Wednesday, August 17, 2011

June 2011

So with a combination of people quitting and going on vacation I got lots of hours between my two jobs. The last month I was working in Sydney I was working 60+ hours a week. But I still found time to hangout with Lee who I had met at the St Lucia project. He's taking sailing courses in

Manly. We went and

saw a Rugby Union match and a AFL game. Saw the Waratahs play the Highlanders and the

Sydney Swans play the Collingwood. I

understand for the most part the Rugby union rules but I am still clue less how the AFL rules go. It was a good atmosphere and its nice to see live sporting events especially since it is such a huge part of Australian life. Lee put me intouch with a mate at Pro Dive Nicci she is doing a course on Underwater Photography with certification. I organized my schedule with work so I could do the two day course. It was an awesome course and I learned a lot. It was nice to get out of Sydney and get in the water. Even though it was about 16 degrees Celsius. Learned how to use manual white balance, strobes, and how to take care of equipment. I want to get a housing now for my SLR. They cost between 1500-5000. Pretty costly, more than the body of the camera. I believe this doesn't include a port either. So you are still looking at another 400 to a thousand just for one port. My toys just keep getting more and more expensive.

My time here in Sydney is coming to an end. I leave on the 8th of July to go to Hawaii for the family reunion. There are supposed to be 90 or so of us from my moms dads side. A big family with lots of cousins. Gave my notice at my work and started getting stuff ready to leave. All the food that I had in the house I slowly ate. Hung out with my co-workers the last night both from Hunky Dory and The Rose. Said bye to my room mates and left Australia.


Me at the Swans game.

Hunky Dory Main bar.

Diving pic

Diving pic

Cuttle fish and Nicci's hand.

Getting color using manual white balance.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

