Wednesday, March 31

Life along the Nile

Well I'm into my tour of Egypt, yesterday was spent at the pyramids, in the pyramids (yep that's right I went in) and by the sphinx. I also toured the Egyptian Museum and went into the mummy room. So I feel like I'm really here. Actually it was pretty amazing to see items produced so long ago and that have survived so long. The engineering and artistic feats of the egyptian pharohs and people are awe inspiring. However, the best thing I've seen so far was Alexandria. The meditranean is beautiful, the weather was amazing and the town was so beautiful. It also has the most amazing library :D I could live in that library. They are also doing some amazing things with digital collections and trying very hard to create free access to their collection through the world wide web. I was in rapture the whole time we were touring. I think I've found my true calling to work with libraries :D now to just get the school work done so I can get down to it.

It's pretty warm here in Aswan but I've been assured this is the hottest part of our tour :D so I should survive. Actually it's been really nice, there is almost always a breeze coming off the nile and we do most of our sightseeing before noon, then we have free afternoon time before supper. Our tour leader is very nice, she's from here in Aswan and is very knowledgeable about egptian history and culture which is the best part of these GAP tours I've been taking. The group is very multinational, we have 2 from china who live in London, 2 brits who are just back in the EU after years teaching in Singapore, a frenchmen and columbian who live in New york, a norwegian couple and a family from Minnesota (I think that's right) so it's a pretty amazing group to chat with and learn from. Because everyone else had a partner I get a room to myself and I'm not complaining. This is also a luxury tour so I'm really not complaining :D

Despite my efforts to keep sunscreen on and carry an umbrella I'm getting quite the tan. I've also been enjoying the local cuisine and tonight we're going to a nubian village for supper after we sail there up the nile on a fellucca. So exciting things are ahead, unfortunatly internet is spotty here and time to access it is slim so I'll update when I can but if you don't here from me know I'm having a blast here and I'll have lots of pictures to share when I get to London.

Oh yeah the cats are awesome here I'll be lucky if I don't come home with like a 100 cats in tow :D they're everywhere!!!

Wednesday, March 24

My Home away from Home

Well I did't post much in London and I didn't take many pictures, why? Mostly because I was just enjoying being "home". It's strange out of everywhere I've been no place feels like it fits better than London. If it wasn't so expensive to live there I'd probably consider the move and I'd make all of you come visit me :D there. It truly is one of my favorite places to be. I never feel lost or confused there just at home. I toured the most random and fabulous museum the Victoria and Albert museum, you jump from room with statues into a room filled with jewelry into a textile wing back into stained glass. I also toured the fashion exhibit filled with clothes and shoes and the drama/theatre exhibit. It was amazing and all free!!

Besides some very minor sightseeing I mostly just relaxed, did some shopping, visited with a friend from Canada who has moved to London (lucky her) and packed my stuff to mail and for egypt. I also have made arrangements for my last three weeks in the UK before I come home. I'll spend some time in London then take the train to Edinburgh, from Edinburgh I'll arrange day trips out to see the sights of Scotland, then back for 3 days in London before flying home. :-D I'm looking forward to this part of my trip.

First though I have Egypt to see, I flew all day yesterday and spent a lot of time in the Cairo airport before arriving in Sharm El Sheik and then I was driven an hour to the small resort I'm staying at outside of the village or Dahab. Now I know I said I was going to be on the meditranean but apparently geography is not a strong suit of mine :D I'm actually on the Red/Arabian Sea LOL I am very near Mount Sinai I had that part right. Actually there's a spectacular coral reef here so tomorrow I will try my hand at snorkelling. Today I did a grand total of nothing, slept in, had a late breakfast, laid in the shade reading a book, gave myself a manicure/pedicure and now I'm doing my blogging. Not exciting but that's the purpose of this Dahab visit. I'm here for 3 full days and I'm going to take it pretty easy. The compound I'm in has 3 pools and the "beach" area, they all have bars and there's even a swim up bar at the adult pool. There are a lot of Europeans here so the teeney tiny bikini's are interesting but the speedos on old gentlemen are disturbing. Actually since I packed with a muselim country in mind I feel very amish. LOL although compared to the egyptian women I've seen I'm scantily dressed.

