Monday, November 28, 2005

jazz hands

The past two weeks have really flown by. I've been running our Egypt to Jordan tour and today I start our Jordan to Egypt tour. 30 days back-to-back. Very full on. And very not about sleeping.

I had 3 Americans on tour this week. That brings the total up to 4, after having been working here since February. If it weren't for them, I probably would've forgotten about Thanksgiving. Considering Turducken isn't en vogue here yet.

I forgot my camera in Cairo, which I'm totally bummed about. Firstly, because this is my last time in Jordan before I get transferred to Morocco (woohoo! January!) - I wanted to finish all these necessary Jordanian pictures (Especially the portrait action at the exchange place. The dude that works there has a Kmart-esque snapshot of his crazy-eyed daughter sitting on some faux sheepskin nonsense. But instead of leaving it at that, he cut out 2 pictures of Saddam Hussein's head, and pasted them above his daughters head, so that the pictures are looking down on her. Oh, Saddam, won't you be MY guardian angel?). Secondly, because yesterday while at Petra, approximately 30 university-age Jordanian girls (some in burkhas, some in an understated hijab) creamed their pants in front of me. I was rocking a huge zit on my chin, but them ladies were all about their low-res cameraphone pictures. And their shreeks! I thought my eardrum was going to pop. I found the experience totally embarassing and ironic. If I were really about the cootch, I'd be the father of many Jordanian children by now. But alas. I wish I had visual documentation of these festivities.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

whatever happened to peace in the middle east, ya'll?

Yeah yeah yeah, I'm alive. Dodged Amman blast. Was in Cairo. Missed all the action. I'll be back there in two weeks and will be sure to document Al Qaeda's havoc.

Maybe Jordan will get those snazzy hotel metal detectors that all the Egyptian hotels have. And maybe they'll come included with guards that sleep on the job, too. See Alexandria for a visual on this high security phenomenon.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

ashabee

These are the people I spend most of my time with here in Egypt. My friends!

Waheed. He keeps trying to convince me that its fantastic without plastic. Charming, huh?


Omar preparing his sheesha. Quite possibly the skinniest man alive. Don't thank God, thank the Ganga!

Muharram. He grows the gangah that makes Omar so svelte.

My felucca boyfriend, Mahmoud. That's a catfish.

Ramadan and Mahmoud, giving me a hot rub down. It's all about not having yellow teeth in this picture.

Dee, a fellow tour leader, and I on Mt. Sinai. Note her headlamp.

This is Eid. He's a bratty 12 year old that lives in the desert. He hates it there, he dreams of getting out and into a big city.

This is Farag! He's absolutely crazy. He led me and my group on a 2-day desert trek. I felt we were in very capable hands. Capable and so very dry -- someone please buy this boy a bottle of Nivea.

I don't really know Ibrahim that well. But I want to, because of his sport. He hunts eagles with this bird that he has in his hand. He tried to explain it to me, and I understood what he was saying, but it makes no sense whatsoever. All I know is that his bird gets to wear a fierce hat as it hunts.

Mostafa is a new edition to the felucca family. He cooks really well (ie. doesn't use a cup of salt in everything). Plus, he makes ME sound like a good singer.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

hmmm

Laura and I went to Jordan for two weeks. She was training me - teaching me the in's and out's of the country, so that I could lead my own tour there in a couple weeks. I liked Jordan. It's a very civilized country. A country where people aren't always beeping in your ear as they drive buy. A country where they don't try to grab your ass on the street. A country where people don't always have their fingers lodged in their nostril. It was a welcome change.

Unfortunately, we had some of THE most annoying people on earth on tour with us. Only one woman really needs to be mentioned. We nicknamed her Boob Rot. She was constantly lifting up her shirt and clawing at her bra-less breasts. I don't know if she had developed a nasty fungus up in there or what, but I was astonished. She was travelling with her 'pretending to not be a lesbian' galpal. They would just winge and winge and winge. My favorite part is when she got mad at Laura because the sunset too fast.

She wanted Laura to have the bus pullover for a picture of the sunset. The sun was already half covered by the mountain below it and the bus was on a small, wind-y, one-way street. Needless to say, the sun just wasn't waiting long enough for us to pull over in a safe spot, and it dropped behind the mountain. Gurl had a trantrum in the form of the biggest eye-roll I've ever seen.


This is Laura in Wadi Rum:


We took a fab jeep safari after:

And swung by Petra:

Laura took a moment to chill with the local color. Note the teeth on this woman. And no, Laura isn't missing an arm:

This is the Monastery. It's a good 45 minute climb to get to the top. Look at the tiny people at the base. It gives you a good idea of just how large the place is. Crazy to think this was created hundreds of years ago without machinery.

Me, in the Dead Sea doing a mud pack (on the Jordanian side of course, wouldn't want to risk that nasty Israeli passport stamp). I felt smmmooooth:

I know it sounds weird, but I've never been able to float on my back before - just my stomach. So, I found it very exciting that no matter how I arrange myself, the 33% salt content would keep me on top of the water. That's me, reading the Jordanian guidebook.

Then we went to a Roman city. The weather in Jordan obviously isn't as good as Egypt.

Our camelmen. They are Beduoin. There are only about 5,000 true Beduoins living in Jordan (out of a population of 7 million). These are the real Jordanians - now Jordan is mostly Palestinian refugees:

These Bedouins are still semi-nomadic. They haven't settled into brick buildings yet. This is one family's tent:

We swung by Dahab on the way back. This crazy girl gave Laura a fabulous up-do:

Laura, her up-do, and Mohammed: