Travel Memories transformed into Photo Paintings

One of the many things I love about travel photography is that when I look at a photo from a trip it brings back that exact moment to me in perfect clarity, the excitement of seeing something new and beautiful…aromas wafting through the air…the breeze caressing my skin…foreign sounds creating curiosity!  Here are some of my travel memories edited with software that take me back to that moment…

Halong Bay, Vietnam – 2009

The view from a boat I spent the night on, very much like the one I captured here…

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Vieng Vang, Laos – 2009

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Petra, Jordan – 2009

Reaching “The Treasury” in Petra, Jordan while hiking…

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A young girl begging while hiking for two days in the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra…

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Peru – 2009

Spending three weeks exploring Peru, this little girl and her baby Llama…

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Reaching Machu Picchu, Peru, after 3 1/2 days of hiking at high elevation…

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Cairo, Egypt – 2009

An old man at the Pyramids in Egypt pointing “the way”…

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A chaotic, but every day life scene from Cairo…

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Africa – 2012

A beautiful village woman in Zambia, Africa while on a 35-day Overland Truck Adventure through six countries…

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Men from the Masai Mara tribe in Africa…

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Path to the Baobab tree in Africa…

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Fethiye, Turkey – 2015

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Istanbul, Turkey – 2015

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Antigua, Guatemala – 2016

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Love the bright colors!

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Near San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – 2016

Horseback riding…

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Roatan Island, Honduras – 2007

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Our world is amazing and I’m leaving tomorrow to explore eight more countries in Eastern Europe…I’m so excited!

I did it!

Last night I gave an hour-long presentation on a trip I took to Egypt and Jordan back in 2009, to a Travel Meetup club I belong to!  Although I was a member of Toastmasters for a while and gave a few five-minute speeches, this was a great accomplishment for me.  I wasn’t that nervous and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  It probably helped that there were only 9 people there…but for me it was a great feeling!  My Powerpoint presentation had 120 photographs that were shot with a point and shoot, but I recently bought Lightroom 5, so I doctored them up some.  Now I can’t wait to give presentations on my other epic trips…Peru…SE Asia…and Africa!

To avoid the worst of traffic, I left my house early to drive to Covington, Kentucky, where the event was held, so I had some extra time and decided to practice my photography.  These two photographs are of the Cincinnati skyline at sunset.

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Here I am in the venue before the presentation.  I love the architectural elements of the building…the high ceilings, beautiful woodwork, and large windows.

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When you face your fears, anything is possible!

 

Do we really want to see the sunset?

The 18 days I traveled through Egypt and Jordan with GAP Adventures in 2009, were filled with adventure, excitement and wonder.

Our group of 14 people from across the globe, typically traveled by private van, but we did take a night train from Cairo to Aswan.  Here is a map of our route…

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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 I loved this Greek Orthodox Chapel at the top.

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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!

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Our last stop was  Nuweiba, Egypt before boarding the ferry to cross the Gulf of Aquaba to Jordan…this was the beach area where our hotel was located…it was eerily deserted!

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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!

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Next we’ll explore Indiana Jones’ territory…

More “Hubbly Bubbly” please!

Riding a camel in Egypt should be on everyone’s bucket list!  Although it was a unique experience, once is enough.  Having ridden on a donkey and an elephant, I discovered a camel is more awkward and uncomfortable.

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Your Egyptian experience is also not complete (in my opinion) unless you partake in smoking some “Shisha” aka “Hookah” aka “Hubbly Bubbly“!  A few of us…the restless rebels…would stay up past bedtime…drink Turkish Coffee and smoke the flavored tobacco!

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We spent one night sleeping on a felucca sailboat on the Nile River.  After dividing into two groups of about 7 each, we boarded separate boats for our adventure.  It was quite obvious they split us according to age.  The other boat held the 25-34 age group and our boat was the 35-65 age group.  What’s interesting to me, is that the “restless rebels”, as I mentioned earlier, consisted of the older age group.

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A separate boat called the “service” boat was available for mealtimes and use of the bathroom.  The “restless rebels”…stayed up after the others went to bed and were talking on top of the service boat when it became noticeably windier.  Out in the distance a huge black mass was approaching quickly…

when we queried the workers, they said it was a sandstorm.  The sense of danger and exhiliration resulted in an immediate rush and feeling of…aliveness!  We were engulfed in sand for a few minutes.  I still remember the sand pelting my skin, leaving a tingly feeling.

We rode donkeys to the Valley of the Kings and if you wanted your donkey to go faster you would say “hopa hopa”.

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My donkey liked to go fast…just like me…and every time someone else would say hopa hopa – my donkey would run.

I raced one of the guys and almost fell off.

The Karnak Temple is located in Luxor, Egypt.  The entire complex which spans 1 mile x 2 miles, was built over a period of 1300 years, beginning in the 16th century BC, and is the largest ancient religious site in the world.  The last three photos are a portion of it…

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Next installment tomorrow!

Dirty Dancing…Egyptian Style

My first impression of Cairo was of a dirty, polluted, congested city with very aggressive drivers.  Most of the buildings had re bar sticking up, so they could continue building as they saved enough money.  The “Travel Channel” doesn’t prepare you for the reality of  experiencing a culture so very different than your own!

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It was a country of contrasts…the call to prayer echoing through the streets…five times daily…sexually suggestive noises and gestures…the desert…the lush tropical Nile valley…ugly buildings…beautiful colors of the spices & fabrics.  It was an amazing trip!

I booked the trip through a company called GAP Adventures, based out of Canada and met my fellow travelers the evening I arrived in Cairo, in March, 2009′.  There were 4 Australians, 4 Americans, 3 Irish and 3 Canadians.  Learning about their lives and countries over the next couple of weeks was an added bonus!

The weather varied from the 40’s in Mt. Sinai to the 90’s in the Wadi Rum desert of Jordan.

We spent the first day in Cairo and then took the 12 hour night train from Cairo to Aswan,  stayed for three days and then traveled for 2 hours by private van to Luxor.  After two days there we took the night train back to Cairo.

To avoid paying a single supplement GAP will pair you up with a roommate, but on this trip there were no other solo females, so I had my own room in the hotels which was nice because they were usually quite small.

I’m not much of a museum person. When I travel I’m most interested in the people, the landscapes, the culture and the activities.

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On the train ride back to Cairo, I went to the club car where you could purchase snacks/drinks and encountered an eclectic group of travelers.  While attempting to make conversation with a man from Japan, one of the waiters tied a towel around his hips…jumped up on a table…and started gyrating to the music…picture an Arab Elvis!

If you’ve ever been shopping in Mexico…the salesmen hawking their goods in Egypt are far more aggressive!  Being the fearless female that I am, one morning in Aswan, I set out on my own to shop.  Some of the men would make odd noises as I walked by…sort of a clucking noise with their tongues.  I dressed conservatively…but I think they have a distorted opinion of western women…probably from T.V.

One of the issues we encountered were the private shopping stops and pre-arranged restaurants. We decided after eating quite a few “not so good” meals to venture out on our own and the few times that we were able to do that – the food was much better. We assumed that there are kickbacks to the tour guide for bringing people to their shops and restaurants.

We risked our lives walking two miles…crossing five lanes of speeding… horn honking…Egyptian drivers…who must have inhaled too many Turkish coffees…to reach a French Restaurant called “Le Bodega”.  It was worth it…the food was excellent!

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I didn’t get sick with intestinal problems …very vigilant with my disinfectant wipes…and I didn’t eat any vegetables that weren’t cooked.

The Kissing Camel

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More later…