Monthly Archives: March 2009

On to Petra

Posted by on March 23, 2009

I’m now in Petra. I spent the last two nights in a bedouin camp in Wadi Rum. I spent all of yesterday there taking a camel through the desert taking photos, slept in a tent, and ate semi-traditional bedouin food with mini version of the UN: Italians, Koreans, Japanese, Sweeds, Malaysians, British, French, Germans, Jordanians, Russians, and Belgians.

I’m going to just work on my photos today so I hope to have something up shortly. It was really an incredible experience.

I’ll be in Petra for 3 nights before heading back to Aqaba and crossing over into Israel. From what I’ve been told I may have a hard time at the border because I have a UAE stamp in my passport. So much for saving Israel for my last stop in the Middle East.

Question & Answer #4

Posted by on March 20, 2009

@BrooklynNomad Are there days when you just want to give up your travels, call it a day and go back to a 9-5 life?

Never. There are days however when I feel I need to just stop moving for a week or two. I sort of feel like that now. I found a month in Egypt to be the most stressful month I’ve had while traveling. I’ll be writing more on that soon.

Honestly, I’ve never really had a 9-5 job for more than a few months in my life. I have a very difficult time working for others. I once had a minimum wage job after I graduated college working at a factory that made baseball cards. I figured out how I could eliminate my job after working there a day and told my boss. They didn’t care and I decided I never really wanted to work for someone else again.

@Muscati What do you with your stuff while you’re out taking in the sights? Do you trust the safety of the hotels you stay in?

For the most part, I do trust hotel/hostel rooms, but not 100%. When I’m out for the day I usually have my camera bag and all my camera gear with me. I will also have my iPod Touch in my pocket. The most valuable thing I leave in the room is my laptop, which I will always have locked with my cable lock. I don’t worry about my clothes being stolen. It would probably benefit me to get some new clothes at this point. Many of the lower end hotels and hostels do not provide daily room cleaning, which is actually a bit safer than hotels which do.

@umarsiddiqi how do you come up with cash required to pay the bills? Do you carry a lot of cash with you?

I get cash from ATM machines. I usually take out between $100-200 at a time. Depending on where I am, that can last a few days or more than a week. Using a credit card is also dependent on where I am. I have seldom used one since I’ve left Australia. Since I’ve been in the Middle East I’ve paid for a few hotels with it, but I mostly use cash. I have never used a travelers check. Most places don’t even accept them anymore.

@adam230 Has the popularity of your blog ever made you feel like a celebrity?

In the big scheme of things, this blog isn’t that big of a deal. The day I have groupies is the day I will feel like a celebrity……….FYI, I am taking applications for the position of groupie.

@linnetwoods Has anyone asked you whether you would have planned the trip differently with the benefit of hindsight & if so, how?

Um, you just did :) I’m not sure I would have planned it much differently. I went to the Pacific first and I’m glad I did. If I ever have to fly across the Pacific again, I’m going to make some stops in the Pacific.

@coqui2008 What’s the scariest country you have visited and why? or Which country have you felt the least safest in and why?

The biggest worry I had before I went somewhere was before I flew to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Some article just came out which had listed it as the biggest “hell on Earth” a few days before I left. In the end, it wasn’t that big of a deal. It isn’t a place you want to spend a lot of time, nor do you want to walk around at night.

@Ashlenet If there was one language other than english you could be fluent in, what would have helped you most on your travels?

If you look at the list of places I’ve been, I’ve covered a lot of languages. Many of those countries, especially in the Pacific, commonly speak English. At this point in my trip, the most useful language would have been Bahasa (Malaysia/Indonesia/East Timor), Japanese, or Arabic. In the long run, the most useful languages would probably be Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. Spanish is something I really want to work on during the next year.

Off to Wadi Rum

Posted by on March 19, 2009

Mr. Dryden: Lawrence, only two kinds of creature get fun in the desert: Bedouins and gods, and you’re neither. Take it from me, for ordinary men, it’s a burning, fiery furnace.
T.E. Lawrence: No, Dryden, it’s going to be fun.

-Lawrence of Arabia

TE Lawrence during the Arab Revolt in WWI

TE Lawrence during the Arab Revolt in WWI

My all time, #1 favorite movie is Lawrence of Arabia. It is good on so many different levels it is hard to describe. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so. See it on the largest screen you possibly can. I have had the pleasure of watching it twice in my life in 70mm, once on a giant parabolic screen.

Most of the movie was filmed in Jordan and the stunning desert scenes were all shot around Wadi Rum, where I’m off to tomorrow. I’m excited to go and I’m excited to take photos. The weather is starting to warm up here, so I hope the night time conditions aren’t too cold. I’ve done the sleeping outside in the desert cold when I went to Uluru in Australia, and I have no desire to do it again.

I have no idea if I am going to have internet access in Wadi Rum. I’m guessing not, but who knows. I’m always surprised at where I find it.

After a few days in Wadi Rum I’m off to Petra for a few days before I’ll head back to Aqaba and cross over into Israel. I still may go to Amman, but I’ll have to cross over the border again. If I don’t do it that way, I’m looking at a trip up to Amman, back down to Aqaba and then back up the border to visit the sites in southern Israel.

Win Travel Trinkets Thursday: Egyptian Necklace

Posted by on March 19, 2009

My last contest took forever and was sort of confusing. This time I’m going to make it much easier on everyone, including myself. All you have to do to win is to vote for as Best Travelogue in the Lonely Planet Travel Blog Awards and leave a comment with “I voted”. This is on the honor system, so if you cheat and win, I’m going to put some sort of internet curse on you.

This cheap Egyptian necklace could be yours!

The item this week is a cheap necklace of what I think are lapis lazuli bits I got from an alabaster store on the west bank of the Nile near Luxor Egypt.

I was looking for something cheap to give away and I saw this necklace and figured it would fit into an envelope. I asked one of the guys working at the store how much it cost and he said “for you my friend, you may have it for free”. At this point my BS detector started going off because nothing is free in Egypt. Sure enough, without skipping a beat, he then asked for a 10 pound tip. 10 pounds is about US$1.80. I asked him why he just didn’t sell me the necklace for 10 pounds and avoid the song and dance of giving it to me for free with a tip. He then wanted 15 pounds, and I gave him the necklace back, and he then suddenly settled for 10 pounds.

I’d say this necklace has a retail price of $1.80 but the fact is if I had bothered to haggle, I’m sure I could have gotten it for half that price.

So this can be all yours for the low, low price of nothing. All you have to do is 1) vote, 2) leave a comment with “I voted”. If voting is closed, just say I would have voted.

I’ll close comments in a few days, pick a random number and email the winner.