Monthly Archives: July 2010

Quick Update

A week in Egypt with Jacques and his Indiana Jones hat..

  • 14-20 June, btw.
  • A four day intense history lesson.. reminded me of playing Civilization. I guess the Nile really is the cradle of civilization.
  • Monday, breakfast on the train at 4:30, Jacques managed to delete all his photos, taxi ride in an ancient Peugeot to our hotel in Luxor, nap, Al-Bahari temple visit, Valley of the Kings.. tomb of Ramesses 9, Ramesses 1, Ramesses 3, Alabaster workshop tour, back to hotel, 42deg heat, found a place to buy alcohol in downtown Luxor, lunch at a local restaurant, nap, swim, Sound and Light show at Karnak temple, sampled the local KFC.
  • Mo figures only about 30% of Egyptians know details of their ancient history.
  • Photography in Egypt is all about waiting for the tourists to get out of the frame.
  • Dumb-ass tourists taking landscape photos with their lame compact camera flashes firing into the night… really useful.
  • I figure the pyramids are all about legacy, focus and some free time. We have a bit of an advantage over the Pharaohs.. we live about 30yrs longer. What’s your legacy going to be?
  • I figure Akhnaton was the coolest Pharaoh.. The Heretic king.. “the first individual in history”.
  • Tuesday, sunrise hot air balloon ride.. 450m above the Nile, hotel breakfast, Temple of Karnak, Temple of Luxor, a few hours by the pool sipping gin and what we think was dry lemon, camel ride along the Nile, falluka (boat) ride back to the hotel, more KFC, taxi to the airport, flight to Sharm El Sheikh, found a hotel in Sharm with a nice pool area.. the Tropicana Trivoli.
  • Wednesday, slept a bit later, Jacques was man-down with a stomach bug thanks to the Colonel’s 11 secret ingredients, whent to find a chemist, worked on my tan, a full body Egyptian massage by the pool, g&t’s, went to explore Naama Bay, found about 6 scuba diving companies and negotiated a deal, beach walk, swim, watched SA vs Uruguay football at the hotel.
  • Thursday, scuba trip to Tiran Islands, we dived a site called Lagoon.. not bad, Jacques gets about 25min out of a 12 liter tank so he used some of my air and the DM’s air, some free diving, lunch, a nap on the boat, dived Middle Garden.. a bit deeper with more sea life.. spotted a Lion Fish, a few Sakara beers in a Naama Bay beachfront cafe, g&t’s at the hotel.
  • It’s useful to be able to speak Afrikaans in an Arab country.. mostly for negotiations.
  • Friday, scuba trip to Ras Mohamed national park, dived Shark’s Reef and Yolanda reef.. awesome dive.. one of the most popular dive spot in the world.. I could see about 20 boats around us, lunch and some free diving, dived Ras Mosit (I think).. good dive, relaxing time by the hotel pool, pizza at Terracini Beach, Soho square, Pacha in Naama Bay.. Hedkandi night.. pretty good, big open-air club ranked 25th in the top 100 clubs of the world.
  • I have a respectable tan and I can still free dive to 15-20m.
  • My underwater camera is rated to 10m, but it seems to do 15m, I should get one that can do 40m.. and long free diving fins.
  • I could get into scuba diving again, maybe I need to do a Dive Master course.
  • Saturday, had a salad and a swim by the hotel pool, taxi ride through the desert to Saint Katerine.. which was a bit strange because the taxi driver was using his indicators a lot on a single lane highway.. indicating for the mildest bend in the road and he was in the other lane every time the road bent to the left, afternoon nap at St. Catherine’s ~hotel and a very good dinner.
  • Sunday, planes, trains, automobiles and camels.. got up at 2:00, climbed Mount Sinai.. with a guide named Moses, had the best Pepermint tea on the way up, Jacques took a camel up, watched the sunrise from the top, cat nap, breakfast, 5 hour taxi ride to Cairo through the desert with no aircon (joy), crossed the Suez Canal by tunnel under the canal, flight to London, Heathrow Express, cab to Jacques’.. 25 hours of travelling.
  • Everybody in Egypt found it really strange that somebody from SA would travel to Egypt while the World Cup football was on.
  • I think people should go on a yearly honeymoon.
  • There are no traffic lights in Cairo.. but everybody has HD TV for sport.
  • “There is a 25% spread between the have’s and the have-not’s.” — Jacques, about interest rates

