Friday, April 29, 2011

Tel aviv

Hi all -

my one day in Tel Aviv was pretty relaxed, except for getting my Jordanian visa and finding out it was 50$ more than I had budgeted for. I was done by noon and by time I had gotten back to my hotel is was raining a bit, so I used the time to pack and research my hotel in Jordan, etc...

The two hour lapse in rain allowed me to take an hour stroll down the beach to Yafo the old city. QAuite beautiful but alas I forgot my camera. I returned in time to meet an old friend from NYC for dinner. She is Israeli and moved back last spring. We used to work together at a company in NJ.

She showed me around, and had a fabulous time catching up. I was exhausted though but stayed up a little later because the thunderstorm over the city had a tremoundous light show and the rooftop of the hotel provided awesome views.

When I got back to my room I was in for a shock when I couldn't find my alarm clock, and without an alarm I knew my bod y wouldn't wake by 5:30 am on its own to catch an early bus to Jerusalem.

At least by staying up I caught a taxi early and boarded the first 6am bus to Jerusalem!!!! I can always sleep in NYC, so it didn't really matter. That's my favorite rainy Sunday afternoon pastime anyway.

More soon.

I had no choice but to stay awake ALL NIGHT - UGHHHHHHH. Found out later it was "borrowed" by someone in the room, so I did get in back in the end!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What was I thinking?

What was I smoking when I thought I could bike aroun the Sea Of Galilee??? Its 21 km long and 55 km circumfrence, do the math in miles, that's long. Not a problem for a 60 degree day in May in NYC, but with the temp near 100 and no shade on the road, I was dying. I started from Tiberius at around 10:30 and got to Tabgha, near Capernum by almost 1. I stopped there at a lovely church for some shade and some cold water refill then continued on to Capernum. Had to miss the Mt of Beatitudes as it was a steep climb and I no my limits.

There is nothing much left of Capernum, just remains of the Synagogue where Jesus would preach, and parts of St Peter's house.

There was a garden in the back with lots of shade to sit and look out on the lake, so I took advantage before heading back.

I finally rolled into Tiberius at around 4, so it was a smart move since the bike shop closed at 6. I ended up just going by the water and having a tall cold beer and just relax by the lake.
Tiberius is a actually a cute lakeside town, a bit of a throwback from the 70s, but endearing all the same.

I rolled into Tel Aviv where my agenda is only to relax. My only requirement is to get my visa from Jordan since its not issued at the particular border I am crossing at.

Then some beach time since I am only 5 mins away, and then dinner with my friend Paulina that I used to know from NYC.

I will probably not be posting tomorrow night, and Friday I cross into Jordan, an all day event to Amman. I will psot that night once settled at my hostel.

Saturday morning is my planned trip to Petra, then Sunday home.

All for now.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tel Aviv - Part 2

Since I was already at the Central Bus Station when I arrived, I bought my ticket for tommorow for Tiberius (about 2 hours away to the east). I plan on renting a bike and biking around the Sea of Galilee and visiting Capernum and other historical biblical spots. The sea is referred to as Lake Kinneret here in Israel is only 37km around. Should be a 5 hour ride more or less.

My hostel in Tel Aviv is in a great location, only 4 blocks or so from the coast of he Mediterranean and near lots of shops, cafes, etc..

Again, only 25 USD per night for shared room. This one is alot cleaner than the one in Jerusalem but the staff is a bit snootier.

They do have a nice deck, so I can sit here and use the wireles while watching the world go by.

All for now.

Getting a bit tired and actually looking forward to my bathtub. I am starting to stink. Not me, but my clothes as I keep wearing the same ones over and over, even though I apparently packed for 2 weeks in the South of france.

Love to all

cha cha

Hello from Tel Aviv

Finally made it to Tel Aviv where I will be here until Friday when I depart for Jordan. THis morning I caught a bus to the Dead Sea, didn't make it Ein Gid where most people go, I actually opted for Kahli beach which was perfect for what I wanted. Small amounts of people, plenty of mud, and lots of salty water to soak in. The floating sensation is amazing, and although I heard you can walk on the water, I was unable to. But I packed a ton of mud on, and let it bake in. Quite an interesting experience. Its so squishy underneath your feet, just reach down and slather it on. Alot of fun. Took some cute pics but agian with the other camera.

