Tag Archives: Ritz Carlton

Tan Like An Egyptian (oh whey oh)

14 Dec

Apparently I must have the same understanding of time as a dog – which is none.  This is the only explanation I can come up with as to why I have waited so long to post a new link!  That said – it is time to wrap up our Egyptian adventure…

BEACH FASHION: Alexander Wang Crocodile Print Silk and Mesh Halter Dress

We decided to end our vacation to Egypt on a totally relaxing note.  And, what is more relaxing than the beach?  Also, how many times do you get the chance to beach it up by the Red Sea?  I mean…I just wanted to see for myself how impressive Moses’ work was. Honestly, it is a big sea.  I am pretty sure he broke a sweat while parting it.

Pathway to Snorkeling

The beaches were beautiful and the snorkeling was incredible to say the least.  In fact, on the walkway out to the resort’s snorkeling platform, we saw the most colorful and exotic fish either of us had ever seen…in just 2 feet deep of water!  We are not certified divers, but I can only imagine what an experience that would have been.  For all the divers out there – Sharm el Sheikh should definitely be on your travel destination wish list.

We spent 3 nights in Sharm el Sheikh.  I feel this allowed us enough time for sunbathing, dining on delicious seafood, and most importantly to me – climbing Mount Sinai – i.e. Mount Moses.  This was truly the pinnacle of our visit.  How could we come to this part of the world and not hike the path of Moses on his mission to read the Ten Commandments? How could we not go to the site of what is believed to be The Burning Bush?

I did plenty of research on Mt. Sinai before our trip which helped me realize that the most enjoyable way to hike the mountain is to hire a private English-speaking tour guide – so with a recommendation from our hotel – I did just that.  Mount Sinai is about a 2 hour drive from Sharm el Sheikh – so the excursion we booked included a private van to take us to the base of the mountain.  In order to reach the summit by sunrise, our car and tour guide picked us up at our hotel close to midnight.  Around 2AM (after a great car snooze) we made a pit stop to use the loo and hear the story of Moses over a cup of joe before beginning the climb.  (Note: Of course it was a pay toilet.  The Egyptians never miss an opportunity to capitalize on tourism!)

The Summit

By 3AM we were at the base of the mountain with flashlights in hand ready for the climb.  I had greatly underestimated the amount of people who would be making the journey along side of us.  It was outstanding and incredibly moving.  And although it wasn’t a loud crowd, as everyone seemed focused on the task at hand, I could still hear bits of the story of Moses being told in over a dozen different languages.

Some visitors opt to ride a camel for part of the way or for the entire trip to the top.  We opted to trek it by foot for a more accurate “Moses” experience (and honestly…our bodies needed some serious calorie burning after 2 weeks of vacation eating).  It was a bit claustrophobic at the beginning of the climb as the herd of people all start at the same time.  We really hoofed it (even wearing out our guide a bit) to move ahead of the crowds all the while being careful to avoid the steamy piles of fresh camel poop.  In fact – we actually beat our guide’s best time to the top by over an hour!  Though, I am not sure it calls for bragging rights…most of the other hikers had 20 to 30 years on us.  In truth, we were extremely impressed with the devotion and ability of some of the climbers who were easily into their 70’s.

Starbucks...Minus the "C"

We made it to the top with some time to spare before sunrise so we stopped to enjoy some coffee at what might possibly be the highest elevation Starbuck’s in existence.  Clearly they don’t have the marketing budget of other locations…hence the misspelled hand painted sign.

It was surprisingly cool at the top.  I am quite sure the guide mentioned this to us multiple times – but when standing in 100+ degree heat at the foot of the mountain – the decision to not bring an extra jacket made total sense to me. Luckily, I have a sweet boyfriend who gave me one of the long sleeve shirts he was wearing to help me stay warm.

Kiss at The Summit of Mount Sinai

As the sun came up over the mountain top, I couldn’t help but say a prayer of thanks.  Not just for this specific experience, which was spectacular – and not just for this 2 week vacation, which was more than I could have ever hoped.  I thanked God for every gift He had ever given me – with an extra special thank you for the one kissing me in this picture!

Easter Sunday sans Smocked Dresses and Pink Mary Janes

7 Apr

Pink Louboutin Mary Janes...for big girls!

Celebrating Easter in Beijing was quite interesting…to say the least!  For starters, it is somewhat difficult to successfully dye brown eggs.  Although, I suppose the real starter is celebrating one of the most important Christian holidays in a primarily non-Christian country.  It must be said; however, that there are over 125 million Christians living in China.   According to www.religioustolerance.org, there are just 159 million Christians in the USA.  Obviously the percentage of Christians in the States is much higher than that of China, but isn’t it exciting to see such growth in a nation that only recently began to permit churches that are not controlled by the Chinese government!

While there were vast differences, there were also many similarities.  For example – Brett was able to find Easter Lilies for me and some stores were even selling chocolate bunnies.  Of course the biggest similarity was the message of Easter – that He is risen indeed!

In full disclosure, I should admit that there were a few things about the church service that alarmed us.  For one, the welcome intro was done via video with a Wizard of Oz like voice narrating a message that sounded more like the end of the world than the beginning of an Easter service.  I was actually able to overlook this rather quickly though as I spanned the room (huge auditorium) and saw every different ethnicity one could imagine.  It was truly moving.

So even though I didn’t see a single little girl with goldilocks blonde curls wearing a smocked dress with pink mary janes, I did get to sing my favorite hymn “Because He Lives”, and Brett and I had a lovely champagne brunch at the Ritz complete with hand painted Easter Egg centerpieces.

Happy Easter!

Beijing Tip: Beijing International Christian Fellowship church offers services in a variety of languages at multiple locations around Beijing.  Visit the website for more information: http://www.bicf.org

Please note that these are contemporary services.  I am currently researching more traditional church services, as that is really more my thing!

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