Tuesday 16 February 2010: Donkey Taxi
Bicycles were today's prefered mode of transport today and so 13 of us were kitted out with mountain bikes for our meanderings around the historic ruins of Siwa.
The two non cyclists were provided with a donkey taxi which might have been more elegant but which was a lot slower.
Siwa is a very very old town and some of the previous dwellings are just seen now as ruins. Nowadays it is a bustling place full of donkeys pulling carts, trucks, scooters and the odd tourist bus. What you hardly ever see are women on the street, and when you do they are completely covered from head to toe and with a black veil over their face. They certainly don't seem to walk about on their own - they are usually in a donkey card with their children and their husband.
After a while you become used to the general hubub of trucks tooting , donkeys braying, and the general clamour along with the heat and dust. What is harder to comprehend is the cruelty of beating the donkeys so viciously.
Our meanderings took us to the Mountain of the Dead where there a a large number of tombs belonging to the Pharoic age and then to the Oracle Temple to where, I believe, Alexander the Great came. Now it's just a huge ruin.
After a cold swim in the swimming pool we all cycled to the large salt water lake near Siwa to watch the sun go down while having some nonalcoholic drinks. There was a beautiful new crescent moon in the sky looking like the one you see on top of mosques - not at quite the same angle as the one we see at home.