I only spent a few hours as it was HOT and the buses coming back were not that frequent. When I got back into town I had enough time for a cheap street schwarma from the Arabs (they make the best and they are the cheapest) then headed for Tel Aviv on a sherut (shared taxi)]

End of post 1

Monday, April 25, 2011


Slept in a bit this morning and then toured "Christ's Tomb" which is the other reported spot of his crucifiction and resurrection. Its a lovely garden once believed to have belonged to Joseph of Arimithea. After that I wandered on to yet another tomb, the tomb of the Virgin Mary, which is really quite lovely and sits at the base of the Mount Of Olives. I then proceeded to walk up the Mount of Olives, which is quite steep but very beautiful and well worth the trek up, even in the heat of the day. The olive trees are magnificent and the views of the Old City are amazing. I will try and post pics if my laptop allows. THere is also a large Jewish cemetary to the right, where its rumoured that Oskar Schindler is buried.

At this point I decided to head back to Damascus gate to catch the 21 bus to Bethelem. Its quite easy, only a 20 min ride or so and getting in was no issue, its just getting out that can be problematic if you are not a tourist.

This was by far one of my favorite places. The Palestenian people are wonderful and I loved just wandering the streets of Bethlehem as the afternoon sun set in over the century old buildings. I eventually made it to the Church of the Nativity and then the Church of the Grotto. I had to take a cab though to Shepards Field, which is lovely garden about 2 km east.

The gray security wall is quite depressing and the security checkpoint, cold and oddly automated.

After taking my bus back into Jerusalem I bought some fresh veggies and some hummus for dinner.

All for now, heading to the Dead Sea tomororw then to Tel Aviv!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tomorrow's plan

Tomorrow (Monday) in Jerusalem I'm hoping to still see the Dome of Christ, a few other chruches as well as the Mount of Olives.

A slight revision to my itenirary, is that I would like to visit the West Bank / Palestinian territory tomorrow as its only a half hour bus ride away and Bethlehem is in the heart of it.

It would be interesting to see how life is on the other side as well, as I hear its very rough in the refugee camps.

I will post again tomorrow night and promise to get some more photos as well.

Love to all,

Easter Sunday

Have tried to post this twice tonight but laptop keeps failing so here are the facts, just short and sweet:

Got into bed at 5am and woke up at 9am, so do the math, I'm exhausted! Its after 11pm here so def turning in soon.

Paid 6 bucks for Nescafe coffee - love those tourist prices! Grabbed an apple and my free map nad hit the Old City (where I am staying also)

Followed the Via Dolorosa, which is the path of Crist from his Judgment from Pontius Pilate to his crucifiction and resurrection. Mind you the last 3 stations are in the Church of the Holy Selpchure that I visited last night.

I also visited the following:

Site of the Last Supper
Tomb of King David
Wester Wall of Temple of the Mount
Church of the Domination
Muslim, Christian and Jewish Quarters of the Old City

and also menaged to go thru 4 of the 6 gates of entry into the old city. Need to Hit Herod's gate tomorrow as well as one other............

Cheap eats in the Arabic Quarter and interesting mix of church bells and Call to Prayer. My hostel has a nice rooftop, which is perfect int he afternoon to avoid the sun.

Happy Easter to all


Arrived late last night (3am) after a long trip from Dahab. Border contro took longer and forgot the one hour I lost in time change, so missed the 4:30pm b us to Jerusalem and the next was at 9:30pm. ughhhhhhhhhhh.

When I checked into my hostel I went ahead and went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as it was still open for a few hours. Soon it would have too many people and be closed off. The church is believed to be the site where Jesus was crucified and died, as well as holding the tomb in which Christ is buried in.

THe courtyard and church itself is breathtaking, and I was able to find an empty corner to myself to sit and reflect. It was crawling with pilgirms, mainly Russian and very rude to be honest, pushing and shoving, but not like this morning when you couldn't even get inside.

The entire church is illuminated by candlelight and has several different chapels inside, my favorite the one of Mary Magdalene which is said to be the spot on which she met him after his resurrection.

After a bit it was a bit too much for me, too many people, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. I was exhausted and wanted a few hours of shut eye before exploring the city later one.

