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 XIII.
THE OUTLYING DISTRICTS OF SINAI.

Ascent of Umm Shomer. View from the Summit. Legend of the Maiden's Rock. Mysterious Sounds on the Mountain. The Science of Gaiyáfeh. The Plain of Sened and Jebel Umm 'Alawí. Copper Mines at Jebel Habashí. Trip to 'Ain Hudherah. Erweis el Ebeirig. Remains of an Israelitish Camp. Kibroth Hattaavah. Hazeroth. Tomb of Nebí Sáleh. Ceremonies observed there. Rujeim Zuweidíyeh. Preparations for Departure. Wády Tarfah. Night March across el Gá'ah. Homewardbound.

WE had now to make a tour of the principal outlying mountains and valleys in the Peninsula. The first place to which we bent our steps was Jebel Umm Shomer, whose commanding summit presented a most favorable point for completing the work of triangulation.

Taking the same route over the water-shed of Wády Sebaíyeh which we had followed some months before on our way to Jebel Hadíd, we entered a broad, dismal valley called Wády Rahabeh, where a few of the Umm. Shomer Arabs had pitched their tents. Seeing us approach, they spread their best carpets by the way-side, and hastened to prepare coffee, of which they courteously invited us to partake. In deference to the laws of Arabian etiquette, we sat down and chatted with them for some time, and, when we rose to take our departure, the sheik, to my intense horror, precipitated himself upon my neck and treated me to a stage embrace in token of fraternal amity! When we recall the difficulty which Burckhardt and other earlier travelers experienced from this same tribe, their reception of us affords a striking instance of the change that may be wrought in a people during the lapse of a few years by partial contact with civilization. A short journey brought us to Wády Zeytúneh, where we pitched our tent in a lit

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