Egyptian men are very forward, I've been "admired", proposed to and propisition which is very strange to me but mostly I've taken it as compliments. The driver who asked for a kiss for a tip was my funniest I told him I'd given up kissing, he asked why and then when I said it was because I was widowed he turned red and appologized for offending me. I wasn't offended just wasn't going to kiss him but oh well it was amusing. Actually I feel like it's more of something they feel like they have to do and if you ignore it or laugh it off they stop and you can get on to business.

All this time spent alone has given me lots of time to think and I've realized except for a little in Paris I haven't felt lonely. I actually like spending time alone and touring alone is kind of nice, you can go where you want when you want. I like eating alone because then I can read my book and not be rude. I also in London can chat with people around me when I feel like company which is nice too. I've met so many interesting people because they ask me about my ebook reader at a restraunt, cafe, bus stop, plane and then we start chatting.

I think I was trying to rush things when I said I was ready to date, I think I felt that whole OMG I'm single and 30 thing on top of never really having been single and freaked out and felt like I needed to be looking at the very least. The one thing I've learned this trip is I'm okay being on my own and that I'm okay to let God lead on when and who to date. My attempts have only muddied the waters and made life harder. I'm going to let myself be single and enjoy it. Also I'm already plotting my next trip(s) EVIL GRIN anyone interested in Israel in May next year? How about joining me on the Book Bus volunteer opportunity I've found? I'd love to do Israel next May when I've finished classes for the summer so if someone would like to join me for a two week tour just let me know.


Thursday, March 18

Pictures from London and Paris

Well there aren't many of them but here's my current photos of the last week or so. This means that I am up to date on my photos!!! Big happy dance. Could someone in my family make sure Grandma sees some of my photos too?

Laundry should almost be done wow I love laundry service. I could have sat there and done it myself for 5£ and two hours or I could pay the lady 10£ and go do other stuff. :D brilliant.

I went and saw Alice in Wonderland last night....WOW...brilliant. I'm so glad I went and saw it and reallly enjoyed it. I also ate at an awesome Mexican restraunt so all in all it was a great evening. Now just to figure out the radiator in my room so that it becomes less sauna like and my life would be perfect.

Going to figure out some plans for the next few days but will probably visit the V&A museum this afternoon. Tomorrow I'm meeting up with a fellow Cannuck to get into some trouble. Then I think Saturday I'll book a bus tour of Shakespeare country and tour the birthplace of Shakespeare, Oxford university and his wife's home. I really enjoyed the last tour I took.

Well I have run out of things to say and time to say it in, so stay tuned till next time.

Southern India Pictures


Well I'm back in London but I need to catch you all up on my time in Paris. I took the Eurostar to Paris and back and have to say that it is an amazing way to travel very relaxing, easy to do and quick. Much nicer than flying. I got into Paris fairly easily figured out which metro station and train I needed to get to my hotel and actually got there fairly easily. My hotel was really a pleasant suprise. My single room had a king size bed, a mini fridge and a nice bathroom much better than I expected. I also had free wifi access which was nice but only had my ipod to use with it so it was a pain for typing long things.

I was really enjoying just wandering around Paris. I went to the Louvre to see the special exhibit of Russian Orthodox art and artifacts which was stunning. I went to the Musee de Orsay and have to say if you don't have much time and want to see some beautiful art while in Paris go here rather than the louvre, it is much smaller so you can actually see everything in an afternoon and it is just as stunning and has equally famous paintings. I also spent a day just wandering from store to store starting in Montmatre and ending down by the river, it was really nice and good map reading practice for me.