Will publish more soon, as state before these posts will be shorter due to computer errors.


happy easter

Happy Easter to all from Jeruslem! Lots of pilgrims, many russian. Will post more a bit later today.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ahhhh Dahab

Just a delightful small town, a bit toooo toursity actaully for me, so it makes me wonder what Sharm is like. I hear its a bit like Vegas on the Sinai.

I'm developing a bit of a sheesha habit here, lounging and just enjoying the view of Saudi Arabia across the peninsula.

Took a camel ride today for a few hours to the lagoon south of us. Quite nice, but uncomfortable, for the camel I am sure as well, but worth it. Had to ride a camel here in Egypt, right?????????

Definately will be back here in Dahab again. Need to come and dive!

Love to all and off to Israel tomorrow...................

Easter Sunday in Jerusalem, full of pilgrams I know, but still something I can't wait to experience.

Love to all

cha cha

Mt Sinai

So we ascended up the mountain and go to the top at about 4am when I then snooooooooozed for about an hour before the sun peaked at 5ish. Absolutely amazing!

The trip down was either by the way we came up, or by the 3000 Steps of Repentance that leads directly to the Monastary of St Catherine. (My middle name is Catherine and I do think Maggie named me after her?????????? Mum?) She was tortured by the wheel and then beheaded back in something AD). I need to repent and with my ferious fear of sliding down the slope, I took the steps.

Amazing vistas! Absolutely Gorgeous!!!!!!!!

Pics have been uploaded.

The Monastary was actually closed due to Holy Week, but we were able to go into the courtyard and take pics.

More later.


1 million followers!!!

I just need 999.990 more followers by the end of my trip so I can get a free GOOGLE tshit.

Please people, at least comment so I know someone is following.

This is much more interesting than Family Guy. or not

Mt SInai

These postings will be short as my laptop will want to restart soon due to har drive errors...

MT Sinai! So I ended up taking the 11pm tour and got to the base of Mt Sinai at about 1am. There was a group of about 15 of us and we were assigned a guide and started to ascend to mountain at about 1 ish. We had an interesting mix in our group and our guide assigned us the name of Mish Mish so he could call out to us during the hike and find us when we answered.

The trail up the mountain was long but not that steep, but extremely rocky. Helpul with the almost full moon as not many of us had flashlights. And yes, I wore my birkenstocks. Cha Cha wore sandals. I'm sorry didn't you know my name? It's Melissa, in Greek it means HoneyBee and in every other language it means "woman of poor judgment". Welcome to my life.

But Moses wore sandals, and so did Jesus. And Jerry Garcia. So I knew all would be well. And it was, En shalla.

This is ending of post 1..........

Want to get as much uploaded before computer goes kapput

A small note from the editor

My laptop has picked the best possible time to pick up some Middle Easter virus. Pray it keeps on going. I hope it doesnt crash but I am gettig critical hard drive errors.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Karkade and Sheesha

I am in love with two things here in Egypt - Karkade, which is Hibiscus tea (easily found at home) but chilled is different. Its more like a juice and its a delicacy here in Egypt. In the late afternoon its the perfect ending to a beach day and goes perfect with a mint flavored Sheesha (water pipe with tobacco no nicotine.

The Sinai Peninsula!!!!!!!!

So we are almost caught up to speed, and I am taking more photos with the crappy camera that I can upload to my laptop, so hopefully you all will be a bit more intereted now.

Dahab is situated on the Red Sea Coast on the great Sinai Peninsula, about 1 hour north of Sharm El Sheik (where Hosni currently is)and 2.5 hours south of the Israel border. Its known as a haven for diving and windsurfing and LOTS of backpackers. Just my speed.

My hostel is actually within the Red Sea hotel so we enjoy all the same amenities, pool, free bkfst,free beach towels, free shotty wireless and direct access to beach - for 7 USD per day. I'm booked in one of the 6 female dorm rooms but there are only two of us, so its perfect! My roomie is a pregant Swiss chick studying Arabic at the University in Cairo. Please note that my bus buddies, Brendan and Andrea, continued onto Taba to cross into Isreal, then to Haifa where they had a car they needed to ferry across to Greece and continue driving until Romania. How fun!

