Sinai Peninsula doesnt resemble the Egypt I have been dreaming of. Its more like an extension of the mountains of Jordan, which technically it is.
We are stopped at an armed checkpoint on our way to Mt Sinai. We are used to seeing these now - we passed through many in Jordan - but this time there seems to be some trouble and they want to see our passports. Its our first indication that security is a big issue here at the moment. We are soon on our way again without event.
I dont know why Moses chose all the god-forsaken places on this planet to have his epiphanies.
Couldnt he have checked out the Bahamas? Or even wandered south into tropical Africa? That being said the St Catherines monastery at the foot of Mt Sinai is a gorgeous little compound of limestone and timber and ancient olive trees, where the church steeple, beside the mosque minaret and summit of Mt Sinai all stretch toward the heavens. The church itself, a very small 6th century Greek Orthodox, is one of the most ethereal I have ever entered. There are hundreds of what look like incense burners or maybe candle holders suspended from the ceiling. There are many gold painted icons of saints or holy figures. The silverware is exquisite, the tessallated floor stunning, and the ornately carved woodwork a triumph of craftmanship. You are not allowed to take photos and you are not allowed to speak! Thank goodness - the brevity of this holy place is enhanced by the silence.
Out the back is the Burning Bush. Hmmmm. Maybe. Its a rather lush looking canopy of a plant I cant identify. Its trunk is hidden from view so its not possible to determine its age. Did I think I was looking at a 3000+ year old plant? Ahhhh, no. Less than 50 paces away is Moses' well where he aparently met his wife, AND another 500 metres away we were shown a cute attempt at a recreation of the golden calf carved into the sandstone.
Cynicism aside, this really is the most inhospitable place. Maybe its just the freezing temperature. Im sitting in bed at the Safary Moonland Camp (I kid you not).
Tomorrow we leave the Judao-Christian religion behind and move toward the one that has captivated me all my life - ancient Egypt. My pilgrimage is only just beginning.