Tag Archives: Wonder of the World

Egypt

3 Nov

Our first full day in Cairo, we went to the Pyramids at Giza. It was by far the best thing to see in Egypt (though admittedly, we did not make it to Upper Egypt — Luxor, Memphis, and all that). That is no surprise. After seeing the Pyramids, nothing else in Egypt stood a chance to impress us.

Dane:  Highlight of Egypt?

Eric:  Pyramids.

Dane:  Obviously.

Eric:  Obviously.

Dane:  So, what’s number 2 on the list?

Eric:  Climbing to the top of Mount Sinai. Egypt has so much religious history, to experience some of it was cool. You?

Dane:  I would have said the same thing, but in order to avoid getting repetitive, I’ll say scuba diving at Dahab.

Eric:  Scuba diving is always great. I saw some of the biggest, most colorful fish I had ever seen in the Red Sea.

Dane:  Yeah, they were massive and somewhat scary to see swimming toward you.

Eric:  The reef was pretty impressive as well.

Dane:  There wasn’t much going on in Cairo. Tahrir Square was quiet. The Egyptian Museum had a lot of cool things, but there was little to no information about the artifacts present and there was no flow to the museum at all.

Eric:  It was pretty cool to see the mummies, though. One of them even had all of its finger nails still.

Dane:  Yeah, the mummified body exhibit was cool. The King Tut treasures were cool. A lot of the artifacts were cool. The museum could be so much better, though. It felt like a wasted opportunity.

Eric:  Is there anything else to say really?

Dane:  Alexandria.

Eric:  Alexandria was nice because we had a contact there to show us around a bit.

Dane:  The library there is pretty amazing … as much as libraries can be.

Eric:  They have a record of everything they’ve put on the internet since 1996.

Dane:  All backed up on servers. The only copy of the internet in the world.

Eric:  Be careful what you put on Facebook.

Dane:  Have you seen your Facebook profile?

Eric:  I’d be a lot smarter if I took my own advice. College.

Dane:  But again, the Pyramids were the best thing by far.

Eric:  I’d say they were the best thing I’ve seen on this trip … or the coolest thing.

Dane:  They were absolutely amazing. Massive. Huge. Another word meaning mind-blowingly big.

Eric:  We rented horses to take us around the whole complex. Not being from Texas, I think I enjoyed the experience more than Dane. We got to gallop around a bit, which was fun, but also hurt…

Dane:  I enjoyed the galloping more than you because, being from Texas, I knew how to avoid hurting certain parts of my anatomy when the horse sped up.

Eric:  Yeah, galloping was painful.

Dane:  The horses were a good way to get around, though. I didn’t want to do it at first because I thought the price was expensive, but it ended up being well worth it, especially since our guide shooed away all the touts (read:  annoying salesmen).

Eric:  It was nice not having to deal with them for a change. It made the experience all the better.

Dane:  So, that’s Egypt?

Eric:  I’d like to talk about what impressed me about the pyramids.

Dane:  Go.

Eric:  It was fascinating to see something so tall that had been standing there for over 5,000 years. I’m so impressed the Egyptians were able to construct it with such minimal machinery. They were incredibly high. Was it 160 m?

Dane:  Not sure.

Eric:  Well, high. And massive at the base.

Dane:  Yeah, it made having the horses almost a necessity just to get around them in a reasonable amount of time.

Eric:  So, that’s Egypt?

Dane:  That’s Egypt.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, the grandest of the pyramids, was completed around 2540 BCE, the others were constructed and completed not too long after. The height of the Great Pyramid is 138.8 meters (455 ft). The width of the Great Pyramid at the base is 230.4 meters (756 ft). In your mind, you have an idea of what to expect when you get there, but when you finally do arrive, you are still blown away.

The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest building on Earth when construction on it was completed. It held that record for 3,800 years.

Petra

25 Oct

Most everyone has an image of Petra in their mind.

It’s just as stunning in person as you would imagine it to be. But let’s start with the previous night and how we got there.

Eric:  We had picked up beers from a liquor store and walked up to the roof expecting to find no one. Our hostel had been empty the day before, but had apparently filled up while we were out exploring Amman and the Dead Sea.

Dane:  There were some Australians, an Egyptian, a weird Scottish guy, and another American. His name was Dan and he had rented a car.

Eric:  Just like high school, we ignored the other losers on the roof and gravitated toward the cool kid with the car.

Dane:  His itinerary matched up perfectly with ours. Luckily all we had to do was buy him a beer to get in his good graces. So, yeah, it was kind of like high school.

Eric:  The next day started our road trip through the desert. First stop, Petra.

Dane:  We stopped for snacks and drinks at a gas station just outside of Petra then hopped back in the car.

Eric:  And like a high school kid, Dan wanted to show off to his new friends, so he pressed the accelerator to the floor as we went to pull back on the highway.

Dane:  That’s when the hub caps went flying. We hit a giant pot hole.

Eric:  Dan scurried out to gather the hub caps off the highway amidst the eighteen wheelers that were speeding by. Then, we continued on our way.

Dane:  It was clear the tires weren’t right, and we were in the middle of the desert, not exactly the kind of place you want to get stranded.

Eric:  The rest of the ride was a nervous one, though we eventually made it.

Dane:  It was clear when we exited the car, however, that the back left tire was completely flat. I’m not sure how long it had been that way, but Dan chose to keep driving on it.

Eric:  He did buy the insurance.

Dane:  That was a smart move. Peeling out into the highway and crashing into a pothole, not so much.

Eric:  Lesson here:  road trips always spawn a good story.

Dane:  So, Petra…

Eric:  It was incredible.

Dane:  It was vast. Never ending.

Eric:  The moment the treasury building — the image of Petra everyone has — emerged through the canyon was breathtaking.

 

Dane:  Nothing really prepares you to see something so intricate and massive carved into the side of a cliff.

Eric:  And that wasn’t even the biggest facade in Petra. The monastery was even more massive. My favorite part, though, was hiking in and around the caves.

Dane:  The entire city stretched on forever it seemed. There were houses carved up and down the mountains through the valleys and beyond.

Eric:  We spent the entire day walking around the grounds. Before we realized it, we had been there for ten hours.

Dane:  Where does it rate compared to all the sites you’ve seen around the world.

Eric:  I don’t know. But it’s one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. The size of it, the age of it, was very impressive.

Dane:  I think I’d put it behind Angkor Wat … but nothing else.

Eric:  I liked it more than Angkor Wat.

Dane:  We can agree, though, that it was absolutely stunning.

Eric:  Besides Everest, it’s the coolest thing I’ve seen on this trip.

The monastery in Petra.

 

Doorway of the monastery taken from the inside.

A Quick Update

28 Sep

In the last few days, we saw the Taj Mahal from at least three different angles:

It was incredible how the building completely dominated the whole area.  It was beautiful. Nothing more to say.

We received love advise from one of our tuk-tuk drivers:

“Bob Marley said, ‘No woman, no cry’, but in India, no woman means ‘No chapati, no chai’.”

We saw the Amber fort at Jaiprur:

Alan referred to himself as an “Americ–“

We spent sixteen hours on a train, taking it overnight from Jaipur to Amritsar:

It should have only taken thirteen and a half, but trains and running on time are phrases vehemently opposed to each other within the borders of India.

Also, at one point, Dane’s bed was used by food vendors to sell their goods. Dane was in the bed at the time.

We saw the border between India and Pakistan:

There were hype men at the border, pumping up the crowds watching the flag lowering ceremony!

And we saw The Golden Temple at Amritsar in the daytime and the night:

 

Tomorrow, we’re off to Delhi for a few days. More posts to come.