The town is a bit more touristy then I expected, but not nearly as bas Sharm which is known for their package tours and nightlife. Still Dahab is exactly what I was looking for. The prices are a bit steeper then Luxor and Cairo, which are both severely suffering from the drop in tourism over the last few months, Dahab seems to be doing much better. Besides, who can beat 7 USD per night on the beach???

After spending a few much needed hours lounging on the beach, I started to explore the town and look for tours for both snorkeling and trips to Mt Sinai. Apparently since its Holy Week St. Catherine's Monastery, which lies at the base of Mt Sinai is closed starting with Holy Thursday (today) thru Sunday, so tours up there are extremely limited. In fact my hotel said there were no tours going up at all, but I didn't take their word for it and found one going that night(Wed Night).

Ok - will post about that experience shortly.

Hope you all are enjoying my posts - please comment!!! I will also post more pics as promised.


Last day in Luxor

Tryingto catch you all up on my blogging, we are two days behind! So Sorry! My last day in Luxor (Tuesday) was short but a great way to end my trip there. Several from my hotel also booked the hot air balloon trip, so at 4:30AM they picked us all up and we headed over to the West Bank and the field where the balloons take off. These balloons are some of the largest of thier size (4000 cubic feet??) and only 10 in the world. They have 3 baskets that can hold up to 40 people.

The trip was supposed to take us over the Valley of the Kings, but due to high winds (and they had to cancel the previous day's trip due to a sandstorm) we were limited to just the West and East Banks. But for me never having been up in a hot air balloon before, I still loved it. We got dangerously low at times, still don't know why, but we were able to spend about 55 minutes up in the air. I am hoping to buy a cable in Jerusalem that will allow me to download pics from my sister's camera to my laptop so I can post shortly. We will see.
I was in a basket full of Brits so it was rather fun. I dodged the Americans on the other side of the basket, no reason just like being the token yank sometimes.

After we were dropped off we all had breakfast on the rooftop of our hotels (myself and the other americans I dodged earlier that are also staying that the same place) and found themn extremely nice and found them to very sweet and not the typical yank traveller at all, so I felt a bit guilty. There was a cute couple, kid frm upstate in Syracuse and his Romanian girlfriend, that happened to be taking the same bus to Dahab later that day, so that was nice to have a travelling companion for that leg.

After breakfast I headed out to Luxor Temple to take photos and then Karnak temple by Kaliche (horse and buggy). Karnak temple is a mix of ruined temples, chapels, pylons, othe buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amun, and a massive structure called Sacred Lake started by Ramses II (1350 BC).

Karnak Temple is basicallty a vast open air museum and notably the LARGEST ancient religious site in the world. It takes at least an hour to really view all of what it has to offer, my favorite being the Hypostyle Hall that contains 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows.

After Luxor I took some final photos of the Sphinx lined path (actually connects Luxor to Karnak I believe) outside of Luxor Temple, as well as the Mosque inside.

Had slight detour then to Souk which is the market in town to buy a dancing,singing stuffed camel for baby and some other small gifts. Picked up the Ramses II lighter also, who knows when it will come in handy.

Then caught the 4:30pm bus with Brendan and Andrea to Dahab. The SCHEDULED arrival time was 9am (so do the math, yes that's 16 1/2 hours. But we are not dealing with normal hours out here, we have Egytian hours. We actually arrived at about 11:15 --- not toooo bad. We were the only foreigners on the bus and I loved the cheeze arabic movies they played although understood nothing. We also stopped about every 2 ours for tea and cigarettes. The bus driver eventally became my friend and always showed me the designated toilet at the stops.

The Suez canal looks just like the Holland Tunnel, except much longer. Other than that, uneventful trip.

Just glad to be finally on the Red Sea Coast and away from the traffic, smog and everyday city hustle. I get enough of that in NYC.

Still here in Egypt faithful followers

Sorry for the late posting, but the "free internet" advertised at my hostels is usually EXTREMELY SLOW so I haven't been able to blog as much as I had expected... but fear not you will get sick of me soon as I have alot to post!

Where did I leave off??? Yes - Luxor! I had last posted about my exhausting trip to Luxor, which by the way was just in the nick of times, because apparently now alot of the trains are not running and due to the curfew there is just per day for foreigners.

