Journey Into Ancient Egypt, Part 2: Along the Nile River

As I alluded to in my previous post, the story of ancient Egypt was predicated by the rising and setting sun. The east bank, where the sun rose, was the side of birth. The west bank, where the sunset, was the side of death.  All the Ancient Egyptian pyramids and tombs were constructed on the west side of the Nile River.  The Nile River may have not played a central part in Ancient Egyptian spirituality, but it was the lifeblood of Egypt. The fertile soil along the banks of the river made it easy for towns to form and helped build civilization. 

We left Luxor as the sun was setting so the rest of the day was spent taking photos and videos. The scenery along the Nile was gorgeous. I went back and forth focusing my camera between the setting sun’s reflection on the water and the mountains. Its reflection gave the mountains a salmon-colored hue. The contrasting colors of the dry desert mountain and the lush riverbank lined with date palm trees was a breathtaking sight - a scenery that nev…

Journey into Ancient Egypt, Part 1: Luxor

One of the more popular ways to travel in Egypt is to take a four-day or five-day cruise from Luxor to Aswan or Aswan to Luxor. We embarked in Luxor, where we were able to visit the Karnak Temple and Luxor temple, Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut Temple, the Colossi of Memnon, and visit more temples along the way such as Edfu or Horus Temple, Kom Ombo until we reached Aswan. In Aswan, we visited the Philae Temple, the High Dam, and the Granite Quarries. I think it’s safe to say that most cruises have pretty much set itinerary because our boat was docked parallel to six other boats in the same port at one time. So, we had to walk through 6 different lobbies to get to our boat.

Glad that I took the Luxor to Aswan route for it was in Luxor that I saw the brightest and the most beautiful sunrise. The sunrise was a great introduction to the story of Egypt and the sites I was about to see - from the East Bank to the West Bank of the Nile – a real journey into ancient Egypt.

Karnak Temple …

Egypt: The Pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza

The Great Pyramid of GizaWho said you can’t climb the Great Pyramid? Well, you can go inside the Great Pyramid and climb more than two hundred very narrow steps to see the spot where Khufu, the most powerful ruler of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, was interred for all eternity. I paid an extra 360 EGP for the experience or so I could claim I climbed the Great Pyramid. Seriously, I wanted to make the most of my visit to explore the last surviving wonder of the ancient world.

At 146.5 meters (481 feet), the Great Pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for nearly 4,000 years. Constructed between c. 2580–2560 BC, it was covered by limestone casing stones. It was impressive to see the beauty of the structure from the outside and to hear our guide talked about the astronomical and engineering principles behind the structure. For example, the sides of the pyramid are precisely aligned to the cardinal points of the compass. The triangular shape entrance, which is no longer accessi…

Chichen Itza

The last two times I was in the Yucatan Peninsula, I visited some Mayan ruins but not Chichen Itza - one of the new seven wonders of the world.  Last month, I had the opportunity of visiting Chichen Itza while in Cozumel. So I looked into joining a tour to Chichen Itza from Cozumel, but the only tour available was a flight tour that cost almost $500.00.  It was not affordable for me so I left the tour desk disappointed.  But as I walked into an elevator, I overheard someone talked excitedly about his impending tour to Chichen Itza. So, I asked if he was going on a flight tour. 
He said, “No, I’m going by bus”. 
My immediate reaction was, “What? there’s a bus tour from Cozumel?” 
Luckily, I was able to get on the same tour for a fraction of the price. Our day began with a forty-five-minute ferry ride to Playa del Carmen, and a two-hour bus ride (not really a big tour bus, but a van) from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza. As part of a small group, I did not have to deal with the entranc…

Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Climbing Dunn's River Falls

I had the most fun climbing waterfalls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. At 180 feet high and 600 feet long with clear and very light blue waters that flow through travertine terraces or giant natural stairs and empty into the white sand beach and aqua blue Caribbean sea, Dunn's River Falls is one of the most visited natural features of the country.

My original plan was just to take photos of the waterfalls and hang out at the beach later, so I was not totally prepared.  When I found out that climbing Dunn's River Falls is one of the most famous activities in Jamaica, I could not pass up on the opportunity to experience it. Although I was wearing my swimsuit I did not have water shoes, which was one of the requirements for climbing the falls.  But as they say in Jamaica, "No problem man".  On the drive to Dunn's River Falls, our driver pulled over so we could buy water shoes from a vendor on the roadside.

I did not find out until we were in the park that we would get totally …

The Lost Caribbean

My first trip of the year is usually spent on active travel and getting back into nature. I spent a few days in the Caribbean snorkeling and walking in the rainforest in Honduras, river-tubing in Belize, and swimming with the dolphins and yes, with the 7-mile sandy beach and turquoise water of the Grand Cayman, it's sacrilegious not to spend time at the beach. Not much of story here, so I put together little videos shot on my iPhone.

Snorkeling in Roatan, Honduras Enjoyed walking through the Gumbalimba Preservation Park and saw lots of wildlife including monkeys, and colorful macaws, and plenty of iguanas. After interacting with the monkeys I spent time at Tabyana Beach, said to be the lost Caribbean, and snorkeled in the shallow clear waters with beautiful corals and plenty of fish.

River Tubing in Belize I joined a river tubing adventure in Belize. I expected a rough and invigorating adventure, so I left my iPhone and camera behind. As it turned out the water was soooo calm that…

Anchorage, Alaska: Exploring the Chugach

Exploring the Chugach Locals often say “it’s only a 20-minute drive to nature from Anchorage”.  Anchorage has access to one of the biggest state parks, the Chugach State Park and Chugach National Forest. There are tons of hiking trails for all different types of fitness levels and there is something for everyone.

Here are some of the popular hikes and trails in the Chugach.

1. Bird Ridge About a 40-minute drive south of Anchorage is one of my favorite hikes. It’s about 2.3 miles one way and you gain a little over 3,200 feet of elevation. Though it is one the most challenging hikes it rewards you with instant views of the Turnagain Arm and surrounding mountains. Even if you only hike up halfway, you are greeted with 360-degree views. On this hike, you can view the bore tide which happens twice a day where you see one continuous wave cross the Turnagain Arm. In the summer, you can find locals surfing the wave. You will have to check tide charts to see when the bore tide occurs. 

2. Eag…