May 2011

Beginning of May found me still working at The Rose and Honky Dory. But the end of the Month found me in South Africa traveling with Alanna doing the Garden Route. Alanna had gotten the job with African Impact and was starting on the 28th of May. I arrived a day early and tried checking into the Ashanti lodge where I had stayed last time I was in Capetown. But they were fully booked. They had an Overland leaving from there on monday so I had to find another Backpackers. I found Capetown Backpackers online and checked in there. It wasn't as nice as the Ashanti Lodge but it was comfortable. So they first checked me into a dorm with 5 other people. After spending the last few months with only one other person in the room the thought of having 5 just wasn't a comforting thought. So I was grateful when the receptionist moved me into another Dorm that had no one in it. I talked with Alanna that night. She was at the airport leaving Toronto. I am meeting her at the airport. So I found out the cheapest way to go to the airport is taking the bus so the receptionist gave me directions. I met Alanna at the airport and caught a taxi back to the backpackers. I had changed rooms in the morning so we are staying in an en-suite. We made plans to hike Table Mountain in the morning. We took the Platteklip Gorge route up to the top. It was so much harder than we thought. Met a couple Americans while hiking up from Florida. To show how small the world though is on our way down from Table mountain randomly struck up a conversation with 2 ladies coming up(Mother and Daughter). They happen to be from Toronto. The daughter actually attends the same Uni that Alanna had just been working for. Later that day when looking on Facebook Alanna found out she has mutual friends with the girl. We spent two more days in Capetown one recovering from our hike and the other organizing a car and trying to go to Robin Island. We unfortunately weren't able to get out to the island. That just leaves something to see next time. We over stayed in Capetown so we had a very busy week and a half to get to Durban. We tried going to Cape horn but I got us lost trying to use the maps from the rental agency. I don't feel comfortable driving a manual car. I have done so a few times but nothing more then a 10 minute drive. So for me to drive in a foreign country would have been very interesting. So I did the navigating and Alanna did the driving. I never realized how draining it is to be in the car all day. We were exhausted when we got to Mossel bay. We stayed at Mossel bay Backpackers. We were able to catch the sunset down at the beach and grabbed dinner down at a beach front restaurant. Time was definitely our enemy because we definitely would have liked to stay longer in Mossel bay. It's such a cute beach side town. The next day we decided to go to Oudshoorn for the day and see the Cango wildlife Ranch and the Cango Caves. Unfortunately we only had time to go to the Wildlife park. It was awesome we got to see many of the wildcats of Africa up close. The organization is trying to protect and reintroduce cheetahs back into the wild. So one of their atractions is a cheetah encounter. It wasn't that expensive it was 160R($28). We were able to pet a couple of cheetahs. So the most quotable thing that happened was when Alanna was petting the cheetah she was a little uneasy and said “The cheetah is making noises”. Lol. Yes hun its called purring. We spent the night at wilderness. Yes that is a name of a place. It is exactly what its name suggests. A beautiful destination where the Wilderness park is and the Tsitsikamma mountains. We went on a short hike to a waterfall but we took a detour and ended up not having enough time to get to the waterfall in daylight so we went the next morning. It was a very nice waterfall with a few levels. I went waist deep in the cold water to go take pics of the waterfall close-up. Got some good photos. We left that afternoon and we were going to spend the night in Knysna but we decided to go to Port Elizabeth instead. This way it would shorten our drive to Coffee bay the following day. We knew time was running out. So we had to sacrifice certain things. Which meant the hiking that we were planning on doing we now couldn't. We stayed in the nicest room in the 99 mile Travel Lodge. It was the master bedroom in the house. It had a jacuzzi bath tub and a very spacious room. Amazing wish we could have stayed longer. We had no time to do anything in Port Elizabeth so thats another place I'll have to go back to. The next morning was the most eventfull driving experience(glad I wasn't driving. Haha. Sorry Alanna) Alanna had to avoid cars, people, animals, and potholes. On every stretch we had to avoid something. Alanna did a good job... minus a minor emotional moment. All the places that we visited were recommended by someone. Out of all the places though Coffee bay was hyped up the most which made it the most disappointing. Had a nice time though hanging out with the staff. Very nice couple. One was from the US I believe the other from UK. They manage the Sugar Loaf backpackers. A very comfy place and relaxing beach front area. It's coming down to the end. We only have a few days left. So we decided that since we don't like Coffee bay we will spend an extra day up at the Sani pass. We wanted to visit Lesotho. But from the info that we could gather there aren't any pass' you could take a two wheel drive car. So we decided just to go spend some time in the Drakensburg since that is where we had our first kiss. This time though in the Southern Drakensburg. But first we went to Hogsback. This place is a jewel had an amazing time there. Sad we could only spend a night at the hostel Away with the Fairy's. We stayed in a cute Double called Bilbo. Went and saw some of the waterfalls that are around Hogsback. Only got to see three of them but it was still a good time. Next morning set out for Sani pass on the way we stopped at Qunu the birth place of Nelson Mandela. Very small town with a cute museum celebrating Mandela. I honestly knew nothing about him except for his name when I first visited South Africa last year. Now though I have a great appreciation for the man after reading his biography and hearing about his legacy through the people I have met in Africa. Alanna also schooled me in some of the history of Africa since this is her area of expertize. We arrived at the Sani lodge backpackers in the afternoon and found that they have trips into Lesotho.

We organized a trip for the following morning. This will be my 33rd country visited. We had an amazing dinner of steak, Boerwors, and steamed veggies. So good. Love a good braai. Alanna is a big fan of the Boerwors(I am too of course). The next morning we left early and ascended to the Sani pass with our guide. The Drakensburg is such a beautiful place. We visited a farm where they produce wool from both sheep and goats. Alanna even tried her hand at shearing. It was a cultural tour so we got the history of this area and got to visit a house. Sampled some local bread and beer.

So the people that live at the top, live there seasonaly. The livestock graze up here and they do trading with South African business men. It's a tough life. One that I don't think I could live. The woman we visited was in her thirties and she had several children none of them were with her at the moment. She is living there to sell beer and bread to the locals and local crafts to the tourist. Our last stop before leaving was at the “highest pub in Africa”. It was a cute pub with a million dollar view looking down the valley that the pass is on. Lesotho I definitely want to explore better. It reminded me of the highlands of Argentina and Chile.

