Sunday, August 24, 2008


August 18:
We spent the entire day sightseeing in the "Rose Red City" (made famous in Indiana Jones). It is quite an amazing place. An entire city carved out of a mountain. The buildings were absolutely beautiful. We had to hike quite a distance up to some of them, and I have never climbed so many stairs in my life! We were sore for days after.

Brendon and I rode camels, and it was quite fun - but I thought it was a little bit scary since you are so high up and the ride is very bouncy. Brendon is sitting sort of side saddle here and he convinced me to try it - I decided instantly I didn't like it because it felt much less secure than riding straddling the camel. But before I could move my legs back to the more secure straddling position Brendon gave my camel a kick in the hind end and it started galloping. My backpack flew off and I bounced all over the place holding on for dear life!! The owner of the camels ran after me panicked and Brendon thought the whole thing was hilarious. I nearly died in a camel accident! Come to find out my camel was a racing camel - built for speed - not like the other camels that are just used for toting tourists along.

The stadium
This is the famed Treasury that most people would recognize. I was in awe of how large it was in real life.

Brendon has more pictures on his fancy pants camera of Petra, and we can't download those here on this computer - so we'll share more pictures at the end of our trip. Apologies in advance that they'll be out of order of our blog. :)

August 19:
My birthday! Brendon surprised me by arranging Turkish baths at our hotel. The spa was closed, so he convinced them to open it privately just for us. After we left our hotel we drove back to Amman, Jordan (so pleased with ourselves that we were able to decipher the map and all the Arabic names of streets) and flew to Jerusalem where Kyler gave us a quick tour and we had crepes for my birthday treat.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


We are currently in Israel, but I thought I would try and take some time to blog about the first two countries we visited. First up - Egypt.

August 12:
We finally arrived in Luxor after a series of long flights. The first night we went to Karnak Temple for the Sound and Light show.

August 13:
We rented bicycles and biked to see the Colossi of Memnon, the Temple of Hatshepsut, Medinat Habu, and The Rammeseum. We intended to see the entire Valley of the Kings, but after biking in the Egyptian August heat we were dead! This was the day we drank 12 liters of water between the two of us.
Hatshepsut's Temple
Medinat Habu
Colossi of Memnon
We had lunch at our hotel's restaurant before crashing for our afternoon nap . The food in Egypt was delicious - and unbelievably cheap - but not always easy on the tummy.

August 14:
We hired a driver for the day to take us to Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. Unfortunately we couldn't take pictures inside the tombs - and I can't really describe how beautiful they were. They were brightly colored and very ornate - and it is just amazing to me that the paint is still so vibrant after many thousands of years.Outside King Tut's tomb

We took a felucca ride on the Nile. It was quite relaxing to get away from the hubbub of the city - there is always someone pestering you as a tourist to use their services or buy their product. A few minutes after our relaxing Nile cruise started we heard a young girl screaming from her rowboat. As we got closer we could hear what she was screaming at us, "Hello! Hello-give-me-money!". Over and over and over. Ha!

Luxor Temple

August 15:
We took the sleeping train from Luxor and woke up in Cairo. Not a bad option if you don't mind feeling like you are crawling with germs. :) After checking into our hotel we explored the city and went to the Egyptian Museum. Again, no photos inside - bummer. Inside we saw the Rosetta Stone, and a million gazillion Egyptian artifacts (they have such a surplus of artifacts that they are just piled hidden in corners and overflowing), and my favorite - the treasures found in King Tut's tomb.

August 16:
Spent in bed recovering from food poisoning we think - as noted above that the food was hard on the tummies.

