Sunday, January 11, 2009

alligators in our hotel room!

Isn't this adorable? The housekeeping staff at our hotel make new towel sculptures everyday and so far this is the best. The shirt is Annette's soccer jersey/pj top and the eyes, nostrils and teeth (unpictured) are made of tissue or something.
I am writing to you from Hurghada, Egypt on the Red Sea. Rahima and Annette are taking a scuba certification course here for the first few days of our trip in Egypt. Today I got to tag along on the boat with them while they dived among coral reef. The boat was comfy, and much more interesting then the town itself. It is a resort town and it is low season, so there are very few tourists and lots of plasticky tourist shops. It's hard to dodge the people trying to sell you stuff because there aren't very many tourists. Another bizarre thing is that there are hardly any Egyptian women walking around. I think I've seen 5 since we arrived. It sort of creeps me out. Where are they?

Here's a photo of Annette and Sarahima in full gear.

SCARY!!! You'd think this method would work, but I am still smoking, as are most of the Egyptians. When we went to the little cornerstore and to buy a sim card at the phone shop, the shopkeepers offered us a cigarette to be polite. It is a little surreal to smoke in the market while chatting/shopping for snacks.

Pretty bottles in a window.

What do you call this thing? A minaret? Anyway, prayer music blasts out of it three times a day.

Here are some photos from my 8 hour layover in Amsterdam. This building was designed by the same guy who did the Pompidou Centre in Paris. It looks like a ship, but it is not.
Underneath is a shot from the canal tour I took.
My plan was to walk around Amsterdam while I was there but I was so freezing cold and exhausted from the overnight flight that I only managed to eat some soup and walk one block. Then I saw the canal tour and took it. I had to go back to the warm airport afterwards and take a nap. The Amsterdam airport is possibly the nicest airport I've ever visited. Definitely the place to be if you have a long layover. They have a hotel inside the terminal which you can rent by four hour increments which has it's own bathroom and a real bed (I definitely would have taken a nap there if I had seen it in the beginning) and lots of shops and restaurants with decent food to distract you enough to keep you awake.

We will spend two more nights in Hurghada to finish the scuba certification, then we are heading south to Luxor and Aswan, then back to Cairo to visit the pyramids, then to Alexandria to visit Rahima's aunt, then probably we are leaving Egypt. We're not sure yet what the plan is... we were supposed to go to Israel but I'm a little gun shy these days, so we might go to Jordan and I'll just pop over to Israel long enough to catch my flight out of Tel Aviv.

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Cities I've Visited