#32 Reminiscing PB88: Crossing The Suez Canal

  • Date: 2015/9/24
  • Port Name: No port, just passing through the Suez Canal!!
  • Country: Egypt
  • First time there?: Yes!
  • What did I do?:
    It was a day off for volunteer staff so we played basketball on the top deck while enjoying the views of Egypt on boat sides of the boat.

Despite having a Bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering, I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t really know much about the Suez Canal before signing up for Peace Boat. But after I found out that we were going to go through it, I did some googling and of course got super excited about it.

I remember that in the Middle East leg of our trip (Dubai, Doha, and now Suez Canal), the boat was experiencing a very hot and stuffy phase that was out of our control as we couldn’t individually adjust the air conditioning systems. And as you can see in the pictures below, we also had our fair share of sun when were passing through the canal.

We didn’t have internet on the boat (unless you paid ¥2000 aka RM60 for 100 minutes) so I was reading up on Suez Canal in my electronic encyclopaedia which in my dictionary. I remember reciting these facts to anyone who would listen. Oh, and I also played basketball with Wendy, Joe, and Wendy’s student lol.

FUN FACTS (THEY ARE SO FUN AND AWE-INSPIRING) according to my dictionary:

  1. The Suez Canal connects the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. We went from small ocean in the south (Red Sea) to the Mediterranean Sea in the north through the crack as marked by Google.screen shot 2015-08-05 at 10.21.57 am.png
  2. Financed by the French and Egyptian governments, it was built by French engineers (notably Ferdinand de Lesseps) with construction starting in 1859 and ending in 1869, using a method that’s essentially digging a passage through the land. It’s still impressive but wait till we get to Panama Canal for even cooler engineering.
  3. It was built by the French but when Egypt had some debt problems they sold some of their shares to Britain, and eventually in 1882 Britain officially occupied Egypt and took over control of the canal for their own interests *rolls eyes*, as Suez Canal was the shortest way from Europe to Asia without having to circumnavigate Africa.
  4. I just googled Suez Canal’s history and the article’s too long with too many wars in between, it’s kinda sad and reinforcing my belief in the fact that humans are just prone to warring with one another… I just have to conclude that I feel very lucky and kinda melancholic to have visited this canal that was the backdrop and cause of many wars and important points in hum any history.
  5. Length of canal: 162.5km, Width: 160-200m, Depth: 14.5m.
  6. About 60-73 ships pass through the canal daily.
  7. Takes about 12-16 hours for a ship to cross.

IMG_8827

Here’s us approaching the Egyptian-Japanese Friendship Bridge, a bridge built in 2001 with financial and technical assistance from the Japanese government and Kajima, one of the biggest general construction companies in Japan. This is one of Japan’s ODA (Official Development Aid) projects, which serve to help developing countries through civil engineering and other assistance.

One of the aims for this bridge is to facilitate better connectivity between mainland Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. The latter is still part of Egypt but is separated by the Suez Canal. Funny, the only time I remember learning the word Sinai before this was in the bible, and at that time, it felt like a land far, far away. I wonder how many of my church elders can actually point out where Sinai is on the map?? Lol. #backslider #nawjustkidding #maybe #sorrynotsorry

IMG_8818

A lonely looking mosque on the bank of the canal. I hope to visit you one day, Egypt!

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Cheese!

Next port: Santorini!!

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