We left Sani pass and headed to our final destination of Durban. Called Emil, the photographer I interned with last year, and let him know we were on our way. He told me we might have an interesting/chaotic day in store. His wife Jackie was having contraptions and might be going into labor. Yes this could be an interesting day. When we arrived at the house we were relieved to find out that it was a false alarm. The contraptions had subsided. Though Emil was still amped. Haha. It was a very nice two days catching up with Emil and the family. Getting to see their daughter Michaela who still amazingly remembers me. Alanna and I spent the next day at uShaka aquarium and walking the boardwalk. Durban has a totally different feel then when I was here last. The whole World Cup feel hasn't exactly left. You can still see remnants of things that weren't used up during the event. It just doesn't seem as chaotic as the last time I was here. There are not people on every corner selling flags and last time every thing felt so temporary this time though things felt like life was normal. This was a great way to end our time together. It was a great two weeks and its amazing how fast they went. This was a first for me traveling with a

girlfriend. Can't really do the low budget traveling I had been doing before but it was good. I flew from Durban to Johannesburg. Then got my connection to Sydney. Alanna went to St Lucia to start her job with African Impact. I went back to work at Hunky Dory and The Rose Hotel.


Alanna and I looking out over Capetown.

Evening shot of Capetown from parking lot of Table Mountain.

Alanna getting her feet wet at Mossel Bay.

Alanna and I petting a cheetah at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.

Waterfall in Wilderness (upper)

Waterfall in Wilderness

Alanna sitting on edge of Waterfall at Hogsback.

Morning light at Coffee bay.

Sani pass Drakensberg, Lesotho.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

February 2011- April 2011

My last week in February was spent at my grand parents going through some boxes I had stored there when I left Hawaii. I grabbed a bunch of clothes that I had left and changed out some stuff I wouldn't need while traveling. I looked for a new Travel insurance and for jobs. Most jobs I saw online were for Barista's or mining. I would work in the mine's but most of the jobs weren't entry level. They were skilled. Like they needed geologists or skilled laborers like technicians and large vehicle operators. I don't qualify for any of that. I ended up getting a job interview set up for the day after I arrived in Sydney with a photography company doing school portrait photos. So that was kind of a relief. On the 9th of February I said good bye to Hawaii again and started on my next chapter of my around the world travels. I arrived in Sydney and booked a Hostel in Glebe. At Glebe Point YHA a nice hostel just out side of the CBD area. I went to the job interview the next day taking the bus. I didn't realize how big Sydney is. I went to Parramata area which took about 2 hours by bus. I arrived 5 minutes late for my interviewbut it was fine since he wasn't finished with the person before me. I went in and did my interview. After the interview I felt relieved. But I knew I didn't get the job. I had no prior experience with studio portraits. Also I'm not a sales person. Oh well though. I spent the week hanging out with some guys from the Hostel and searching for jobs on the internet. I sent an email to John a guy that I had met on the Navimag in Chile. He put me in touch with an acquintance of his in Sydney. Which led me to my first job. I got a job with Honky Dory Social club on Oxford st. as a Barback/glassy. I had gotten my RSA that week also. RSA is the equivalent of a liquor card in the States. It was $100 for the 8 hour class. Since I had a job now I started looking for a place to stay. I payed for a week accomodation at the Backpackers next door called Glebe Village Backpackers. I saw at least a dozen apartments. Some were so crammed with people that it wouldn't have been nice. Others were expensive. I finally found one that had 4 people in two bedrooms. It was $160 a week and it was with in walking distance of work. I told the guy I would take it.The guys name is Smile. He's Turkish as well as all the other guys are. There's a gym there. Sweet. I need to work off all the weight I have gained back. When I left home I was around 96 Kilo's(211lbs) in Peru I was down to 84 Kilo's(185lbs) now I am closer to 100 kilo's then I would like to be. I worked 3 days at Honky Dory but then was given a week off. Mars the manager was shuffling people around. So in that time I found another job at The Rose Hotel as a kitchen hand/ Pizza cook. I went in for an interview on Wednesday and ended up working thursday friday saturday. Kind of got the crash course there. Over the next few weeks I worked out a schedule with both jobs. Working between the two about 50+ hours a week. Its good money and I enjoy it. Free food and drinks whats not to like. I am able to save money. My weekly bills only total around $220.

