My workbench

My workbench

Friday, October 31, 2008

Safari!

So I went out ona bit of a Siwan safari into the great sand sea today. It was a blast. Nothing terribly inspiring to write about, save for my own little thoughts on Politics and whatnot (Finished the book. Fascinating, and giving me a whole new perspective on the American Government. Not for kids. Well, great for the disenchanted...) Anywho.

Will hang out here for another day, maybe two, then head down to Bawati, hit a few more Oases, and then Luxor. From there, either to Aswan, or if Herb has gotten in contact, I will head back to Sinai and see him.

That's about as far as I can plan for now...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Made it to Siwa

So I punched up a long post describing my trip out here, but Ican't seem to find wireless anywhere, and I am too lazy to transcribe it. Anyway, 24 hours later and I made it from Dahab to Siwa. And now it's time to rest.

Happy Birthday Dad! And tomorrow (Well, 30 minutes from now, here), Uncle Marty aswell! Assuming my cell phone works, I'll be a'callin!

Crossing Egypt; No good men left

I left Dahab at 23:30 last night. The bus dropped me in Cairo, where I split a cab to Ramses station with a Czech couple, whom were ao heading to Alexandria. Upon arriving in Alex, I was beset upon by a student whom offered to sgow me to the bus station, two kilometers away. I assumed, unfortunately correctly, that he was going to rip me off somehow. The tea was nice.and he was a fun conversationalist. The hundred pounds he grabbed to pay the bus fare (<$20) was somewhat of a test; he asked if he could have twenty pounds for taking me, which while riddiculous, I was curious and said fine. Obviously he dissapeared, though I doubt his karma will be bothered much. Eh, it's only money, and sometimes you have to put some faith in strangers. This reaffirms my feelings around here, unfortunately. Got in to Matrouh, apparently just missed the bus, an enterprising cabbie took me for a wild ride in an attempt to catch it. Failure, but reaffirming again my feelings about the Egyptians I have met.

So now I wait for the bus which noone but the bus dispatcher and other passengers thinks exists, leaving at six-thirty. Then I will be in Siwa, and need to find some kind of accomodation. I am curious about the origins of my Lonely Planet, as almost all of the information has been wrong, from times to maps to prices, further jading me against them. Oh well. I do not plan on travelling in quite the same way again, but it was a lesson worth learning.

Other than that, need to make a few phone call. I am not confident that I will find a hotspot when I get to Siwa, but with the time difference I think it will work out perfectly.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Update

Made contact with Herb, will connect with him when he is back from Israel and see him

Need to book my flight (aerlingus) from A'dam to Dublin, and find a spot in Dublin on the night of the 23rd (Debating CS or Hostel, as my flight leaves at 09:00 the morn of the 24th, might skip both and simply hang w/friends/CSers/other backpackers/random Irish)
Compiled a gear list for my time out west, inc PCT...Looking at around $750, plus or minus...Probably plus.

Headed back to Cairo tomorrow evening, should arrive the following morning, and then take the train to Alexandria, bus from there to Siwa...Then exploring the Western desert area for a while. Passed up on the change to head to Jordan with Joe, Ed and Kyle for this, hope it was/will be worth it.
Well, one way or another, I will make it worth it. In the meantime, I need to relax.

Oh, and I am loving a book: "A people's history of the united states" Fascinating! Hightly reccomended.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Decision

So my plans to visit Reese is canned, I would have liked to, but my priorities lay elsewhere. Shame, but that's the way things go.

Now, need to find a flight to Dublin from somewhere in the netherlands.

Confused

So, I might be a bit screwed in my planning. Not really sure yet, but it looks like it may be very difficult for me to get BACK into Egypt from Petra. Expensive as well. I would like to head out w/Joe and the crew, but it just looks like too much of a pain. Egypt is interesting, but might be a bit wearing on me. Being slightly ill and almost getting in a fight with some Bedouins last night/this morning does not help any, though in all fairness I don't need to buy a blanket from them to sleep.

Anywho, I am trying to figure out how to see Leigh, George, and Rees in 9 days when I am back in Europe. Oh, and getting to Dublin somehow.

So, working backwards:

Need a flight from Amsterdam/Eindhoven to Dublin on the day/night of the 23rd
Need to be back in A'dam on the 19th or 20th (latest).
That leaves five days to get to copenhagen and den haag. Barely feasible, and a serious toss-up. Oh choices.

So, do I try to crunch everything, or bail on either Rees or Leigh Anne?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

PADI cert

So I got my PADI Open Water certification yesterday, need to send in the paperwork when I get to Amsterdam, and the card should be sent to Greenwich. I am debating hanging out in Dahab for a few more days, or moving on after a trip up Mt. Sinai tomorrow evening. For those unaware, the dollar skyrocketed (well, everyone else's currency bombed) so that the Euro is 1.25 to the dollar, while the pound sterling is 1.58. Freaking brilliant, what a bad time to leave Europe! Oh well. And no, the Egyptian pound hasn't changed one bit. But it still costs LE20 for dinner (or a hair under four bucks).

