Egypt: Giza & The Pyramids

Leaving Lebanon was pretty funny. We were sitting in Zahle drinking a smooth bottle of Arak, and a genius idea popped up to get the next flight to Cairo. So next day, headed back to Beirut, jumped on the net, $200 later we had paid for a ticket to Cairo. Done & done.

But, when we got to the airport a few hours later if turned out that we didn’t have a ticket as the transaction hadn’t processed. Luckily the flight was only half full and we picked up a ticket (for $10 less too) and took off to Cairo with our good friends Egypt Air – along with a gigantic block of cadbury’s fruit & nut chocolate 😉

I hadn’t flown since landing into Sofia, Bulgaria, and that’s a small city. So the flight into Cairo was pretty amazing, the place is huuuuge!
Unfortunately I couldn’t get a night time glimpse of the pyramids.

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Giza. The metro ride out to Giza was probably the most excited i have been since getting some lovin’ months ago! £1EGP pound for the metro and £1.25EGP for the mini bus later there I was, standing in front of the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza!!!!

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Woah! I spent most of the day with my jaw dragging around on the sand and taking hundreds of photos of the same thing 🙂

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£60EGP entry fee to the area around the pyramids and sphinx, then £100EGP to get inside the Great Pyramid (a.k.a Cheops/Kufu). Unfortunately my camera was taken off me so couldn’t sneak any photos in, but Anobel managed to sneak his whole DSLR and tripod in and gave some entrepreneur inside some backsheesh to get a few shots off.
It was an amazing feeling to be in the King’s Chamber. Not the hieroglyphics i was expecting, but blackness and an empty granite sarcophagus and a whole lot of headroom.

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I managed to get bitten on the back of the head by a camel after it’s dickhead of an owner tried to force £10 out of me. Yes, there are a lot of people to want you on their camel or themselves in one of your photo for a little backsheeh.
The guards and folks running the place are really friendly and helpful. Go Cairo!

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Did I mention construction was completed in 2560BC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I would love to have seen these monsters back in their hay day!

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MORE… here.

Tomorrow, The Egyptian museum.

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Syria: Damascus

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I finally pulled my camera out to get some snaps in Damascus.

There is so much going on in this city – you could spend weeks just in the old city i think.

I’ve been pretty busy working with Anobel going around shooting interviews and cutting the clips as we go. So there is my excuse for not having a great deals of photos.
The stories we hear from the Iraqi refugees each day are heavy to say the least. I won’t go into any details just yet, but everyday I go back to my hostel in awe of the atrocities that these people went through and I think I have a new found respect for the society I grew up in.

Today I was walking through the old city on the way to Bab Touma to get a van to Jaramana when I walked past a camel meat shop – run by some young guys – from the photos on the wall that it is a business that’s been in the family for quite some time!
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The healthy chef & team running the restaurant near Anobel’s place in Jaramana:

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Iran: Yazd

After a afternoon bus from Esfahan, about 5 hours, I made it to Yazd and to one of the more cool hostels I have stayed in – The Silk Road. If u ever come here make sure u give this place a look. Cheapo 40,000rial/night dorm beds to some apparently nice “proper” hotel rooms. The best part about the place is the friendly staff and a very chilled out courtyard open area, where u can sit around, drink tea & pretend beer, meet other travellers.

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Funny story, when I stayed at the Amir Kabir hotel in Esfahan the staff advised everyone to be careful of some snatch & grab people in town – they burn along on their motorcycles and rip ur bag off u. Well i didn’t see anything anywhere close to this. The funny part is that when i arrived at the Silk Road I met the girl who this security advice has risen from! Poor young Australian girl Yolly! Yolly was unfortunate enough to have her bag with passport, cash, camera, ipod etc.., nabbed from her!

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Yolly, Tobi & I were fortunate enough to meet Bez, an Iranian dude who’d been living out of Iran for the past 23 years in Hungary & Australia. This dude loves Australia. We met Bez in Dakhmeh, Yazd, whilst checking out the towers of Silence – great view from up there!
Bez & his cousins invited us to come to their place in Maybod the next day, to drink a little Iranian vodka and get a taste of uni life!

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We ended up making it to Maybod – driving way to fast through a heavy sand storm, took a little tour with Bez and his cousin Amir around Maybod and then spent the night at Amir’s place with his uni mates playing table tennis, playstation and talking about all things Iran. Interesting to get the well off uni student pov on things. And very cool to drink some Iranian vodka! How naughty! Apparently it is ok to drink, just only in ur home, and u have to smuggle it around in a water bottle from Tehran.

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What else did we do in Yazd? Well the plan was to do a ‘desert tour’, but most of the travellers said it wasnt really worth the 210,000 rials, and i figured I will hopefully get to see some real sandy desert when i get over to Egypt/Jordan eventually. Hmmm, what did we do?… Walked around the old city (getting invited in for tea and a view from the roof of one family), ate a camel burger, drank tea and waxed philosophical about life & religion – what else to do when there’s no real beer around.