January 2011

On the second Alanna and I headed back up to Toronto where we spent a few more days as a couple before I took off to go and see my brother, his girlfriend and my niece. I have yet to meet her she was born on April 2nd the day I arrived in Machu Picchu. Which makes her 8 months old now, the first time seeing her. It was kind of bad luck for me to be traveling and not being there to see my niece when she was born. After spending a night in Portland area Andrew and I headed up to our Grandparents house in Kennewick, Washington. Katie and Naomi were supposed to come but Grandma was sick and she didn't want to get Naomi sick. It was nice visiting with my grandparents and talking about my travels. My grandpa passed the traveling gene's to my dad who passed them to me. While we were there my grandparents had us go through there house which they were cleaning out. Seeing if we wanted anything. We ended up taking a whole car full of stuff home. My Grandparents had/have things from all over the world but many things from the Pacific and Asia. Andrew got the blow gun and the bow and arrow that are used for capturing monkey's in Asia. Many of these things in their house is what inspired and still does inspire me to travel. Just seeing things that I don't understand and want to experience has ledme on this journey. We only spent a night with our grandparents then headed back to Portland. It was fun to play with Naomi. She's so cute. Went up into the mountains and did some skeet shooting. It's actually quite difficult. To through the skeet that is. haha. But it was a good time. I left my brother and his family on the 12th and went to Hawaii.
I spent a month in Hawaii. Visiting my mom's parents in Oahu and my parents on Maui. Spent a weekend on the Big Island with my best friend from High school Ryan and his family. Hung out with friends on Oahu for the rest of the month of January. Went online everyday trying to find jobs. I am running low on cash so I was forced to sell some of my stock that was
put away for me for my education. I used very little of it so it was emergency money that I used so I could go to Australia and not have to find a job right away. I booked my flight to Sydney. I would leave on the 8th and Arrive on the 9th. Hung out with friends from Yardhouse and friends from Uni. Went to dinner with Rhea and Lex and spent a few days with B-Sauce and Frubaba.

My niece Naomi
Muana Kahalawai, Maui
Sunset near Lahaina, Maui
Me and a Sea Lion at Sea life Park, Oauh

Monday, May 30, 2011

December 2010

December found me in Cairo, Egypt going to the Cairo Museum (aka Egyptian museum and Museum of Egyptian Antiquities) lol. The museum is amazing I will admit. They have enough antiques to fill several more museums. I went by myself. I felt I could take it in better at my own pace. I was hoping to take my camera in which I was told at the door I couldn't take it in. This seems to be a very common thing here in Egypt. As always I wonder if it is to protect the Antiquities or is it so you buy their $100 book. I knew it would be crowded with Tourist so I brought my iPod along so I could listen to music and not have to listen to tourists or the guides. I spent 3 hours or so in the museum. I visited every room including King Tutankhamun's room and the mummies.
For the first part of my visit I was impressed with everything. But I felt that the museum wasn't well labeled. Most of the items were marked with very basic signs if anything. Also
things started to get redundant. Which in part is due to the lack of descriptions for the antiques. It would have been nice to see why for example the different sarcophagus' are different they had several examples of them (Besides the obvious of materials and shapes.)
I learned a lot though in King Tutankhamun's exhibition. I had not known that in his grave , in
the Valley of the Kings which I saw, his sarcophagus was actually several layers thick. in the
grave was a "shrine" which had several layers until you got to his sarcophagus which had
several layers also. The last of which being the most well known article, his mask of solid
gold. It was amazing to see it in "real" life. I have seen it before on TV and in print but it doesn't do it justice. It is really big. Much larger than a head. My main criticism of the Museum though is the fact that some of the stuff I feel could serve a better purpose and meaning at the site of which they were found. There are columns taken from the Karnak temple. Some very large articles that could and would attract people to other
parts of the country. When visiting the tombs for instance it would have been nice to see how a
sarcophagus would be in a tomb. All together though it was very interesting. I could have spent a lot more time there had I known more about Egyptian history.

