Phil and Annie West and Central Africa 2009


Phil and Annie West and Central Africa 2009

Middle East » Syria October 30th 2010

After a long drive from Amman we crossed into Syria. We camped at the new Kaboun camping ground in Damascus. We set up and went to bed and straight on to Lebanon the next day. We 12 of us started at dawn and we went to Baalbek which must be the best preserved Roman site which we have seen. It is very compact with 3 temples but amazing. Then after a great lunch buffet it was on to Beirut. This a a very European city-mostly rebuilt but some great sights including the American University, old city and of course the infamous Holiday inn still a shell riddled with bullet injuries. On again back to Damascus. We spent a pleasant time exploring the covered Souk and enjoying coffee,mosques and generally enjoying this friendly city. Roman ruins again ... read more
Syria Damascus Souk
Syria Damascus Souk

Middle East » Jordan October 30th 2010

Yet another border crossing-into Jordan. We left Dahab by ferry to Aqaba a 4 hour trip which took 12 hours. The journey was pleasant- relaxing playing cards in our own lounge.Alate night entry to Jordan and on to a "Bedouin Palace" and sleeping by the pool. We drove on to Wadi Rum and camped in the full moon amongst the magnificant hills. Annie and I climbed a hill and consumed a bottle of wine. There was a trip into the desert as well.On to the reason for Jordan -Petra. We spent a full day exploring the ruins. The treasury of course but the site had much more- very spread out. Temples,library etc etc. A truly magnificant day and no Indiana Jones.The next day we continued to Mt Nebo where we camped on the top. It was ... read more
Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum
Jordan Petra

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt October 16th 2010

After 12 days in Libya, we arrived at the Egyptian border.We spent 5 hours getting through immigration which was not bad. and we drove on to Masra Matruh where we got a beer supply and beached camped out of town in the desert. there was a bit of celebration -fuelled by alcohol.(after nearly 2 weeks of deprivation)The following day we drove on to El Elamein and visited the museum and war cemetry where the tide of the North African war was turned. Driving on to Alexandria we stayed at Hotel Triomphe and enjoyed 2 days where we dined and wined. The Monty bar at the Hotel Cecil was visited and appart from alcohol and the singer the history was interesting because Monty met with Churchill here to plan the next moves in the war. On to ... read more
Egypt Cairo
Egypt  Pyramids Giza
Egypt Islamic Souk Cairo

Africa » Libya » Tripoli October 16th 2010

Libya was our objective and we entered after several hours of immigration. We camped on the beach near Zuara and it was pleasant to relax swim and have an secret beer or two The marauding dogs were only a minor danger. We drove south the next day and went through Nazar and visited the Granary where for hundreds of years villagers have kept their grain for safe keeping.After a long day arrived at Ghardarmes and stayed at the YHA. This is a heritage listed village in the desert where the gypsum buildings and underground corridors are painted white and is a preserved bedouin area.In the late afternoon we climbed the large sand dunes out of town. After 2 nights we continued to Sabratha via another granary in Qasar al Hadj. This time a circular granary 3 ... read more
Libya Nazar
Libya Ghardarmes
Libya Sabratha

Africa » Tunisia » Tunis October 16th 2010

We flew from Algiers back to tunis and arrived in familiar terrain- confused and complicated visa on arrival proceedures-taxi scrums and soon we were back in old Maison Doree Hotel. We met the group we were joining and did some shopping-dinner out-early to bed and in the morning we were off on our Oasis trip-16 of us. The route took us west and south across areas we had not seen on last Tunisian trip. First to Dougga and a wonderful Roman Amphitheatre aqnd baths. These ruins were beautiful set in open fields and well preserved. We continued on to Le Kef where we stayed at the Hotel Sidi Venereum. (Hotel venereal Disease). This place is also interesting-There is a Medina-Kasbah on the hillsside on top of which is a great fort,synagogue and fantastic views of surrounding ... read more
Tunisia MatMata
Tunisia MatMata
Tunisia MatMata

Africa » Algeria » North » Algiers September 11th 2010

The flights from Kuwait were pleasant enough which is just as well ,since we went via Dubai and Tunis.After an overnight in Tunis and a close body search at the airport on departure, Philip's Tunisian money was confiscated. Those Dinars were only returned after some smart talking-no mean feat considering the conversation was in french. Pulled aside on arrival in Algiers,the luggage was singled out for close attention-the xray seeing something suspicious. Minus one pair of binoculars and a GPS we left the airport with a piece of paper to collect them on return. Then there came the tussle with the taxi drivers-No amount of haggle made a difference- Just a shrug of the Ramadan weary shoulders. What a beautiful place is Algiers-perched on the side of hills with roads winding down to the port and ... read more
Algiers Kasbah
Algiers George Hotel
Algiers Ike's Room

Middle East » Bahrain » Manama September 6th 2010

Flying on from Singapore(after the usual hours of waiting,Meal upstairs in food court with $7 Tiger beer) we arrived in Dubai and straight on to Bahrain. It was a smooth entry into the middle East except for the warnings about eating and drinking in public during Ramadan. A quick taxi trip and we were installed in the Landmark Suites in central Manama. Very comfortable and about 5 times the size of our Vietnamese rooms-Bedroom bathroom,kitchen,living rooms. There was no one on the streets during the day because it was 43 degrees and Ramadan. Most of the shops were closed. After the fast was broken each day at sunset it was more like a soccer match-thousands on the streets and every restaurant full until about 3 AM and the Mosques bulging and the ever present call to ... read more
Ramadan Skyline Bahrain
Bahrain Burial Mounds
Bahrain Tree of Life

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Khanh Hoa » Nha Trang September 6th 2010

Vietnam has a wonderful invention-The "open Bus" or sleeping bus which is a bus like first class in airlines. When you are ready to sleep ,you recline the bed to almost flat and wake up next morning fresh at the destination. This is how we left HCMC en route to Nha Trang. Arriving we were taken to "nice Hotel" by a motor cycle tout. This was a great choice-down backpacker alley on the 8th floor-all the extras and a beautiful sea view. Nha trang is the beach resort for Vietnamese. Thousands of hotels and restaurants and families galore. We spent 2 days here trying out seafood joints and enjoying the sunshine. We had the 4 island boat trip on one full day which was fantastic if a little bizarre. Heading off with hundreds of others we ... read more
Nga Trang
Nga Trang Boat Trip
Floating Bar Nga trang

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast September 3rd 2010

The final 24 hours were busy-cooking meals for Tom,sorting out house things-furniture moving and finally packing at 4AM and finishing at 0545 as Annie's mother arrived to take us to the airport.We were sound asleep as we took off and time for a few beers at the airport resort in Darwin and before we knew it we were in Ho Chi Minh City,arriving at 9.30 PM. It was straight to the backpackers district Pham Ngu Lao and Madam Cuc's Hotel 127. This place is really friendly and supplies breakfast and dinner with hot water,pvt bathroom ,wifi and satellite television-a bit expensive at $20 but I guess it is HCMC . We saw the usual sights,Reunification Palace complete with last US helicopter on roof,war Museum with lots of interesting history and grizzly photos etc. The motorscooter traffic ... read more
Hotel View HCMC
Last Helicopter out of Saigon

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City September 3rd 2010

As usual we are out of control,working counting down ,organizing the house ,our son Tom etc.because we are home only 10 days. we are excited of course-not only about the Middle East but also getting to Vietnam after so long. It has never seemed urgent because it is just there but now we will be the last 2 Australians to visit.... read more
Last minute prep

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