Then I went to Disneyland Paris, BIG MISTAKE, going alone to a disney park was horrible. I got sick on the first and only ride I tried to ride (it was a very tame ride so I was embaressed too) and I just felt miserable and alone. I ended up with a migraine I think from trying not to cry. I ended up going back to my hotel tired, upset, sick and miserable to curl up with my stuffed penguin for a good cry. For some reason being surrounded by happy families and couples really bothered me, perhaps being that this month is one year from losing Armin. Perhaps it was the reminders of what I lost, perhaps it was just a bad day. For whatever reason it was a disaster of a day but I did find some quirky gifts for my brother in laws and I got a set of tigger ears.

The last day in Paris I slept in due to the headache and then got up and due to their being no more room in my luggage decided not to revisit some of the awesome places in Montmatre :D so I stayed in the neighborhood I was staying in a ways out of the centre of Paris and I went for a long walk. I really enjoyed seeing regular people doing regular things and it really cheered me up. I also enjoyed one last crepe and cider at my favorite little cafe.

Have to say I love Paris but I hate feeling so isolated, my french isn't up to conversation level so I don't understand what's going on around me and can't strike up a conversation with people around me. That was really hard. For a while it was okay but after a while it wears on you.

So that was Paris the good and the bad.

Friday, March 12


warning this post will have no punctuation and typing errors because this blasted french keyboard has all the keys in the wrong places and no apparent shift key

so im back in france and its lovely the weather is cool but pleasant the hotel im in is sooo me very funky but nice i love it

having some trouble speaking french it keeps getting garbled with German
which confuses everyone

been sampling the wine unfortanetly i have no idea how much a centilitre is so ive been going to bed a little tipsy the past few nights ooops due to ordering too much wine with my dinner thankfully tipsy seems to help my french improve so perhaps i should drink more [sarcasm]

i visited the louvre today and did some shopping at an amazing craft store bought way too much ribbon

tomorrow is monmatre shopping and a visit to musee orlay

sunday im going to the gregorian mass at notre dame cathedral

then monday and tuesday if i need a second day i will be disney park bound

that will bring me back to london on wednesday

well ive got to go before i throw this keyboard across the room in frustration, i may not update this again until i am in london unless i find another keyboard

Monday, March 8

Pictures from Nothern India

Goodbye India Hello London

Well I'm now in cheery old England and so glad to be here. It's cool spring time weather here (THANK GOD) and I'm feeling much more like myself. I arrived last night after flying here through Dubai. Didn't see much of Dubai but I was so excited to have a burger at the Burger King in the airport....beef never tasted so good. Tonight I'm totally going to find some place that serves either steak or roast beef. It's still novel to be able to drink tap water and brush my teeth without bottled water. I'm looking forward to salad with fresh veggies for lunch. I mailed 18kg of stuff home to my parents which includes lots of fabric from India so now I'm back to travelling light which is a relief. I've also dropped all my stinky clothes off at least the ones that survived India some of my clothes just didn't stand up to the extreme heat and the beat on a rock laundry techniques used in India so they didn't move on. Today's agenda is to resupply my clothing and toiletries and pick up my laundry after I get my photos uploaded. Tomorrow I've booked myself onto a bus tour of Stonehedge, Windsor Castle and Bath including pub and tea stops :-D it sounds very nice and they pick me up right at my hotel. Then Wednesday I board the Eurostar and go on to Paris for my week there. I have to admit I am enjoying and feel more at home in Europe than I did in India. It's nice to blend in and be annonymous somewhat. I also love my little tiny hotel room, I'm in Kensington Gardens which is right by Notting Hill and Hyde Park area. Also near Kensington Palace where Princess Diana lived for you royal watchers. Well not much exciting news or anything just a quiet catching up type day. Working on getting photos uploaded while I'm typing this but it's slow going and there are a lot of them so it might be a 3 post kind of day.

