The Desert of the Exodus: Journeys on Foot in the Wilderness of the Forty Years' Wanderings; Undertaken in Connection with the Ordnance Survey of Sinai and the Palestine Exploration Fund

By E. H. Palmer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.
FROM SUEZ TO SINAI.

Suez: The Start. Our Escort. Scenes on Loading. Daily Camp-life. First Night in the Desert. 'Ayún Músa. Passage of the Red Sea. 'Ain Hawwárah and Wády Gharandel. Probable Sites of Marah and Elim. Legend of Abu Zena's Horse. Wády Nasb. Sarábít el Khádim. Egyptian Remains. Wády Lebweh. Hostilities between the Government and the Bedawín. Wády Berráh. "The Speaking Stone." Wády es Sheikh. El Watiyeh. The latter proposed as a Site for Rephidim. Tomb and Legend of Nebí Sáleh. His probable Identity with Moses. A Bedawí Greeting. Arrival at Mount Sinai. First Impressions. The Rás Sufsáfeh. Reception at the Convent.

HAVING thus given a general account of the nature of our work and of the physical aspect of the country itself, I now come to the more personal experiences of the Expedition, the actual narrative of our wanderings in the wilderness.

On the 8th of November, 1868, I received a telegram informing me that my future companions had arrived at Suez; and, packing up with all speed, I made my way to the Cairo railway station. It was early morning, and from every minaret rung the clear voice of the Muezzin warning the hushed city that "prayer is better than sleep;" and the subdued blue light which fell upon the hundred domes of Cairo threw into deeper shade the goblin forms of the prickly pear-trees that bordered the path. A few hours more and I had reached my destination, and beheld Egyptian village-life in all its squalid ophthalmic reality. Yet the half-blind dirty creatures seemed happy, and I came to the conclusion that good spirits and bad living are not incompatible, after all. A noisy crowd, dressed in every variety of costume which we are accustomed to associate with dramatic pictures of Blue Beard (1d. plain, 2d. colored) awaited the arrival of the train, and a dozen sturdy

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