Luxor - part of what is considered Upper Egypt (but geographically southern on the map) and part of the green and lucious Nile Valley. By train it was approximately a 10 hour tirp so if that gives you an idea of how south we went. Luxor is actualy built on the 4000 ancient city of Thebes and won the antiquity jackpot when it inherited the relics and of history's most prosperous and powerful empires.

The Nile divides Luxor into two parts; the East bank where most of the city buildings, shops and hotels are, and the West bank which represents a quieter and more rural lifestyle. The East bank is also where most of the ruins are, and one can easily cross from one side to the other with a small ferry for just 1 Egyptian pound.

The night I arrived in Luxor, for convenience sake, I ended up booking a tour through my hotel for the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Tmeple of Hatshesput and Colossi of Memnon. This can easily take up most of your day, and since the heat can be wretched in the desert, its best to start off early at around 8am.

It was an amazing tour, with a great mix of people and again I was the token Yank. We were limited to ony 3 tombs but somehow got away with four. The most incredible was probably that of Ramses II. Again, as in the Museum in Cairo, I was stunned at how nothing was protected and you could touch everything! The hieroglyphics and use of color was phenomenal, and in interesting tidbit of info-- the color back then was derived from ounding certain stones and extracting the dust, then using say the yolk of an egg to help mix it together and give it the right consistency, then sealed with Cobra venom! That's why so many of the excavation workers who intially opened the tombs when first discovered all died of the same cause - Cobra venom poisining! King Tut's tomb was open but an extra 100 LE and since everything was on display at the Museum in Cairo, we all saw no need to spend the extra money.

Next we ventured to the Temple of Hatshesput (hot shit soup) who incidently, was the first AND ONLY female ruler of Egypt. The temple rises of the desert with three phenomenal terraces built against the mountains as a Temple to worship her other father "Amun Ra". She was eventually tgaken down by her nephew who sought power and she was exiled where she eventually died of natural causes, as ocnfirmed when her mummy remains were examined with DNA testing.

Next we went to Valley of the Queens, which would have been worth it if the tomb of Nefrertari was open, but alas it was still closed for renovations. Unfortuantely these tobms paled in comparison to the Valley of the Queens. By this time, the sun was at its peak and it was blazing hot in the desert, so we made this trip and the next to the Colossi very short ones.

The Colossi of Memnon is actually just off the main road back to the center of the East Bank. These twin statues at 18 meters high are all that remains of the Templ built by Amenhotep III. The Greeks believed that they were the statues of Memnon who was slain by Achilles in the Trojan War.

This last site ended our trip and we were back at our hotels by 2pm. I ended up grabbing a bite and had some of the best babaganoush(sp?) I have ever had...

I then headed out around 4ish to the Cornichse where all the Felluca captains are, and found someone for the right price to take me down the Nile to Banana Island, its not realy an island but rather a banana plantion, but still its a nice two hour trip there and back, and when the sun sets along the West Bank, its just too beautiful for words. That was definately the best part of my trip, extremely peaceful and serene.

The night was an early one for me as I was exhausted and had a 4:00am wake up in order to take my sunrise balloon trip the next morning.

More later~

Monday, April 18, 2011


Wil try and post more pics but the main camera I have unfortunately has no cable with me to upload to my computer. The reason for this was because I thought the SD card was the same size as the one on my latop. Apparently not. My backup camera is the corect size and will try and take more photos with that one so I can post each night. Regardless, after my trip and I have all my pics on my computer I will upload to Google Picassa and share. Thanks!