We left Cairo for Dahab which is a coastal town on the Sinai peninsula. On our way though we
stopped and looked at the famous Suez Canal and stopped for a night to hike up to Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments, for an early morning sunrise. Much to our
disappointment we were required to take a guide with us up the mountain. I saw him for the first 10 minutes of the hike but didn't see him again until we were told we had to pay him. According to everyone though our "guide" said nothing to anyone and did nothing but slow us down. This was one of
the final straws for me on my opinion about Egypt. It left a very dampening attitude towards Egypt. Had a big argument with the guide when we got down from a very rememberable sunrise. We still had to give the guy money even though he didn't do anything for us. I can't remember who it was that said this but "Arabs stick together...No Arab will say that the tourist is right.... they protect their own..." It's not the money that all of us bickered about it was the morality of the situation. The guy didn't even hike up the hardest part of the trail. He sat at a coffee house and waited for us. Oh well enough ranting. We left for Dahab that morning. Dahab is the only place that can save Egypt from my very negative opinion about it.

We arrived at Seven Heaven where we would be staying. I roomed with Robert and
Ronald. It was an alright room and it had its own bathroom. A couple of old coworkers of mine had been to Dahab and had recommended some things here one was a Thai restaurant and the other was the diving. I spoke with my parents about diving I was running low on funds so I asked my dad about diving. My parents decided to give me an early Christmas present and pay for me to get my Open water PADI Certification. It's not the cheapest in the world but its definitely cheaper than doing it in Hawaii. It was $250. I started the class a day late since I didn't hear back from my parents. Patrick and Robert had already started the classes. I made up
the time in the evening watching the ever so boring videos. Our first dive was at the light
house. Which was an amazing dive. We learned the basics of equipment and how to check over equipment pre-dive. Then we got in the water and practiced buoyancy and other techniques we would be using through out the course. Over the next few days we learned more about diving and
safety procedures for certain events like a regulator malfunction or out of air. It was an amazing time. I am addicted. My time was at an end here in Africa. I said good bye to the people on the truck on the 9th and made my way to Cairo. It was a long bus ride. My last impression of Egyptians was the taxi driver who tried to charge me $50 to go to the airport. lol. I knew it shouldn't be
more the $10 since I had looked it up on the web and asked at the Hostel. After some heavy negotiation and my stuff being moved around 3 different cars I payed $15. As I sat at the
airport I couldn't believe that I had just spent over 7 months in Africa. Where had all the time
gone. I left Africa on the 10th and had an overnight layover in Abu Dar. I stayed at the airport and talked with Alanna and watched a movie or two. By 7 in the morning I decided to take a nap but kind of over slept. I
woke to my name being called over the speaker saying last call. Oops. Luckily I didn't miss my flight. It would have been very expensive I'm sure, to find another flight to Toronto.

