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Journal 2

January 25, 2004

On the journey from Egypt to Jordan the landscape changes drastically from
the lush greens of the Nile delta to the harsh browns of the Sinai
wilderness. The smooth sandy landscape is punctuated by severe
mountains-- immense sleeping beasts with bony joints and folds of skin.
Farther south they become more harsh-- brown shards piercing the horizon.
They have their own austere beauty. This is the wilderness in which the
children of Israel wandered.

We spent an afternoon in the southern resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. We
enjoyed the beach and snorkeled along a coral reef swarming with colorful
exotic fish-- a visual feast, a striking contrast to the desert palette.

The next day we awoke in the surreal dream time of early morning to climb
Mt. Sinai before sunrise. I remember pausing in the ascent to look back
and see the trail of lights winding up the trail behind me-- many
pilgrims on the journey.

We huddled together at the top, straining to see the first pink fingertips
of dawn. There we sang 606; other groups also lifted songs. The
atmosphere was still and quiet, expectant waiting.

From Sinai we crossed over into Jordan. We spent a fantastic day at Petra
which proved to be the perfect playground for a bunch of energetic
students with tour bus fever. We saw the beautiful Nabatian tombs and
other building facades carved into the sandstone and marvelled at the
fantastic shapes and colors of the rock in the long canyon leading to the
city. Many of us hiked to an ancient monastery from when Christianity was
introduced to Petra in the 3rd century. Several of us hiked to the high
place of sacrifice to watch the sun sink below the sandstone horizon.

The next two nights we spent in Bedouin tents in Wadi Rum. We took a
Jeep tour of the area, as well as a camel trek. We enjoyed the Bedouin
food and hospitality in a large common tent. It is here that we began to
understand why the children of Israel complained in the wilderness and
longed to return to Egypt. There is a sense of impermanence accented in
the shifting sand dunes and tents blowing in the cold winds. There is a
harshness to the cold and wind. The red sand is inescapable, coating our
clothes and food. This is also an exciting place of self-discovery and
challenge that I imagine was deeply shaping to the Israelites.

Our last day in Jordan, we travelled to Ammon, stopping at Mt. Nebo and a
mosaic factory. Today we crossed the border at Allenby Bridge into West
Bank, excited to enter this new chapter in our journey-- from the
wilderness into Canaan.

- Anna Dintaman

Photo galleries:
(from most to
least recent)

Gallery 14

Gallery 13

Gallery 12

Gallery 11

Gallery 10

Gallery 9

Gallery 8

Gallery 7

Gallery 6

Gallery 5

Gallery 4

Gallery 3

Gallery 2

Gallery 1