  • “Let me know when you are going to buy so I can sell.” — Jacques, about being ahead of the investment curve

  • I figure the trouble with getting something right the first time is that you don’t really know how lucky you were.. a few failures give you perspective.
  • Sharm is an interesting place, they sell pretty much any meds, Viagra, steroids etc. at any chemist but you pay 75 Egyptian Pounds (R100) for a single vodka in Pacha. It’s really the Las Vegas of the Arab world.
  • Walking around Cairo.. I figure they may need an extra pillar of Islam: don’t litter and keep the streets clean.
  • Egypt is a police state. There are even metal detectors when you go scuba diving. Love-hate feeling, but it was a good experience.
  • School of dictatorship 101: find something for guys with guns to do.. travel tax, tourist control.
  • I hate nothing more than reality TV.
  • “It’s like an old sea turtle dating a suitcase that fell out of a plane.” — Homer Simpson

  • “If you never lose your need to wonder, you belong.” — a Diners Club ad

  • Does Cape Town have an Obelisk?
  • To have an adventure you must have uncertainty.
  • I’ll put up the photos soon, let’s just get the blogging out of the way.

Next.. a week in London.

Quick Update

A week in Tintin land with chocolate, frittes with mayo and all kinds of beer.. Chimay, Jupiler, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Duvel, Grimbergen, Faro, Kriek and the Westmaller Trippel…

  • 7-13 June, btw.
  • Monday, woke up in Brussels.. got up a bit later, road trip with Anton around southern Belgium, late lunch, drove to Leuven for a beer then back to Brussels.
  • Tuesday, admin day, more legal doc editing, frittes and mayo, dinner with Anton and Evelien.. mussels, Frambosen and Kriek in the Brussels ~town centre.
  • Wednesday, rainy day in Brussels, had a salad and a beer for over R200.. not cheap to eat out in Brussels, nap, nice home cooked supper with Anton and friends, a going away drink at Anton’s local bar.
  • “I changed by not changing at all.” — Pearl Jam, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town

  • “Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful,
    the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the
    clouds and their feet on the ground. Walk with those who have ideals, with
    zest to help and lift, to create and contribute. Let their spirit ignite a
    fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it. Associate
    with the creative people wherever you find them. Make friends with them, go
    where they are, talk with them, listen to them, be open and receptive to
    them, let them inspire you. Catch their attitudes, their way of thinking and
    living.” — Wiferd A. Peterson

  • Thursday, bus to the train station, got Mia a Tintin book present, Eurostar to London.. good time to work on Mia’s custody and maintenance agreement, London cab to Jacques’ work, Vespa ride, lunch with Jacques, some interwebs time, had a nice curry for supper, some Glenfiddich 18yo.
  • I hate word processors. Track changes and bullets and numbering is such a total cluster-cuss.
  • Good to see Jacques again.
  • Friday, working man’s breakfast, worked a bit, had a Whopper for lunch, fetched washing, nap, subway to Heathrow, Air Egypt flight to Cairo… they suck, only blankets for some of the passengers.
  • Jacques thinks it’s very funny that Naulene had an interest in photography and then I pretty much became a pro photographer. Not a very smart strategy.
  • “Hello my love,
    It’s getting cold on this island,
    I’m sad alone,
    I’m so sad on my own,
    The truth is,
    We were much too young,
    Now I’m looking for you,
    Or anyone like you.” — Koop Island Blues, Koop

  • Saturday, arrived in Cairo at 5:30, met our guide Mohammed and driver Mohammed, quick hotel visit, Giza pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis step pyramid, nap at the hotel, swim, shawarmas, Sound and Light show at Giza, a few expensive Stella’s with Jacques at the hotel.
  • “Where is the Stargate?” — Jacques to Mo
  • Sunday, hotel breakfast, Coptic Cairo, Mohamed Ali Alabaster Mosque, Cairo Market, overnight sleeper train ride to Luxor.
  • “If I were a girl I’d only date guys with Swiss timepieces.” — Jacques

Next week.. more time in Egypt.

I’m back, kinda.

It’s been a while since a wrote a blog post. I’ve been away and I have to find my groove again.

I think I’ll use limited internet access as an excuse.

I’ve processed 5 weeks of notes so I’ll put up a few posts soon.

ps. I have about 2000ish photos to process. This backlog is painful.