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.