I am having a blast, apologies for not calling much, but the internet and phone services around here are spotty at best. I am going to pick up an egyptian SIM, which in theory should make calls back to the 'states cheap. I hope. Anywho, other than that, I need to call a few 800 numbers to can bank accnts and whatnot, and otherwise things are looking great. There was a small riot here last night (next hotel over), but it didn't affect us. A bit of adventure, some rocks thrown...I was safe up on the roof overlooking the fight.

The more I think about it, the more interested I am in doing the PCT this comming spring/summer. I just looked up the distance, and I had thought it was a bit shorter than it actually is (2650 as opposed to my thinking 1900), which adds a month or so on to my plans. So it looks like ~4 months or so of hiking, leaving in mid/late April, getting out late August/mid Sept. This may be perfect to then travel aroudn the States for awhile, and then head back to a resort for another season of boarding. Of course, my plans change constantly, and I am not sure that I won't fall in love with another place and dissapear, but for now this looks like the most appealing plan.


And yes, I am still planning on heading to NZ, OZ, and SE Asia, but I think I would like some time doing serious long-distance hiking before I head off on these. For now. There will always be time.

Love y'all, can't wait for T-day and seeing everyone.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dahab

So I have been hanging out with Joe, a 25 year old vet whom enlisted at 17, and got out in July. Wierd to think about. We got a discount for signing up for PADI open water certs together. So by thr end of the week, i should have my open water cert.

Thats prettymuch all.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Arrived in Dahab

Just got in to Dahab about an hour ago; not impressed. Granted, it is almost 1am, but I am starting to get sick of the Egyptian approach to tourism (or toutism as it should be called). The place where I was looking to stay for about LE 15 wants LE80, still not much ($16), but wayyy more than it should be. Besides, camping for a night on the beach is awesome, and I doubt it will rain. How many people will try to steal my stuff...that is another question. But enough of that.

I went to a CS meeting last night, and have come to realize that the community I had grown to love is becomming nothing more than another social networking site. I am sadly siding with the hitchhikers, and thinking about moving on. Caito itself was dirty, lod, hot, annd crowded. Being one whom is not terribly impressed with urban life, I have little desire to return except to fly out. I will attempt to contact Herb again tomorrow, I realize that it may simply take a few tme to get properly connected.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pyramids

Today I was somewhat more productive thsn yesterday. I explored the very limited Cairo metro, and took a bus to the pyramids. As I had been warned, the were somewhat underwhelming, but I took a bunch of pictures nonetheless. Went out to eat with some british guys, relaxed, and I am currently munching a pomegranate, chilling. Bedtime soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

first day in cairo

I arrived at Cairo international airport around 1am. Wandered around for a while, caught three hours of sleep or so in the new Terminal 3, and set off to find the correct bus into town. Wow, they were right about the touts at the airport, I actually had guys following me trying to get me into a cab. Finally found the correct bus, and off I went. The drivers and pedestrians here are like none other, and command a healthy amount of respect and fear. There are no crosswalks, stop signs and red lights are optional, and there are no lanes, much less painted lines. I truly is a free-for-all.

So, made it to my hostel with only minimal intervention from some touts, napped for a bit longer, and set off to explore a bit. Being a bit weary still, I hit the Egyptian Museum, only a few blocks away. Underwhelmed, but glad that my student ID still works (half off). VERY disorganized.but some fascinating stuff. Walked around, did some reading, planning, repeat, etc. Great dinner, for $5 or so. Relaxed, worked on some flash cards for Arabic, and got some info on my next destination, Dahab. I will head down there (unless/even if?) I contact Herb in a few days. Tomorrow I head to Giza, with the possibility of al getting to Memphis to see the step pyramids. I am actually not so keen on man-made stuff, and think I will enjoy Dahab and the western deserts a lot more.

