worldwide walkabout the tiniest bird takes a walk.

18Jul/100

jerash, jordan

i returned to amman for my flight out and did a day trip to the ancient roman ruins of jerash just north. i had wanted to return for another float in the dead sea but i had so many bed bug bites that it was out of the question! tiny cuts really hurt when exposed to the 31% salinity of the dead sea.

i enjoyed visiting the ruins of jerash! the sun was strong and while hiding in the shade i met some security guards who were happy to give an arabic lesson. had a good laugh with them and then on the way back i met two adorable boys on the bus. i still had the moustache that yuka bought me and i cut it in half so that everyone could have a 'stache (i drew one on the side of my pointer finger). i love jordanian people!

15Jul/101

return to dahab, egypt

couldn't get enough of this place. i love the red sea!

was welcomed back to dahab by various folk-some vendors even knew exactly how long i had been gone for. impressive. unfortunately i don't have any snorkel photos...my olympus stylus tough camera busted. (ok so i forgot to wash it after snorkeling in the red sea...) bummed. the nice man at the camera studio helped e out a bunch, free of charge.

i did, however, snorkel in blue hole and spent the day with local restaurant owner sayed and his hilarious son! and finally (!) i got a hostel bed in the much coveted red sea relax hotel. this place seemed to be absolute paradise: on the beach, breakfast buffet, mineral water, toilet paper (don't laugh it's never a given), swimming pool, lounge space, billiard table, and even a workout gym. the most hilarious thing about it all-i acquired an insane amount of bedbug bites here! my whole body felt like it was burning! third time in just as many weeks!!! no!!!

Filed under: egypt, Uncategorized 1 Comment
15Jul/100

celebration in alexandria, egypt

yuka and i celebrated our last day together by making a day trip to alexandria on the mediterranean coast. we finally found glue sticks! (endless search in cairo for simple things proved to be fruitless) and we sported our new moustaches-oh the joy one egyptian pound (unit of money, not beatings) can bring!!! we even met a friendly police officer at the train station who wanted to be in each and every one of our photos. he even saw us off as our train left!

i miss yuka!

15Jul/100

pyramids! giza! egypt!

yuka, alex and i set out on the local bus to see the pyramids. the bus dumped us off in giza and we walked for a bit in search of the entrance. while we were lost and walking past a bus stop, yuka exclaimed "LOOK!" and right in the middle of it all-the traffic, the smog, the chaos...there it was. the grand pyramid! we laughed and laughed.

even the policeman sitting on a camel wanted baksheesh (tips) for a photo.  and like everyone else, we were followed around by camel guys who somehow all said the same lines: hello lady ride a camel? ok you know how much? (well, i know how much the last guy said...) ok excuse me! lady!...

despite the urban location and the attentiveness of transportation providers, being at the pyramids and sphinx was absolutely amazing! was so excited to see these guys with my own eyes! incredible! hot hot sun! strange feats of humankind!

15Jul/100

frenetic cairo, egypt

yuka and i took the overnight train to cairo and spent a day decompressing from all the sightseeing. then we got back on the horse for more! straight into the heart of noisy, frenetic cairo!

luckily we continued bumping into a sweet japanese lady who knew all the local secrets. she suggested we see the al-tannoura troup's free show-the musical performance was impressive but even more notable-the dancers were spinning in circles continuously for half an hour at a time. i didn't know it was humanly possible! i really wanted them to stop for their own sake...

we met some hilarious locals but were also subjected to more harassment in the old islamic quarter. lots of tourist shops, local shops, and beautiful old mosques. we'd just about had it with the harassment! yuka and i also got our fill of mango juice-num num!

Filed under: egypt No Comments
11Jul/100

aswan (…the pits) and abu simbal, egypt

suppose we hadn't realized how just how rad luxor was until we stepped off the train and into aswan. vendors in the souk harassed us absolutely constantly: standard fare about being japanese, etc. only now a few threw in names like "japanese bimbo" or some spanish cuss words. they even managed too severely offend yuka with his use of profanities. woah!

th a captain who claimed to have taken jackie chan on this boat for six days and offered yuka and i marriage vows if we so pleased. upon getting dropped off the guys deducted automatic baksheesh (tips) from our change which we then had to negotiate. sheesh!

to top it all off i got bedbugs again at our seriously divey hotel.

luckily we left very early in the morning for a tour to abu simbal, an archaeoligical l site which was completely relocated due to floods. seeing the amazing temples of the kings and queens made us forget about horrible aswan!