I stayed with Alanna in Waterloo hanging out with her and meeting her friends. Caught up
on all my photos. lol. I have 20,000+ photo's. I took close to 50,000 though. I spent christmas with Alanna's family. It's a first spending a christmas with girlfriends family. It was a
little to cold in Toronto. I went from diving in Dahab in water that was in the 20's Celsius to
sitting in a house because outside was -21 Celsius. haha. Didn't really do much outside in Toronto. Went down town one day, went to Niagara Falls, and spent time with Alanna's family and co-workers. For New Years me and Alanna went down to the States to visit a good college friend of mine from UH@Manoa. I had gone there last new years so you could say its kind of a tradition. Alanna and I drove down to Pittsburgh and spent 3 nights there. On New years eve sort of kind of went hunting. lol. As in we went looking for deer. But the weather wasn't
favorable so we only got a brief glimpse of one running.
Suez Canal from African continent side.
Me on Mount Sinai at sunrise.
Coral Reef Dahab.
Left to right Robert, Me, and Patrick diving.
Lion Fish
Dahab at Sunset.
Niagara Falls
Me and Alanna at park in Waterloo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

November 2010

On the first of November we left Ethiopia for Sudan. Sudan is supposed to be one of the friendliest countries in Africa. Well that is as long as you aren't in Southern Sudan where they are having some civil unrest. We bushed camped our first night in Sudan near a Baobab tree. These trees are very interesting looking. Took some pictures of it. We had 3 days to reach Khartoum which is the Capital of Sudan. We have to register our selves and vehicle there.It cost us an extra $50 I believe to register. Oh well. We stayed in Khartoum for a few days. We camped at the Blue Nile Sailing club.They had free WIFI so we were all able to catch up on emails and facebook. Khartoum is where the White and Blue Nile meet. At times during the year you can see the different colors of the rivers mixing. But while we were there you couldn't really tell. It just looked brown and brown mixing. The people were really kind though to us in Khartoum. Had a good conversation with some guys who are going to the University of Khartoum, at a Schwarma shop. That is something that I learned to love during my time in Arab influenced countries. Falafel and Schwarma's. Falfel is a fried chickpea batter and Schwarma is also known as a Gyro or a Kebab. Basically flat bread with filling of meat and veggies. Very cheap and filling. We left Khartoum and made our way to Egypt. Our ferry is leaving on the 11th so we had a few days to get there. The truck is going on a separate barge so it needs to be there 2 days earlier. So we left Khartoum and made a few interesting stops on our way up to the border. One of the stops was at the Nubian pyramids of Meroe. This was a total opposite of what our experience would be with the Egyptian Pyramids would be. For one we camped about 100 meters from the Pyramids. Second we were the only ones there and Third we went into the site before it was open. It was an awesome experience being able to walk around the site with no one bothering us or people getting in the way of our pictures. We even found some little critters under our tents when we were packing up. Bought my brother a knife from one of the guys there for $5. The sheath was half leather and half Crocodile skin. I'm sure my brother will like it. Our next stop on our way north was the area called Jebel Barkal. There were more pyramids here and also the remains of a temple. Most of us didn't go and see the pyramids since these were in worse shape then the ones at Meroe. We didn't camp at them but we got there around 11 am and climbed the Jebel Barkal "mountain". Where we had an amazing view of the city below and the Nile bending its way towards the Mediterranean. Walked through the temple at the base of the mountain. This was another site that didn't have anyone else at. We had it to our selves for the most part.There was some others that climbed the "mountain" but we for the most part were the only ones. Another good time I had was in Dongola I think it was called. So as part of my traveling I have been buying stickers of the flags of the countries I have gone through and put them on my computer. So I had a fun time walking around trying to find a place that I could get these stickers.I had seen them on cars.But since we left Khartoum people who could speak english were hard to come by. We had 4 hours towalk around so we went and sat at the edge of the market and had some Chai tea and Turkish coffee. Talked with a few locals and had a few laughs. Took some pics of the kids that watched us. They loved seeing themselves in pictures. Thats one of the things that is amazing about Digital photography is the