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CAMEL RIDE UP MOUNT SINAI


It is 3:00 in the morning and we are waiting with other pilgrims on the back side of Saint Catherine’s Monastery at the base of mount Sinai. It is a moonless night, pitch black beyond the small light we huddle around. I wonder if I dressed warm enough, I am surprised it can be so cold in the desert, but what can I do--I only packed a light coat?


Then out of the darkness appear a group of men leading the camels we will ride up the mountain. Mount Sinai is about 7500 feet high and the plan is to get to the peak just at sunrise. After some minimal introductions, each of us is lead out on our camel with a Bedouin guide holding the reins and leading the way. As we slip into the darkness, I realize I am heading out into the desert, hundreds of miles from nowhere with an armed man whom I just met who speaks a total of seven English words--it is so dark I can barely see past my camel’s head.


We quietly move up the mountain and gradually a series of fire lit huts come into view far off in the distance. People have been walking up this mountain for thousands of years, traveling to the peak where Moses met with God and was given the ten commandments. Now, no one is sure that this is the exact place where Moses met with God, but it was somewhere in this area in the desert of Egypt.


Slowly we ascend the mountain, winding back and forth past the fire lit huts. I am alone in the dark, riding a one eyed camel hundreds of miles from any sense of civilization and as I pass each hut the occupants cry out, "Kit Kat, Baby Ruth, Coca Cola." In the desert the Hebrews were offered manna and cool water from a rock...we are offered highly processed sugar and caffeine.


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