Sunday, January 4, 2009

Trains, Planes and Camels

Kevin's a much better blogger than me (for all that he hasn't updated his training blog in more than a year), so he's uploaded some of our pictures to Flickr already.


Here we are on the 29th (just hours after we arrived in Egypt), on the way to see the pyramids at Giza. (There are more pictures in his Flickr account.)

It turns out that camels aren't as comfortable as they look (and they don't look that comfortable, do they?). They're really unstable, and when they stand up or knee down, you tip all the way forward or backward (or both).

Since riding the camels, we've spent a couple of days in Cairo (the highlight for me was the Egyptian museum, which has mummies, plus most of the artifacts from the tombs and other archaeological sites that haven't been taken to museums abroad. Kevin's favorite was the Coptic Museum, which has illuminated manuscripts.), one day in Luxor (where the Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple are, an interminable train ride back to Cairo (an overnight train, but there weren't any sleeper train tickets left when we bought ours, so we tried to sleep in sitting up... guess who was reasonably well rested the next day and who was exhausted)), then a long, grimy day which ended near Petra, Jordan.

By the next morning, it was January 3, and I needed to be in Jerusalem first thing in the morning on the 4th (that would be this morning), so we only got to spend a couple of hours in the park at Petra. Nowhere near enough time, but also completely worth the wacky detour.

Then the windiest, curviest, hilliest drive (fortunately, someone else was driving) to the Jordan-Israel border, and surreal, deserted walk across the border from one set of guardhouses to the other (I'd expected the Israeli border guards to be intimidating, but we were so clearly non-scary, confused American tourists--despite our strange itinerary--that they were very nice... also it was a Saturday and the crossing was deserted, so they may have been bored).

And now we're in Jerusalem, and I've every finished 25% of my in-country work (I'm trying not to think about the report I'll have to write once we get back to the US...).

(I finished a whole slew knitting, mostly during the US driving tour: the last minute sweater (for my sister Rachel for Christmas), a pair of baby socks (for E), 3 baby hats (1 for E, 2 for shower gifts), baby mittens (for E), an adult hat (for charity), and I feel like I might be forgetting something. I abandoned that knitting bag at JFK, and moved on to my trip knitting, and now I'm about 3/4 of the way through pair 33.)

4 comments: said...

So glad you posted. I was getting worried, especially not knowing where in Israel you would be and seeing the news isn't all that comforting. Let me know when you get back so we can get together and you can tell me all about the trip!

bookwoman said...

Camels may not be very comfortable, but now you're one of the group who can say you've ridden on one.

Stay safe through the rest of your tirp.

Baby Beth said...

I'm so glad you're safe. I have to agree with Jenn, when news broke about Israel marching into Gaza, I thought of you since I didn't know where you were gonna be...I mean, I knew it wasn't gonna be Gaza, but still. I hope you're able to do some site-seeing. Israel is so beautiful. Again, I'm jealous. :(

Anna said...

Nice to see you posting from abroad. :)

Hope you'll have a great stay in Israel and that work stuff goes smoothly.