16-Sep-2004 -- Between the 10th and the 24th of September 2004 we were on holiday in El Gouna (27°23'50.36"N 33°40'30.47"E). It is a very nice and small city that an Egyptian himself built 15 years ago. It is unlike other Egyptian cities in that it is clean, safe, and has many shops, bars and restaurants, like a little Venice or St. Tropez.
During our stay we went on a three-day trip to the desert. We booked a guide (Monique Carrera, the owner of Blue Moon Safari) and two cars with drivers Salāma Mutīr and `Abdallāh Sulaymān. From El Gouna we headed to Mons Claudianus (26°48'34.93"N 33°29'13.33"E), an ancient Roman stone pit and fortress, and then on a more or less straight line through the desert to Qinā on the Nile (26°9'20.24"N32°41'48.22"E). The next day (September 16, 2004) we headed in a north-eastern direction in order to pass between the mountains of Jabal Qaṭṭār and Jabal Abū Dukhān.
Visiting a confluence point was not really on the menu, but when I realized that we were that "close" (70 km away), we discussed with Monique the possibility to go to the confluence point. The drivers were very experienced and they knew the whole desert like their own pockets. However, the problem was to explain to the drivers where we wanted to go. They both were Bedouins speaking only Arabic and they didn't know what a GPS, or longitude and latitude are. So they asked us for the name of the place we wanted to go. But a confluence point doesn't have a name. So they were pretty puzzled and didn't understand that we wanted to go to a place that has no name, and therefore a place with nothing to see. Monique thus explained to them that the place has no name, but only a number. To describe the place, we looked for named landmarks in the vicinity (within 20 km) of the confluence point. Once the target was clear, `Abdallāh took the lead and drove without further questions through the mountainous area without ever loosing the way, up to a point as close as 2 km from the confluence point. Knowing that in the desert the right direction is not always the right way, we were all very flabbergasted. For the last two kilometres we used the GPS to give precise directions to find the way around the hills.
We reached the point at lunch time and as expected from what `Abdallāh told us before; there was really nothing to see. We didn't stay very long and started off to reach the Bedouin camp Mallāḥa. It was the home of `Abdallāh's brother. In the evening they were being told the story about the trip to a point, which has a number rather than a name, and were amused about the interests and customs of the foreigners. I think that this trip will be remembered for a long time by the locals of the desert.