I took this photo the other night at Newport on the Levee
Upon arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam from Vientiane, Laos, it seemed I had entered an alien land! A city of concrete…jumbled wires…a sea of motor scooters blind to the traffic lights…mass chaos with purpose…face masks creating a barrier from the dusty city…an assault on the senses with smells and colors. Pure insanity!!
The seven of us, on this tour through GAP Adventures, were instructed on how to cross the street. To walk–not run–to keep walking–that the drivers would go around us. I felt like a duck on a shooting range. Luckily, I have a spiritual grounding and realize that there are some things I have very little control over.
After being separated from the group while shopping that evening, there was a moment of sheer panic! I didn’t know the name of our hotel. The Tour Guide had given the information to everyone–when I was in the restroom–so I didn’t receive it. But I found my way to the meetup spot…whew!!
I made arrangements to spend the night on a boat on Halong Bay in the China Sea and said my ”goodbyes” to the group!
At $68 for the entire excursion–it was a small price for such serenity and beauty!
I went kayaking…
Had a nice glass of vino!
Although I had a six hour layover in Nagoya, Japan‘s airport, on my way home to Cincinnati, I had plenty to keep myself occupied with there. It was a destination onto itself, with over 60 shops and restaurants and a spa!
Upon arrival at the airport, I met a girl named Andrea who had been teaching English in Hanoi for four months and was so fearful of crossing the street that she decided to move back home to Canada.
We went to the Spa together. The women had their own hot tub, cold dip, sauna, and steam room area with a view of planes landing and taking off. We didn’t have our bathing suits, but the other women were naked so…when in Rome. It makes for a great story…”Naked in the Airport”!
This is Andrea and I at the Airport in Japan.
I returned home on Christmas Eve. I hope you had fun following my adventure!
- Hanoi (j8packages.wordpress.com)
- Ha Long Bay — in’SPIRE’ing and ‘MIST’ical – Halong Bay, Vietnam (travelpod.com)
Hiking Machu Picchu is one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences and I enjoyed every moment of the three and 1/2 day, 27 mile hike! I was traveling with 10 other fellow adventurers on a G Adventures trip in May of 2009. We had visited the absolutely breathtaking Lake Titicaca and were on an all day public bus ride to the beautiful and vibrant town of Cusco, which is located about thirty minutes by train to the start of the Inca Trail hike. Typically, we traveled by private van, but this trip was an exception.
The road to Cusco from Lake Titicaca is very curvy and mountainous. Unfortunately for the other passengers, I had intestinal problems. The bus was swaying from side to side along the twisting roads and the restroom was small, dark, and void of toilet paper. I couldn’t avoid the imagined glares from passengers as I had to utilize the facilities a few times that day!
For the previous two weeks, we had gradually risen in elevation within Peru, which is a good thing when you’re going to hike the Inca Trail. Altitude sickness can strike young, old, fit or not…so if you can acclimatize…all the better!
Cusco reminded me of Europe. Cobblestones, narrow streets and history everywhere!
One of the most unusual ways of life I have encountered so far in my travels, has been the pre-Incan Uros people who live on 42 islands in Lake Titicaca. These islands are man-made out of reeds by the residents. The … Continue reading
One of the highlights for me while traveling through Egypt and Jordan with GAP Adventures in 2009, was sleeping in the desert with the Bedouin people. Upon arrival to the camping area in the desert, we dropped our gear and made our way to the main dining tent for dinner.
We shared the tent with a group of Dutch people on pilgrimage. They were the subdued, quiet ones on the other side. We were the loud, fun-loving group on our side. I actually spoke to one of the women to try to get the groups to mingle, but to no avail. After a delicious meal, a few traditionally dressed Arab musicians entered the tent and one of the men began dancing and beckoned us to join him. Feeling like a gypsy, I rose and began dancing, feeling breathless, having been seduced by the aromatic incense wafting through the air combined with the rhythmic melody. Others began to join us and soon we had a party going! I was having such a good time…I didn’t get any photos! (the above photos I found online…but they are of the same or very similar camping spot)
The following day we took a jeep ride through the desert and I asked if I could drive. The Bedouin driver “Mohammad” agreed to allow me and kept telling me what a good driver I was as I careened over sand dunes. I wonder if the 4 passengers sitting in the open bed of the truck felt the same way after being jostled and bounced around…possibly fearing for their lives!
