From Shelby's blog:
Train to Luxor
The train was packed. They oversold the seats, so some people were left standing. A man gave up his seat next to me when an Egyptian woman had no place to sit. She sat next to me for the next hour and a half, spending most of her time staring at me and the book I was reading.
I smiled at her and she immediately tried to attempt a conversation. However, we both had equal knowledge of each other's language, meaning we spoke very little we could both understand. We started with identifying colors on our clothing and things around them. I taught her the English words for them, and she taught me the Arabic. We held a very limited and stunted conversation. I learned she had come from Edfu, visiting family and she was returning on that train back to Cairo where she lives with her family. I explained that I was a student at the American University in Cairo.
She shared her food with me on the train. While I tried to politely refuse, I soon learned that would be offensive to her, so I ate what she handed me. She gave me a carrot and told me its Arabic name, gazar. She also gave me a bread-like Egyptian dessert, sweet with honey.
Read Shelby's blog.
From Kelsey's blog:
The Black and White Deserts
After a five-hour bus ride through a flat and seemingly endless desert, my group and I finally arrived at the Bahariya Oasis, a small village marked by a spattering of palm trees. Our enthusiastic guide, Badry (who owns the Sahara Camp in Bahariya), met us at the bus stop, shuffled us into ancient-looking Land Rovers, and we were quickly whisked out of town.
Because none of us brought our passports, we were instructed to say we were German to avoid being assigned a police escort. This made me a bit nervous, but we were easily waved through all the checkpoints without any chance to say "Ich bin Deutsch."
The adrenaline-pumping drive proved to be well worth its dangers, as a dramatic valley suddenly appeared below us. We spent at least an hour in awe of the stunning scenery, scrambling up crumbling hills to get the best view of the otherworldly dome-shaped rocks. Innumerable tire tracks and footprints made deep impressions in the golden sand, creating a unique drawing on the desert canvas. We were all reluctant to leave, but were herded back into the jeeps to make it to the white desert for sunset.
Read Kelsey's blog.