August 17:
We spent the day exploring the pyramids. We went inside the Great Pyramid - but we couldn't take pictures inside. It surprisingly wasn't at all decorated like the tombs were, but it was still very neat to be able to climb around inside. The pyramids really are a marvel and a sight to see! Overall Egypt was quite amazing. Hotter than freaking hot (thankfully Jordan and Israel have not been as hot), and quite dirty and loud, but filled with some amazing sights!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sabah El Kheir

We are on our second full day here in Egypt, and tonight we leave Luxor and take a sleeping train to Cairo. Unfortunately I can't blog any pictures yet - but maybe when we get to Brendon's cousin's house in Jerusalem we will be able to upload and share a few. As for now...I struggled figuring out which button said "log in" in you'll just get the basics ;)

Some musings about Egypt so far:
*It is HOT! We have never drank so much water in our lives. Yesterday between the two of us we drank over 12 Liters! And we never have to use the restroom because we sweat it all out!
*traffic laws seem irrelevant or non-existent; bicyclists, pedestrians, mules, camels, busses, motorcylclists, and cars all weave in and out of each other straddling lanes and cutting each other off. There seem to be no rules.
*Egyptians seem to LOVE their horns! They honk every 30 seconds it seems.
*Egypt is cheap! It is costing me $.60 to use the internet for one hour. Our hotel is only $5 a night, and peddlers try to sell us scarves for $.20.
*People sleep on any surface here. Everywhere we go there are grown men, women, and children sleeping on the sidewalk, in the gutter, in the shade of the cars on the road.
*Everyone carries guns here like it's no big deal. Lots of men have rifles and don't seem to be wearing a uniform or have any official reason to have them.
*Everyone wants a "baksheesh" (tip). They force themselves on you to give you directions, or explain a hieroglyphic, and they follow you around waiting for their handout. They are quite aggressive here.
*Even the cats look Egyptian. Ha! They are skinnier and hairless almost, and they totally look like I would imagine an Egyptian cat would look. Sometimes they hang around your feet at outdoor restaurants waiting for scraps.
*The food is pretty good. We discovered we love banana juice and lemon juice (not at all like lemonade)!
*The prayer call sounds LOUDLY five times a day. I think the first time it goes off is sometime around 5 am and it is absolutely impossible to sleep through it. It's so wild.
*Egypt is colorful! I love that. The cars and the houses and the clothing - it's all so bright and happy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bon Voyage

Tomorrow morning bright and early (4 am!! it's actually probably not bright yet!) we go to the airport for our little adventure this summer. We are a little anxious, but mostly just super excited for Cairo, Luxor, Petra, Jerusalem, Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini! I'll try to be a better blogger when I return and blog about the trip as soon as we return!

Bull Riding

Saturday night Brendon and I went out with some of my best friends from high school. We had dinner at a great little Italian joint, then after dinner we went country swing dancing. It took a little prodding...but we convinced Brendon to ride the mechanical bull. He was amazing! He stayed on so much longer than anyone else there. All 6'5" of him looked pretty tall up on that bull!

Ride 'em cowboy!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


This week Brendon purchased a Canon Rebel XSI. He's always been interested in getting into photography, and I convinced him that our upcoming trip is the perfect excuse. I am excited for him...I think photography is an awesome hobby!


Sometimes, when you live on a go to wash your face...and you put your face down into the sink to splash water on it...and you open your eyes and this is what you see:

Sometimes you scream because you're caught a little off guard by the frog in your sink (or the toilet... or the shower...those things get everywhere!). And you beg your husband or dad to get it out for you so you can finish your beauty routine. (I know...I'm embarrassed that as a tough farm girl I am still a little squeamish around creepy crawlers).

My other close encounter happened last week when I was running. I decided to go along the perimeter of our walnut orchard, that borders with rice fields. I was just running along minding my own business when I heard the stalks of rice shuffle around and I looked up to see a SKUNK less than 6 feet in front of me. The skunk was obviously threatened by me and was standing stick straight with it's tail raised ready to spray. My heart jumped out of my chest and I turned around and ran the other way. Thankfully I escaped unscathed, but that really got my heartbeat racing. Smelling like skunk for a week would not be fun!