A Travellerspoint blog

August 2009

雅典 (Athens)

sunny 35 °C

只两个小时,我们已经从中东飞到了欧洲。最大的感觉 – 我又回归了文明社会。走了一天路的脚再也不会黑的像讨饭的;洗澡水再也不是黑色的;厕所没有了臭味,而且还有厕纸和肥皂;连湿纸巾擦完脸都还看得出本来的颜色。

有名的景点除了废墟还是废墟,这个才是欧洲的开始!
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狭窄安静的街道是我的最爱。
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市中心的墙面上有很多有趣的壁画。真希望能够把它们搬回我家。
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Posted by suevasil 16:31 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Athens - Acropolis and a modern city

sunny 35 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Athens was nice, the Acropolis is a massive complex and the related ruins were also impressive, though we've been spoiled by the things we saw in Turkey, Syria, and Jordan.

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The rest of the city is just charming, with narrow cobblestone streets and a lot of unique shops and good affordable food (souvlaki, spinach pies and gyros).

Posted by chrisvasil 00:14 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

首都开罗(Cairo)

sunny 40 °C

去埃及就必须去看金字塔和狮身人面像。不过看过了也如此罢了。没有我想象的高,也没有感觉特别神秘。只能说:been there, done that罢了。连拍照也提不起太多的兴趣。

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金字塔底的21世纪的搬运工
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值得一提的是我终于克服了动物恐惧症,单独其上了骆驼
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眼看后面的骆驼头就要碰到我的脚了,还是忍不住地提起了双腿,尖叫起来。
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同行的团员当然不能错过这么好的镜头
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再来回顾一下我骑骆驼的英姿!
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比起金字塔,我还是喜欢开罗的集市和旅游区之外的居民。
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当然,我们最爱的还是市集旁的水烟店和美味的甘蔗汁。
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Posted by suevasil 15:56 Archived in Egypt Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

People in Egypt

sunny 40 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Are by and large very, very different from those in the rest of the middle east. My guess is that they have been spoiled by having too many tourists, and so rather than being intrigued and welcoming many of them see foreigners as a way to get moeny. For example:
- Even convenience stores charge a "foreigner price", for example quoting 5 LE for a bottle of water when the actual price is 2 (foreigners can negotiate down to 2.5, but shouldn't have to -- it's a convenience store)
-Public transit also charges a foreigner price - we tried to take a minibus in Luxor, which a horse-and-buggy operator said was .25LE, and they tried to charge us 1LE
-Helpful (and unhelpful) people often demand tips, for anything from giving directions to shaking hands and saying hello. So rather than seeking out friendly locals we have little choice but to try to avoid them
-Vendors hassle passersby much more assertively than in other places, sometimes grabbing their arms or standing in front of them so they can't go forward.
-Vendors try to guilt-trip their way into sales ("you took so much of my time, when I could have been selling things to other people, and now you don't buy anything??")
-There are a lot of beggar children, and a lot of them will follow you for several minutes and touch your arm to get your attention. Some have the audacity to ask for money while being 8 years old and smoking cigarettes (the same one also asked for beer).
-The police are conspiring against foreigners. At a (wonderful) street stand I asked how much for fresh sugar cane juice, the police said 5LE then said something in Arabic to the guy working there. The guy ended up charging 1 LE, which we later found out is the same price he charges to locals. Fresh sugar cane juice is excellent, and we spent the next 2 days in Cairo looking for other places that have the equipent (massive machine that presses the juice out of the cane by flattening it between 2 metal spools)

Note that we did meet some very friendly and helpful people (like the vendor in the above example and the person that offered to pay for our drink in the same example, and the people we met on our transit journey to the airport) both in the towns we went to (though less than in other countries) and especially in Cairo when we went to the non-touristy parts. The above is our impression after coming from countries where almost everyone is incredibly friendly.

Posted by chrisvasil 00:13 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

Cairo Transit

sunny 40 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

To get to the airport we wanted to do it like the locals, and it was an adventure.

First we got directions to where the bus terminal was, then took a minibus to get there. Flagging the minibus took the help of a couple locals, but we eventually had success. Also, to start there were more people than seats, so I was bent over with my backpack on rather than sitting - it was the only way I would fit. Luckily it was mid-afternoon, usually there are people hanging out the doors on public transit, so 2 foreigners with big bags wouldn't stand much of a chance.

With help from people on the minibus we were dropped off close to the bus terminal, which was a 10-minute walk away.

We had to use a different bus terminal closeby to get to the airport, which we found out after waiting for the bus awhile and asking a few people.

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Once at the right bus terminal, it took 2 hours for the bus to come. We later found out the bus drivers were on strike, for the first time ever in Cairo. We had to stay on guard because buses don't have individual platforms, and when a bus pulls into the station it is surrounded by people waiting to get in. People get in before the others exit, and chaos ensues as people then try to get off before the bus goes.

We eventually got on, stayed at the front of the bus since that was the most convenient place to keep our bags. Most of the time my foot was near the base of the gear shift, which was very hot since the floor in that area was a part of a cardboard box (about 1/2 ft wide)

We pulled into the airport about 7 hours after we left, paid 5 LE instead of the 70 that a taxi would have cost, and had a very memorable experience. A very fun thing to do, once.

Posted by chrisvasil 00:10 Archived in Egypt Tagged bus Comments (0)

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