Digital SLR Camera for me?

A lot of “cheaper” digital SLR cameras have been coming into the market during the last year. I am interested in moving beyond the land of my little point and shoot Fujifilm Finepix camera for a “real” digital camera. Of course, I know sweet FA about photography so I’m going to have to actually learn the skills to operate such a camera if I get one.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a decent digital SLR camera in the cheaper range for the dedicate amateur or hobbyist? I’ve heard decent things about some of the new Canon “Digital Rebel” models.

Since I’m going to Egypt in October with R for our annual trip, I’d like to get something and practice a bit with it in the hope of taking some nicer pictures of the various tombs and temples while we’re there.

Within the realm of point and shoot still, I’ve heard good things about the Sigma DP1 14MP Digital Camera. I have read that it has issues with speed (slow to focus, slow to store shots) but has very high quality for a point and shoot camera. Of course, it costs almost as much as the Canon XSi DSLR camera. It is hard to say what makes the most sense for me and for the photos that I want to talk. Nice cameras cost a lot of money though.

Update: My friend, John Mueller, advises me to get one of the Canon’s. He has an older generation of the Digital Rebel and has quite liked it but wishes he had a 40D, which is a nearly $1,000 camera when I looked.