11Jul/100

yay for yuka! and east and west bank, luxor, egypt

yuka and i somehow pried ourselves away from dahab and the lovely sinai peninsula and were met with the realities of egypt-when we arrived at the bus station in luxor two men harassed us to take their extremely overpriced taxi for twenty minutes. it then became a battle of stubbornness! they prevented us from taking minibuses by kicking the drivers out,getting behind the wheel, and telling us a ripoff price. (!) when they finally (finally!) left we negotiated a fare which we later discovered to be threefold. And. after we got dropped off the driver shortchanged us.

luckily the majority of people in luxor were not like this (aside from the standard egyptian request for baksheesh or tips) and we found some people to have a good laugh with. the sights of the east and west bank of the nile were incredible! so many treasures in egypt…and i was so elated to be traveling with positive and upbeat yuka! she made otherwise stressful situations hilarious and we perhaps balanced each other out: she learned the nice arabic phrases and I learned how to tell people to go away! <3

8Jul/101

loafs in wonderful dahab, egypt

aside from the moments of pure mayhem of getting off the ferry from jordan and trying to find visas, recover our passports, and negotiate transportation, the first week in egypt was delightful! i met yuka and shika, two sweet japanese ladies, on the ferry and we spent almost a week loafing around on the sinai peninsula. i didn't think the red sea could get more beautiful...but it did. and from across the gulf we could see saudi arabia in the near distance.

i particularly enjoyed snorkeling in eel garden: the colors of the fish, coral, and electric blue sea, and the crackling of the water. there's so much life in the sea! our snorkeltime was cut a bit short though by young perverts following us around. the same had happened in jordan as well (muslim men are not used to women in bikinis...) we asked them nicely to go away, then asked them to beat it and i swam away. yuka, however, got flashed by one guy. we mentioned it to the nice people working at the restaurant on shore and to our surprise they called the police immediately. by the time the officer arrived the culprits were long gone...

all in all though dahab was an incredible place to relax and after much snorkeling i became three shades darker. my snorkelbutt got even worse and i can prove it...

Filed under: egypt, Uncategorized 1 Comment
2Jul/101

peachy peach!!! aqaba, jordan

the first time i met pieter-jan in mexico he said "hi i'm pieter-jan. but you can call me peachy." actually what he really said was "you can call me 'pj'' but we all thought peachy suited him. i have fond memories of our travels together in central america. since then he's written e-mails addressing me as "my favorite crazy ass" or simply "crazy ass." i can't believe it'd been five years since we'd last seen each other!

peachy and his friend graham are on this insane road trip from south africa all the way to england. they both trained to be safari guides in south africa and decided to return home via the scenic route. they've gathered crazy insane stories and photos!!! peachy's amazing snaps are here:

http://www.longhaulpj.com/

it was so wonderful to camp and relax by the amazing red sea with peachy-i even got to sleep in their pop up tent! snorkeling in the sea was incredible! i didn't' realize until after the fact that i had not one but two very close encounters with rock fish (the most poisonous fish in the red sea). gulp.

because i spent so much time snorkeling, my back and backside got quite sunburned. i showed peachy the contrast between black and white and he said:

"snorkelbutt"

1Jul/100

beautiful petra, jordan

in petra sophia and i bumped into elisa, a funny italian lady who we had met  in amman. the three of us adventured around petra on a hot and sunny day to see amazing structures carved from sandstone cliffs.

walking through the narrow siq (canyon) and seeing the silhouettes of camels by the treasury was an incredible way to start the day.

we adventured around the royal tombs and then made the climb to the monastery where we enjoyed a picnic and some kite flying time. the views of the valley and of israel were amazing from here, as was (of course) the impressive monastery.

in the late afternoon we hiked to the high place of sacrifice, did some jumps in the altar, and then called it a day. after thirteen hours of walking in the heat, we had had it!