Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mediterranean vs Caribbean

Advertising great Caribbean accomodation on the Mediterranean.

Marketing makes sense once again!

Sent from my glorious e71 which is most definitely not an iPhone!
Queenslander forever!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two Days In

We're now two days in and have been busy little creatures.

I was much more impressed, or to put it a better way - ga-ga - over the pyramids at Saqqara than Giza. I was just sitting underneath one (can't remember whose, I'm not good with that stuff) with very few other tourists around me (it was still rather early). Some men were working on restoration, and I just had my Grand Canyon/Himalaya/12 Apostles style moment. Imagining all the Egyptian slaves (they keep trying to convince us they weren't slaves) shifting stuff here and there, working this place - seemingly in the middle of nowhere - into a frenzy. All of them working on this spot thousands of years ago and all I do is sit here contemplating the lot of them.

We took a short camel ride and a walk through to some Pharoah's tomb whose name I can't spell, but it was probably something like Keffron. It was kind of anticlimactic with no hieroglyphs, Indiana Jones style skeletons or golden treasures, but still mind bending to realise how much rock is sitting above you.

We spent the night on the overnight train, swaying from incredibly comfortable in bed to awkwardly teetering over the toilet that opens onto the tracks. A 14hour slog, but I quite enjoyed it. The train looked like it was built in the 19th century but at 8 in the morning it pulled into Aswan with us semi-rested and ready to roll into another day of touristing.

In Aswan we went to see the High Dam, built in the 50's with the help of the Soviets, whose main intention seems to be just to piss off the English and the French. Lots of politics were going down at the time with English and French companies controlling activity through the Suez Canal, with some thinking that money really belonged to the Egyptians. There's a lot more to it than that, but that's where I'll leave it.

Our next trip was to hit the Philae Temple, which was actually flooded for good months of the year thanks to the new dam, until it was moved to 300 metres to the top of a nearby hill. The saddest part about it was where the early Christians ans Muslims came through and defaced damaged many of the carvings on the walls. This was also apparently done by Egyptians, angry at being deceived by the gods.

The day ended at the markets and a lovely little restaurant floating on the nile. Nubian food and some great Australian and South African company made for a good night until i fell asleep exhausted and ready for our felucca ride today.

But that, as Douglas Adams would say, is not today's story.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Historical Cairo

It really hadn't sunk in. A very quick exit from the airport and a longer drive to our hotel with a potted history and warning from our pickup Mohamed.

I had been absorbed in half listening to Mohamed and half observing the buildings we flew past. Drawing the similarities and contrasts between them and Nepal. Even as I thought that, a horn tooted and a carriage squeezed itself between us and the wall on the edge of the road.

There was a sound from behind me, Kat or Luke had noticed something. Not a big sound, more of a release of air at the shock realisation of something significant. I caught myself before turning around, I looked up instead. Not up as much as you might expect but enough to need to move.

There they were. Dusty but regal, rising above the urban sprawl. They looked as if they knew the attention they drew from the world yet chose to ignore it. We continued on our way with the pyramids stubbornly ignoring us.

We had the night to while away to ourselves and would have been happy enough to fall asleep on the spot, but decided to go to the night-time power and light show @ the pyramids. Don't waste your time. If I were you, just wait for the real thing..but more on that next time! ;)

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Monday, January 25, 2010


I woke up at 3. Three. THREE!

Lying there I was just trying to work out what had gone wrong, where I was and how I could best get back to sleep, my hand found the booklet and brochures explaining the exciting opportunities lying in wait. Somehow amidst reading about museums with the most intact whale fossils, tourist scams, snorkelling, camel riding and of course pyramids, it had escaped my attention that I was in fact... Cairo..

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