Yes, still here in Egypt

Sorry for the late post, but I'm here in Luxor! I ended up taking the 10pm train Saturday night from Cairo as planned, they only hav 1 train per day for foreigners so I really had no other option, but it worked well as I was supposed to get in mid morning. Apparently there are may protests south or Cairo still, and they like to stand on the tracks to demonstrate. So starting at a small town (no one on the train could find out the name) we ended up stopped for about 4 hours. The orignial reason was that the train had mechanical issues, then we had no driver as he was sick. Eventually the reason came out and we were waiting for buses and a military escort. In my car there were about 20 foreigners and we just stayed together as a group, but I am sure there were pleny of others on the train we just never saw. Goosd news came about 4 hours in when we started moving again, slowly and then having to stop about every hour as the military would clear more demonstrators off the tracks. Eventually at Sohag, about 110km from Luxor, the military removed all foreigners off the train and were were thrown into microbuses to Luxor. My bus had the Turkish gentlemen and his family that acted as the leader of our car in trying to extract info from the train conductor, valet. etc., as well as a french couple, 2 Egyptians and two dutch women. I like being the only American at times. We eventually pulled into Luxor around 7ish. I checked into my hotel and then grabbed some dinner with the french couple as well as strolled around the city center to view Luxor temple at night. My hotel is quite cozy and for 10 USD per night, my room is lovely, with its own bathroom and AC! Something I missed in Cairo. There alsoa a nice deck on the roof where you can order tea, or sheesha, and use the wireless. Will post this update for now so everyone knows I am still on my journey. Will update tomorrow on what the full day I had today. I am exhausted and have a 4:30 am trip scheduled to ride a hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings when the sun rises!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Final Day in Cairo

Today was my last day in Cairo, and I'm a bit ready to go! Mainly because the noise, traffic and smog is horrible and reminding me on NYC! I've always preferred much quieter places when I travel, as NYC is quite a headache with all the noise pollution there. Today I met Dina at the Egyptian Museum where we spent an hour or so touring around. Amazing artifacts, especialy the Tutenkhaman exhibit, but many items were not clearly identified and NOT protected by glass or even watched by security like in most US museums. You could easily run your finger over 3000 stone hieroglyphics! (yes I did and yes I cleaned my hand). I'm not sure which mummies were destroyed during the revolution, but they all looked there to me. The musuem in Cairo is a defininte, but definately only takes a few hours. Afterwards we headed to Old Cairo where there is a religous compound (sorry cannot seem to find the name) but withing the compound there is a convent (Deir al Banat) and several churches, namely; St. Shenuti, Church of the Virgin Mary, St. Georges and Abu Sgrib (Church of the Holy Family) where it is belived Jesus, Mary and Joseph spent time in hiding from King Herod during the early years of his life. In addition, there is Ben Ezra Synagogue and Amr Abn Elzas Mosque. We then hopped on the Metro just a few stops to Sadat, which is closed to Tahir Square and my hotel, and ate at a well known Egyptian restauant, Felelfel. I just had vine leaves as I was trying not to eat to heavy, late train ride tonight. Dina had the mixed grill which was looked amazing. Apparently with the stuffed vine leaves is an egyptian delicacy called kawaraz, which is "camel knee". Now I have had tripe, and this falls in the same context. Same consistency expect...well its hard to explain. I will not bring a can home with me. Afterwards, Dina and I parted ways and I took a walk along the Nile and watched the sun set. Beautiful experience, a bit noisy but worth it. I am off to Luxor tonight on the 10 pm express train. Until then.

Please note

In my previous post, I meant "put shoes prematurely ON" in a mosque - a major no no

Stupid tourist tricks

1. Pay with wrong currency 2. Remove shoes prematurely in a mosque 3. Instead of syaing "I am hot" say "I am big"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Long Day