I love this photo I took of the “Siq”, which is the mile long walk before arriving to the area called Petra, where all of the carved buildings are. You are surrounded by towering walls of stone on either side as you walk.
We hiked for two days throughout Petra…it was amazing! Walking to the main entrance of Petra, I met a couple of 25ish men. I discovered that one of them made his living taking people for rides within Petra on a donkey. After a few minutes, he began flirting with me and wanted to take me to his “cave” on a date. I told him I was married…but that didn’t faze him. Throughout the day, I would see him and he would wave.
He gave me the tip of walking down a few steps for the photo shown below…so you don’t see the throngs of people! These buildings carved into stone were simply unbelievably beautiful! They were massive!
The Treasury, Petra, Jordan…(Raiders of the Lost Ark filmed here)
A fellow traveler took this photo of me carefully crossing a very narrow ledge while hiking in Petra…whew!
Beautiful Children of Jordan
Children have such an exuberance for life…an openness…that I wish more adults could keep!
Another unique experience we had was going to a Turkish bath while in Jordan. The steam room resembled a cave and we were instructed to sit in the steam for 20 minutes…to then exit and be doused with cold water by a squat, muscled man in swim trunks…repeating this process three times…then to lay on a cold marble slab while he scrubs you with a mitt (ouch…that hurt)…pours cool water on you…slathers oil all over…massages roughly for five minutes and you’re done!!
Here is a group shot of us at the “Dead Sea“…the mud from the sea detoxifies your skin and makes it baby soft! And you really do float in the Dead Sea!
I hope you enjoyed the trip!
- Daily Daydream: Petra, Jordan (daydreamsandshoestrings.wordpress.com)
- Arabian delight: Step into Petra’s past and discover a rose-red city half as old as time (mirror.co.uk)
- Research unearths terrace farming at ancient desert city of Petra (phys.org)
- Exploring Petra: The mountainous Monastery (ontheluce.com)
- Terrace Farming at Petra! (rogueclassicism.com)
- The Lost City of Petra (renainthesun.wordpress.com)
- Getting to know Jordan’s Bedouins (travelwithkat.com)
- Ancient Traces of Terrace Farming Found Near Petra (livescience.com)
This photo is of the back of the Citadel, which was originally built during the 12th Century to be a fortification…a wall surrounding Cairo, but was never completed. It is now a preserved historic site, with mosques and museums.
We wandered through the Khan Al Khalili bazaar. It was an endless maze of sidewalks filled with little shops, selling clothing, jewelry, anything you could think of. It was so colorful and intriguing!
There had been a bombing one month prior to my arrival…a French girl died and others were wounded. Of course my family thought it would be too dangerous to visit…
Our hotel at Mt. Sinai was very nice and the pool looked inviting…but it was too cold to swim. I think the scenery was so simply stark and beautiful!
I was so happy to be able to climb to the top of Mt. Sinai. For those of you who don’t remember the significance of this area. According to the Bible, it is where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.
It took about 3 hours to reach the top and it was timed so that we could see the sunset. The temperature change was amazing. By the time we reached the summit, it was freezing. We waited about 15-20 minutes to witness the sunset…with my teeth chattering uncontrollably…I’m asking…do we really want to see the sunset?? It was pretty…but we then ran down the mountain, partially in the dark, in about 30 minutes.
I loved this Greek Orthodox Chapel at the top.
The following photo is St. Catherine’s Monastery, which was built in the 6th century and is the oldest continuously functioning Christian monastery in existence. It is built on the site of the original burning bush.
Cats were everywhere!
This little girl was selling jewelry on the beach…but only five people were on the entire beach! We couldn’t speak to each other, but you don’t always need words to communicate. I took her hands and swung her around and around…and we laughed!
Next we’ll explore Indiana Jones’ territory…
- A trek through egypt (photos.mercurynews.com)