Saturday, May 19, 2007

Walk like an Egyptian

Rumor also has it that one has to update these crazy technological wonders called "blogs" more than once a week in order to make them even somewhat after slacking a bit upon initially arriving in Cairo I gave myself a "Stuart Smalley" pep talk (for those SNL fans of the early 90's) in front of the mirror today and promised myself to attempt to update this bad boy at least once every couple of days.

Thanks to those of you who endured the tear jerker in the first post (and even to those of you who wisely skipped most of the first post - I would have done the same:) I do owe a great to deal to those peop's that were mentioned in post 1 and the very least I could do is acknowledge what they have done for me. I certainly wouldn't be sitting here in a blistering hot internet cafe full of hookah smoke hammering away on this commodore 66 with a bad case of swamp ass had it not been for those folks... so cheers for that:)

I also wanted to thank those of who were kind enough to pass on comments or e-mails. I certainly appreciate the words of encouragement, suggestions and even the harassment from those of you who like to pitch me shit:)

One last bit of admin - a few good suggestions came through for me to provide my rough itinerary (I think a few of you have been talking to my mom) so here is my general plan of attack for my attempt at Cairo to Capetown after skimming through the guide book, random articles and searching the internet. Chances are I won't end up doing most of this, or any of it, but hell you never know...
Egypt - Spend a couple weeks seeing the sites such as the great pyramids of Giza, visit the Valley of the Kings & Queens in Luxor, The great temple of Abu Simbel, take a 2 night felucca(fancy Egyptian word for sail boat) trip along the Nile, ride some camels in the desert and then head over to the Sinai for some scuba diving in the Red Sea, swing by infamous backpacker haven - Dahab, & maybe cruise up Mt. Sinai before heading back to Cairo.
Ethiopia - check out the capital, Addis Ababa all the while being certain to steer clear of the many "working ladies" that like to approach nice white boys from Seattle (Thanks to Mike G. for passing on that head's up), explore the tombs and ruined palaces (i.e look at bunch of big old stones lying on the ground) of Aksum as well as Africa's Camelot - Gonder, do a little trekking in the Simien Mtns, visit the Blue Nile Falls & Lake Tana.
Kenya - try not to get mugged in the capital of Nairobi (commonly known as Nai-robbery), hit up my first safari in the Serengeti's Masi Mara reserve. Swing by the great rift valley (I'm starting to notice that a lot the main attractions in Africa that always begin with "The Great...". I think I'm gonna start implementing this tactic in my everyday encounters... And finish up my Kenya visit with a relaxed trip to Lamu which lies on the Indian Ocean.
Uganda - hang 10 with some Gorillas in the Biwindi National Park, swing by the Caribbean style - Ssese ilands in Lake Victoria, visit the Murchison Falls, and say hi to some crocs and hippos in the Queen Elizabeth national park.
Rwanda - Virunga Volcanoes to view the rare mountain gorillas of Parc National des Volcans & the monkeys of Nyungwe NP.
Tanzania - Hike at Ngorongoro Crater, dive off the Mafia Islands, hit up a little safari action to see the (guess what word is next) "Great" Wildebeast Migration in the Serengeti, & lastly after a little volunteer stint - soak up the sun and spices of Zanzibar Island.
Mozambique - Do a bit more diving in the Bazaruto islands, & log some more chill time in the back packer hangout of Tofo.
Malawi - a possible horse safari in the Nyika National Park and then its off to Cape Maclear.
Zambia - "The great" Victoria Falls! OK they don't use "the great" in front of this African attraction, but I'm sure they are great.
Namibia - Do some sandboarding in the adventure town of Swakopmund, then cruise the desert vast lands of the Skeleton Coast.
South Africa - Hit the wineries just north of Cape Town, visit Robin Islands which was Nelson Mandela's unfortunate home for many years, tour the shanty town of Elias Motsoaledi Settlement, and celebrate my journey of Cairo to Cape Town. I'll cruise up the coast and fly out of Johannesburg on Sept. 3...just in time to make it back to the states to watch the Cubs head into the playoffs & the Boilers start thier season off with some Wins :)

(Let's pretend I was actually on top of this whole blog deal and this post was done on Thursday night - May 17)

After finally settling into Cairo & switching hotels to a cheaper (you all know that I love to save a buck:), but more backpacker friendly option (i.e. crappy service, shared bathrooms, and mattresses that were built during the same era they lego'd together those pyramids) I am finally set to see some sites. Tomorrow's agenda includes a camel ride to catch the sunrise in the Sahara Desert overlooking The Great Pyramids of Giza. Tour the Pyramids of Giza, the schnoz-less Sphinx, Saqqara and Memphis and then head back to the hostel for a dinner cruise along the Nile.

Quick note on crossing the street - it is complete and utter chaos. Crosswalks, street lights and pedestrians don't matter. These fella's are humming along at a gentle 60 MPH regardless of what's in front of them (surprisingly I haven't seen 1 accident so props to thier skills -I guess?). Point is, I sat attempting to cross an average 2 lane street for 20 minutes as numerous locals played Frogger with the traffic (no shitting ya, just like the old Atari game). The straw that broke the camel's back was when an 80 year old gal went humming past me with no fear. I now wait for a crew of locals to cross the street and then go weaving through traffic with them (don't worry Mom - I'm being as careful as I possibly can) I guess The Bengals were onto something.