As soon as we leave the resort area and head away from Sinai‘s coast, it feels like stepping back in time. The roadside is lined with barren mountains that appear populated only by a few Bedouins and their camels.
Occasionally, we do pass a small village. Sometimes the homes are constructed of cement block and corrugated steel. Sometimes it is a collection of tents.
We also pass a through a number police checkpoints, probably the most prevalent sign of human settlement in this mostly empty landscape. (Photographing police checkpoints is NOT recommended in Egypt or anywhere else in the world. It’s just a really bad idea even if you do get away with it.) Each checkpoint is staffed by an array of bored-looking guards.
But mostly what we see are rocky, barren hillsides and an occasional acacia tree. It is a harsh land, but not without beauty. The hillsides change color as we travel – bits of the rainbow locked in stone.
We make one stop along the way, a scenic overlook with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The scene includes a Bedouin village far off in the distance.
I can also see tiny dots that seem to be moving.
Indeed, a small group of children are running toward us with bags slung over their shoulders.
It doesn’t take long for them to reach us.