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By this Author: chrisvasil

Nubian Village in Egypt

40 °C
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We had the opportunity to have dinner at a traditional Nubian home, which was interesting. This family keeps 3 crocodiles is a kind of a permenant fish tank next to one of their rooms (and relatedly eats crocodile once a year). There are a few inches of sand on their floors (which is quite comfortable, and which they change every few months). They have a rotation on bread-cooking, so that every family in the village cooks bread for the entire village once every few weeks, and everyone has bread every day.
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Posted by chrisvasil 00:05 Archived in Egypt Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Luxor - Temple of Karnak

sunny 40 °C
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The temple of Karnak is a massive temple spread over 2 square km and built over the course of several centuries.

At the entrance is a road line with sphinxes,

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And on the inside there are big buildings held up by a lot of massive columns, with carvings and drawings, and a vast array of sculptures. One of the most impressive stops of our stay in Egypt.

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Posted by chrisvasil 00:03 Archived in Egypt Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Valleys of the Kings and Workers (Luxor)

sunny 42 °C
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The valley of the kings is a large complex with dozens of pharoahs' tombs individually carved underground. We went into 3, all more-or-less the same (unfortunately no pictures were allowed): a long downward-sloping hallway with hierloglyphs (drawings) carved and painted into the walls and ceilings, culminating in a room, about 10x15 ft, which had the sarcophygus and tomb.

The Valley of the Workers was where the workers that worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings lived and were buried. The living quarters of the few hundred people there looks like a maze: all are connected as if in the same building. They weren't allowed to leave the area even during days off because the location of the Valley of the Kings was kept a secret to avoid the type of theft that was common in the pyramids and other visable tomb markers. As a result, during their days off they built their own tombs here, and the tombs looked like the pharoahs' only not as deep and with the heirloglyphs only drawn rather than also carved. Behind the living quarters there is apparently a big impressive temple, but we didn't see it because our tour guide didn't mention it and no one in our group knew about it at the time.
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Posted by chrisvasil 23:50 Archived in Egypt Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Mount Sinai

sunny 8 °C
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Going up Mount Sinai was a trek of biblical proportions. Well not really, but it took close to 3 hours to walk up (7km uphill plus 750 steps carved into the mountain) and over an hour to go down (3500 steps carved into the mountain). It was a long climb, and we were glad we didn't bring our big backpack like we were planning to. Less glad that we didn't take the camel up like we were planning to, but it could have been a rough ride and we managed fine without it (with help again from Sue's formidable level of fitness). Since we were early arriving at the peak (around midnight, a couple hours ahead of most tour groups) we got a choice of sleeping spots, and about 6 of us settled on top of a roof. The night was chilly but not as bad as we were expecting. After a few hours of sleep a few groups of teenagers arrived to see the sun rise at the point where moses is said to have recieved his ten commandments from god, and that woke us up in time to see the sunrise ourselves.

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Here are pics of the famed sunrise, taken every 5 min 5:20-6:15am

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Posted by chrisvasil 23:46 Archived in Egypt Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Scuba Diving in the Red Sea

sunny 40 °C
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It was a 45-minute intro dive, and we went down just under 10 metres. The way it was structured was pretty easy: put on wetsuit, flippers and air tank, go in the water to practice breathing and clearing water from the mask and breathing tube, and then we were ready to go.

As we just started going down I was concerned I wouldn't be able to do it -- before my ears popped it was quite painful and the way they showed us to pop ears didn't work. But then they did and it was all smooth from there.

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Every pair of people stayed together (locked arms) and had a guide who did all the work: regulating the pressure on the tank to control the depth we were at, and pulling us to change our direction. All we had to do was keep arms locked together, kick a bit to move forward, and watch the aquatic life in all directions.

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It would have been hard to pick a better spot to have my first scuba diving experience - the fish were plentiful and tropical, and the coral was very nice as well. Sue and I went snorkelling the following day and she agreed that it was better than Cuba or Bermuda.

Posted by chrisvasil 23:18 Archived in Egypt Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

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