instant gratification it gives(or disappointment). After our tea and coffee we went looking for a Schwarma. We had falafel a few to many times so we felt like meat. We found a butcher at the market that knew english and he took us to a shop where we got our schwarma's. Sooooo good. After we got our fix I went to go look for my sticker. While walking through the stalls of the market several people saw my camera and wanted their picture taken. At the Schwarma shop I had taken a picture of a kid who pointed at my camera and pointed at himself. As I took a few pictures some guy came out of the crowd yelling at me in Arabic. I had no idea what he was saying but another Sudanese man said the guy was saying that I shouldn't be taking pictures without peoples permission. So while I was walking through the market I took pictures of people who wanted me to take pictures of them. Many of them wanted a copy. But I have no way of printing them out. That is definitely something I will look into when I go back to Africa. I will look for some type of portable printer. It doesn't really matter about the quality these people really just want something of themselves. I eventually found my shop where I could buy the stickers. I got them at a Decal shop. We got to Wadi Halfa where we are taking the ferry on lake Nasser to Aswan, Egypt. We spent a couple days there just hanging out. So a big obstacle that happened during the trip was the ferry service. This is the last ferry for 2 weeks. There is a Muslim Holiday so they are shutting down the service. So it was either go a week earlier to Egypt or spend 2 weeks longer in Ethiopia and Sudan. So we are going to Egypt earlier. Mark said that the ferry would be busy. Luckily though it wasn't, we slept on the deck of the ferry. We payed our $12 exit fee. lol. you pay to go to the country you pay to be in the country and you pay to leave. That is just weird. We arrived in Aswan at around 9 in the morning. Mark had to deal with customs so he sent us to the hotel we would be staying at. The Hathor Hotel was very nice. There was a pool on top of the roof and it was just acrossthe street from the Nile so we had a beautiful view of the Nile. We stayed the weekend here. Mark was unable to get the truck out before they shut down for the weekend. So we spent a few days in Aswan. We went to the Abu Simbel temple which we had actually past when we were on the ferry. Abu Simbel was actually cut up and moved since it was going to be submerged by the Nile when they put in the HighDam. Very cool sight. So my time in Egypt was spoiled by the ever constant exploitation of tourist. For instance you aren't allowed to take pictures in most of the monuments and museums but you can buy there horrible postcards and over priced books. You can grab a coke at the Abu Simbel for the very low price of 5 US dollars. lol. Most of the passengers on the truck took a Feluca up to Luxor. We spent 3 days two nights on the feluca sleeping on the deck and lounging. It was a very relaxing time. Most of the time was spent reading, napping, taking pics, or playing scrabble. Can't remember the name of the place that we stayed at in Luxor but on our way from the Feluca we saw the Temple of Edfu. Which was amazing. But nothing would prepare me for the Karnak Temple which was just huge. I believe there are 16 rows that are still intact. They are massive though ~3 meters in diameter and 10+meters tall. Spent a long time in Luxor. Went to the West bank and saw the Kings Valley.
Jen, Jules, and Ish were just coming out so they told us about what was worth seeing. They said the have to do things were the Ramses III tomb and the King Tut's tomb. A bunch of us rented bikes and rode to the valley. It was a good work out but we were to tired after to do the Queens valley. Went to several others but these two were the most impressive. They both cost extra to go into and no where in the valley are you allowed to take pictures. They do sell books and postcards though. lol. Also in Luxor went fishing on the Nile. Caught some small perch that were only a few inches long. The most fun was going swimming in the Nile. Our time in Luxor came to a close and we headed out into the Western Desert. This is the first time Mark has done this so he wasn't sure what to expect all he knew was to stock up on water because it will be hot. We had an amazing time in the desert. I got lost on the first night when I wondered from camp at sunset to take pictures. The lands is so flat and there was very little light. The moon wasn't going to come up for several hours so I wasn't sure if I should just wait and hope they would look for me or if I should keep walking. Luckily though I saw lights from other vehicles that were heading to some hotel or something farther down the rode so I walked towards the lights. Maybe they could point me in