Saturday, February 16, 2008

Approaching Siwa Oasis

Egypt's Siwa Oasis is about 180 miles (if memory serves) south of the coastal town of Marsa Matruh. In the fall of 1988 I spent about 3 months traipsing around in that neighborhood on a mountain bike, and Siwa made a big impression on me. When Alexander the Great visited an oracle there, he referred to the place as ancient. This is a view of the types of rock formations you see as the road drops down into the Qatara Depression, in which the oasis is located. (I highly recommend googling "Qatara" or "Qattara" or "Siwa" to see what it's like.
While I saw some incredible sights, I'm hesitant to endorse my method of getting there. I suggest you travel by means other than bicycle.

Crossing the Country

It rained for most of my trip across the U.S. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it made for spectacular skies and brought out the colors of the desert. It made a lot of the landscape more memorable than it would have been under sunny skies.

I'm not likely to forget a herd of pronghorn antelope I saw in Arizona, standing forlornly with their heads down against the driving sleet, or a train, muscling its miles of freight cars along under scudding clouds.