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July 3rd, 2004 - The Orientalist

About July 3rd, 2004

I believe in Moses (but id rather worship false idols) 04:36 pm
Alright i am many updates behinds but here is my tale of climbing the much revered Mount Sinai.

On the ride their i felt like i was slipping though the night. The minibus had no windows. It was two in the morning and i listend to my discman imagining the Isrealities lost in the wilderness. The rocks were shapped like daggers, all pointing to the sky. I slide open the window and the wind blew though my hair and between my teeth. Driving though the night reminds me of the 417 and the back seat of my parents car, a safe place with dim lights, sliding under an arc od darkness. A muslim girl fell asleep on my should. I saw four shooting stars and montains. I saw an arm of our galaxy forzen like a paralized cloud. We passed though militaray checkpoints where men dressed in white, with guns slung behind their shoulder raised their gate and waved us though. At that point i fell asleep.

New theological questions emerge when you climb Mount Sinai at three AM on a Sunday night. For those without a zillion years of early childhood religious education, Mont Sinai is where Moses was revealed the first 10 commandments, all the while the Isrealities where worship false idols below. So as you climb for 3 hours over jagged rocks and steep mountain passes you realize that Moses must have been sure he was really on two something to do this, especially without the help of mini beduine convenient stores that sell hot tea and coke cans as old as Abraham on the trail up. Maybe Moses just simply failed to mention he was only able to complete this task because he hired a beduine to take him on a camel to the top. After climbing for hours in the cold and compete darkness, worshiping things made of clay at the bottom the mountain did not seem like such a bad idea. Once you reach the top, you run into more Beduines, this time they are renting blankets, which gives new theological implications to how God was able to protect him while he stayed in the top (although its suppose to be Ezra's cave, which i relived myself in, having no idea it religious/historical significance at 5 in the morning, God help me). On the way up you pass groups of travelers all carrying flash lights and when you look down the mountain you can see little packs of lights of bus groups from all over the world moving up the mountain.

After the Gospel Choir, the Russians and the Egyptian school children had left i was alone on Mount Sinai, except for a Christian man. He wore two sets of glasses, one for reading and another for the sun. He was praying on a rock. I wanted to stand on his rock. He saw me and climbed down to great me. He said he was from Lithuania, then a guest of wind made a book stumble from his hand. It was still cold and I was wrapped in a blanket. His crucifix knocked against his nose as he picket up his book. I smiled and he took off his hat. He said he was a pilgrim and he lived at the bottom of the mountain. His home was the monastery, it was made of bricks and had been their for hundreds of years. I said i was far from home, then he left me their. I climbed onto his rock. I pushed my forehead against the stone. I prayed and mountains touched the sky like fingers and clouds broke against them like waves.

All together is was an amazing experience. I am still two weeks behind typing what i have seen and its all in my note book i just have to type it in. i am back in dahab know where the Internet flows like smoke from a huka so i will be sending another update, proably about Newiba in a week. The plan is now to spend a couple more days here on the beach, mainly because its a good place to get thinking done. Then i am planning an epic 1000 mile treck though the western destert, where i will visit a couple oasis. From their it will be up to alaxandria and then back to Cairo, where as hard as it will be for me to believe but my trip will be almost done by then.
p.s. The egyptian guy who runs the internet cafe is playing Leanord Cohen, how strange. I asked and he says he is a big fan, weird.
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