Revenge of the Geckos

Okay so I totally forgot to address the subject of my last posts title. In southern india Geckos are everywhere and tolerated (perhaps encouraged) to come indoors because they eat bugs. However, I DO NOT LIKE GECKOS!!!! In fact they creep me out. However after two weeks of geckoey goodness I have reached the point where I no longer scream and I even shared my shower with a gecko (ewwww) but I still move my bed away from the wall because Merriette assures me they can't jump. I draw the line at sleeping with a gecko. I don't know why they bother me so much but they really do creep me out especially indoors. I can appreciate that they are helpful in getting rid of bugs but so are screen doors and windows....something no one here seems to have. Sigh so geckos are my new friends even if I don't want them to be. It's okay you can laugh at me, I can handle it. Everyone else on the tour already laughed at me for this especially the evening I was sitting on my bed while Merriette was showering a Gecko ran full tilt down the wall scaring the crap out of me so I girlie screamed....Merriette nearly drowned laughing at me when she established I wasn't in immediate danger. Oh well could have been worse one of our tour mates opened the door to their room at our homestay to find a snake....thankfully not a poisoness snake but still a snake. Suddenly Geckos don't sound so bad.

Saturday, March 6

Attack of the Geckos

Wow these two weeks have flown by I'm now just minutes from the airport in Kochi in a hotel for tonight before I fly to London tomorrow. By this time tomorrow I'll be in a heavenly cooler place. I have loved Southern India except the heat.

Mamallaporum was great, I skipped the bike riding and instead walked around town and to the beach, swam in the hotel pool and joy of joys got my clean clothes back. The next day we went to Pondicherry the town with the most french influence in India where we got baked goods :D mmmm chocolate croissants. We also saw the salt flats. We spent the night in Madurai where we toured the Ghandi museum (amazing I was moved to tears), the banana and vegetable markets, the handloom "factories" and yet another temple by bicycle rickshaw. I'm not enjoying the southern temples after seeing such grand stuff in the North but to the temples we go. The best part is the temple elephants who will bless you for 5 rupees...blessing means they put their trunk on your head and snuffle....hehehehehe people pay 5 rupees to be an elephant kleenex....I shouldn't make fun of their beliefs but it is kind of funny.

We went to Trichy where we saw yet another temple on our way into the mountains to Peyirer. Peyirer reminded me of Banff in a lot of ways very touristy but nice in a beautiful setting. We did a 3 hour jungle "walk" aka the death march in the morning looking for animals.....14 people don't move quietly enough to see much animal life so it was pretty but kind of boring. Then I had the best experiance I RODE AN ELEPHANT!!!!!! It was awesome her name was Lakshmi and we went for a 20 minute ride through a spice garden she was pretty and it was so cool to be on an elephant. I have pictures of this to prove I did it! Then we went to a real showpiece of a spice garden where I saw spices and fruits and flowers growing I'd only seen in grocery markets or exotic boutiques back home. I learned a lot and after that we went to a families home for a cooking lesson which was really fun and I learned even more about Indian cooking here in the south.

Then we went into the backwaters of Kerala to a small small town where we did a homestay. It was wonderful the family was amazing, we had a great local guide to talk to us about life in the backwaters, politics, and rice growing. We canoed and sang local songs as we went along. This morning we sailed up the backwaters to our bus and then arrived in Kochi to finish our tour. Lots of sad goodbyes again today the hardest being goodbye to my wonderful roommate Merriette. She's put up with me for the past month and we made an excellent team here in India. The people I've been meeting have all been amazing, these tours have been great filled with amazing people who come from interesting places. I have a whole list of things to see while in London from all the british people on this last leg of the tour which will keep me busy while there.

Of course the shopping has continued and tonights task is to try and stuff everything in and condense it somehow to get on the plane. :P but then in London I'll be shipping a bunch of it off to my Mom's place to await me there.

Well I'll have more internet time in London but I'm hungry and supper calls. One last curry before leaving :D