That's about all, Robin still has me thinking a lot about wind turbines, and most recently I am wondering how many parts can be salvaged from a normal stand up fan. Hmmm, migt be something to consider. That's all for now, my posts should be more regular as long as I am near inet connections.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Future

Well, Egypt here I come! I am about to hop in the shower before my flight to Egypt departs Amsterdam. I have three days sorta-planned in Cairo, need to contact Herb when I get in, and am deciding about going down the Nile (Train to Luxor ), into the desert (Wadi), or to the Sinai (Dahab). And then of course there is Petra, in Jordan, and Israel, which should not be very difficult to get to. And flying back from Cairo on the 15th of November, I return here to Amsterdam, though plan on heading to Copenhagen, and then down to brussels via den haag, (possibly stopping in luxembourg, simply to say that I have been there), and flying to Ireland, visiting Cork if I have enough time, surfing a night or two in Dublin, and then flying back to NYC on the 24th of December. I still need to book my flight out to Bozeman, MT on the 4th of December, and at some point need to stop by REI to pick up a very specific jacket (size unknown), and pack up my winter toys. If all goes well, I'll be in Montana until April, at which time Mom has made mention of a trip to Yellowstone, which I would certainly oblige.

That's about as close to planning as I can get, but I think it's fairly concise and yet flexible in places.

Hooahh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My recent comments describing the past, present, and future.

Well, I'm in Amsterdam, I've been here for almost two weeks, and I have a flight out tomorrow to Cairo via Rome.
I've got a return flight on the 15th of November.
So I have exactly one month to see whatever, wherever, in the middle east. Hooahh.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fun in A'dam!

Amsterdam. It's a lot of fun. Staying with Robin (from 888) and co at Casarobino. I picked up a flight to Egypt for a bit less than $600. It's worth it. 15th to 15th. Between now and then, I am either going to a hitch-hiking comp in Ghent with someone(s) from the house, or head to Diskmiunde (sp?) beer festival, south-west of Brugge.
Went dumpster diving today with Kasper down at a local market. Also went out last night, but was too tired to do much. Oh, did I mention I actually jogged to the market while Kasper biked? Good times.

I am planning to go visit Leigh, and then (or sometime thereafter) head up to see Rees in Denmark. I would like to be able to spend a bit more time in Germany, but perhaps I can do that when I get back from Egpyt.

Speaking of Egpyt, I am thinking of spending a day or two in Cairo (Calling Herb on the first day, just to let him know that I have arrived and my plans sans him). I will head to Sharm (A few of my European friends have suggested hitching...I thought about it, but at ~$15, I might not hitch this one. From Sharm to Dahab (50Mi), and from there...to the beach. Fun in the sun, snorkeling in the red sea, eating, relaxing, climbing if I can find some nice rock...Yeah, that doesn't sound too bad. I would like to head out to Petra, in Jordan, but for that I need to find out if I can get a ferry from Egypt to Jordan, or if I will def. have to pass through Israel. Either way I would also like to go to Israel, but if I can do it on my own terms regarding borders (I do have to fly out of Egypt), I would be happier.

Well, that's about all for now, need to head out to the store before it closes. See Y'all (well, most) in Philly!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Choose your path

I am extremely fortunate; barring massive head trauma, I should always have a profession to fall back on.  Most of the people I have met travelling do not have this luxury.  It makes me wonder: what if I had, indeed, chosen differrently?  Going out and travelling instead of getting a job after university, or getting another job after the Qimonda layoff, or even not working so hard during my time at RIT, and instead focusing on things like backpackng and climbing.
My mind immediately turns to the first two engineers I knew growing up.  The second is Steve, obviously an amazing success born through amazing hard work, night school, and a love for what he does.  The consumate engineer.  The first engineer I ever knew is also one of the happiest.  Marty graduated with highest honors from MIT, and went on to work at NASA.  He now runs a successful paintball arena, and gave me one of my first real jobs.

Thinking about these two men, I cannot help but draw parallels to my own life.  Those whom knew me during my last nine months of RIT saw a man possesed, obsessed with completing goals and enjoying every moment of it. Those whom have met me over the past four months cannot imagine that I ever worked in a cubicle. Ever.

I am not on a 'trip,' per se.  This is my life.  I will make plans, and I will break them.  I will head in one direction, just to end up heading back the other way.  I am unable to tell you where I might be tomorrow or for the rest of the week, but I am planning to settle in one place for five months soon. 
I might squat in Denmark, share a house with friends in Amsterdam, explore turkey, tour morocco, climb, hitch, and camp everywhere, or I may head to Egypt for a month of snorkeling and diving and laying on sand beachest without a carre in the world (for $10 a day).  Am I wasting time?
I am doing what I want.
Because I can.

That is freedom.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Memorable memories so far...

While I sit at the train station in Trapani, slowly chargin my tablet, heree are a few absolutely unforgettable memories.  Just becauuse they are.
My first european hitch, from paris to strasbourg in a day, and then skunked the next day completely.
Climbing from thun, to interlaken, all the way to gimmelwald. 
And then up the schilhorn(sp?).
Making deliveries with an Iranian trucker in Italy.
888
the paris catacombs
fort william (for a month!)
Enliightenment from Annie
Berlin. Ahh, berlin
beachsurfiing in croatia
and many more.



~Home is wherever you may roam