Long day today. Took Metro from Sadat station, near Tahir square, to Giza station about 6 stops away on the same line. Ended up just getting on the female only car as its an option not offeed in NYC, and why not. Met Dina there who is the niece of my sister's neighbor in Virginia. I posted a picture of her below in her lovely pink scarf. She was most gracious to meet me at 10 am, and took a day off of work to do it I found out later, with flowers and an itinerary for the whole day! We took a cab to Giza where we saw all 9 pyramids, as well as the Spinx, mainly by walking then a horse and buggy ride at the very end for the smaller pyramids that are a bit of longer walk to get to. By this time it was noon and getting HOT and the covered buggy was a nice relief from the harsh sun. Had a super wide brim hat on plus SPF 70 but still got sun on my neck, what can you do? Its Egypt! Encountered the "scam" I had read about in several guide books, when after bargaining on a price they insist it was British pounds. So my 1/2 hourse and buggy driver wanted 20 quid which is over 30 dollars, which is Central Park prices! Thank God for Dina who did alot of the bargaining and helped me to navigate through the vendors who were constantly trying to sell me King Tut lighters or a dancing stuffed camel (which I might get for the baby). After Giza we ended up going to the Saladin Citadel, also referred to as Mohamed Ali Citadel, in Old Cairo built back in 1184 to protect it from the crusaders. Today its home to several famous Mosques, including Mosque of Muhammad Ali, Al Nasir Muhammad Qala 'un Mosque and from the early Bahri Mamluk period the Mosque of Suleyman Pasha, first of the Citadel's Ottoman styl mosques. In addition to mosques, inside the Citadels walls are the Egyptian Miltary Museum, Police Museum, Al-Gawhara Museum and Carrigae Musuem! That's alot! After walking through most of it, we then jumped in a cab to a lovely park close by, Al-Azhar where we found a lakefront cafe with lovely vews of Muhamad Ali Mosque. After a quick snack of stuffed grape leaves and beef stuffed turnovers we headed off to Kahn a Kalhi the market of all markets. But leaving we stumbled upon a concert in the park given by famous Eyptipan singer Said El Shazar (see pics and video below - sorry audio not avail ) The market, was well the market. Chinatown on uber steroids, but I was soooo tired by then I only bought some dates. Maybe something later. We ended up having dinner near the market and since the menu was only in Arabic, I had Dina order what I she thought was best. She did a fantastic job of double hummus order, kofta and shish kabob. No pigeon tonight, maybe in Luxor. I also had 2 real cokes so I am on sugar high no less. Tomorrow is packed day of Egyptian Museum, maybe a felluca (sailboat) on the Nile and some sheesha! ~Leyla Saida (Good Night)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What a beautiful morning

Beautiful morning here in Egypt. Had nice breakfast of fig jam with bread, cheese and tea. About 1 uSD. Courtyard is calm and peaceful, just me an about 10 cats. The arabic music the cook is playing is beautiful, it reminds me of when I was in Turkey several years ago. Its also going to be HOT today and steadily rising and worse down south where I am heading. 91 today reaching 100 by tomorrow. Yikes! But I asked for anything but the wretched New York weather we had recently, so this is probably much better. Now off to the pyramids!


Finally landed in Cairo tonight, got luggage and visa and was out the door in less than half and hour! Cab ride was the best part, as there seems to be no traffic pattern here, the driving here reminds me of Mexico City with a little Boston mixed in, and if you've been to Boston you know what I mean. My hostel is not clearly marked so the poor cabbie couldn't find it, but eventually we stumbled upon it. Its actually an old building made up of 4 hotstels, thankfully we have the top floor with the roof! Beautiful breeze tonight as I blog.....nice German traveler also up here with me feeding the wild cats salt and vinegar crisps. a bit surreal. After checking in and unpacking I ended up navigating the streets of Cairo tonight, yes alone, to find the Vodaphone store. In Egypt the weekend starts on a Friday, so tonight the streets were packed as everyone was out! Date night! No pedestrian flow either, which is a nice reminder of NYC! People are just everywhere, can't imagine how it was during the revolution. An interesting note- Tomorrow the demonstration that was planned was cancelled due to Hosni and sons being arrested. And the military is out at Tahir Squre and in front of the Museum painting fences and planting grass to help "pitch in". Apparently the military here is known to "do anything". Very interesting, and can't wait t visit tomorrow afternoon. I plan to take the Metro to Giza tomorrow. yes the subway to the pyramids, how cool is that?? There I will meet a friend of a friend who is showing me around Giza. Then in the afternoon, more of Cairo. That's it for now. More tomorrow ~ma' a salama


Made it to Jordan, connecting to Cairo shortly. I have to say I love the flight attendants for Royal Jordanian Airlines, their retro red suits and black pill box hats ROCK! Reminds me of Delta in the 80s... More later

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How much?

Bottled water (small) for $4 - I just love spending my hard earned pesos at JFK.

On my way

At JFK waiting for my flight to Amman, Jordan then Cairo!!!!! I love terminal 4 but they need more watering holes other than Buffalo Wild Wings. Its a bit cheeeezy and I feel like I'm in the Cincinnati airport instead.....

Monday, April 11, 2011

Welcome to my travel blog!

Thanks for following, I hope you find it interesting, to say the least! I will be blogging during my solo travels to Egypt, Israel and Jordan - April 2011. I will be blogging each evening (Cairo time) starting Thursday, April 14th, so tune in and ENJOY THE SHOW!