the right direction. But I found my self near our camp. I was lost for maybe 2 hours but it felt like much longer.That was a fun adventure.We got to see lots of calcium deposit mounds. Which was very cool and did some night shooting with a train and the mounds. We made our way to Giza after spending 6 days out in the desert. As we were driving into Giza the streets were dirty with everything from old electronics to plastic bottles. The canal that was next to some of the streets was so full of garbage at times that it looked like it was a floor of plastic containers. There was a dead horse and donkey in the river.The donkey being right outside of where we were staying. Not a great way to arrive in a city that lie's right next to one of the seven wonders of the world. It was amazing though seeing the Pyramids and how close they are to the city. It was a smoggy day when we got there so just the points of the Pyramids were poking through but they were awing. AK and I had cook group that night so we had to go find stuff to make for dinner. We only saw a few small stands on our way in so we would have our work cut out for us. We are given $50 in local currency to buy the food for Breakfast and dinner. We walked around for a while but found nothing with much. Asked a few taxi drivers and a security guard they said the closest market like that is 45 minutes away. AK and I didn't believe this for one second since people in a city aren't going to drive or walk that far just to get some fresh produce. So we asked around some more and eventually got a cab to the store. The problem being that the taxi cost us 15 round trip so we only had 35 to spendon food left.We ended up deciding to fry up some chicken for the"normal" people and some tempura style vegetable's for the veggies. Got some fresh milk for cereal in the morning and spent a few dollars out of our own pocket to cover everything. It took us close to 3 hours to do all this. By the time we got back the truck was half cleaned. We needed to do a truck cleaning since about 8 of us were getting off in a few days. I got all my stuff together and sort of packed up my stuff. I'm leaving on the 16th of December to go to Canada to visit Alanna. So I made sure I put my stuff in an easily accessible area. The food AK and I prepared was a big hit. There was nothing left. The next day we went and saw the Pyramids up close. It was very awing to stand next to them. I got kind of tricked into a camel ride. I'll tell you this the Egyptians are good sells people. I didn't mind it that much though. I was at the pyramids and we all were dressed up as Egyptians. Why not get a picture of me on a Camel in front of the pyramids. I don't think I'll ever come back again so its my one chance to get a photo like this. I found it disturbing how corrupt the security guards were at the monument though. A few of them asked if I'd like to climb on the Pyramid for money. Hmmmm desecrate your national heritage site for a little bit of money in your pocket. Not going to happen. So the guys who I had got me to do the camel thing tried to get me to pay $120 for the 2 minute ride and the 5 pictures. lol. I walked away paying $20 and still felt cheated. But I guess this is there business. I saw a couple getting harrased by a camel owner and eaves dropped a bit. The guy was trying to charge them $400 for there Camel ride. Ridiculous. After a while any Egyptian who would come up to me I wouldn't even listen to what they would say I would automatically say "No, I don't want ANYTHING" I feel a little bad now looking back on it. But I had had enough. Saw a dying donkey attached to a machine right next to the pyramids. Tourism has brought out the worst in Egypt. Its all about the money. Ended the month here in Giza next stop Cairo.

  • Baobab Tree at Sunset.
  • Kids who were hanging out with
  • us while we were
  • drinking our Chai
  • and Coffee.
  • Siloughette of
  • Alison taking pictures of the Sunrise.
  • Textures of sand leading viewer to the Pyramids of Meroe
  • Meroe from our campsite.
  • Panorama of Meroe from a hill near by.
  • One of the little critters that was under our tent when we packed up.
  • The road just keeps going.
  • Sunset at one of our Bush camps.
  • Sunset on the Nile with a Feluca.
  • Me at Abu Simbel.
  • Me with some of the Collumns of the Karnak Temple.
  • One of the Obelisks at Karnak.
  • Calcium deposit formation Wester Dessert, Egypt.
  • Calcium deposits at night with moon in background. Western Dessert, Egypt.
  • Sign showing White desert National Park at Crystal Mountain, Western Dessert, Egypt.
  • Panorama Western Dessert with Alison taking photos.
  • Me sitting on train tracks Western Dessert, Egypt.
  • Me holding up the pyramid in my Egyptian Attire.
  • Me with the three pyramids behind.
  • Dying donkey near one of the Pyramids.