More Random Thoughts from the Middle East

Middle East
August 5th 2009
Published: August 5th 2009
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K-State Expansion: International Studies in EgyptK-State Expansion: International Studies in EgyptK-State Expansion: International Studies in Egypt

I swear I had nothing to do with this! We were strolling through the Old Market in Egypt and this shirt caught our eye. The other shirts in the kiosk had some random English, but not really collegiate wear. So strange. The next day, dad and I returned to the market to buy the shirt and, you will never believe this, IT HAD SOLD! Even Egyptians know a good thing when they see it!
Politics and religion effect everything: We quickly realized the "correct" names or borders depend on your politics in this part of the world. If we called the bordering country "Israel" we were unapologetically corrected with "Palestine." We purchased a few maps while we were traveling and noticed the political slant or ethnicity of the map maker determined the names of countries (particularly Israel/Palestine) or the borders (specifically the Golan Heights).

When we plan our trips, we consider some of our special interests or hobbies to help determine where we will travel. I want to see camels and Kyle wants to see fish. On this trip, Kyle went SCUBA diving in Aqaba, Jordan and Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt (Red Sea). He thought each dive was wonderful and wants to return to Egypt as soon as he can. It seemed there were people all over the area visiting solely for the purpose of diving. There is one dive that Kyle wanted to do, but it requires that you have 50 dives under your belt...or wetsuit.

Kyle first became interested in SCUBA diving in 1999 when we were in Aqaba, Jordan to celebrate the millenium. We had hired a glass-bottom boat
SCUBA Steve about to swim with the fishesSCUBA Steve about to swim with the fishesSCUBA Steve about to swim with the fishes

Kyle is getting ready to go on his first dive in the Red Sea. It was a reef dive. He was pleasantly surprised by how well preserved the reef was and how interesting he found it. Kyle is already scheming to return to the Red Sea off the Egyptian coast.
and Kyle borrowed some snorkeling equipment to be see a ship that had sunk in the Gulf of Aqaba. From that moment, he decided that he wanted to get certified. Shortly thereafter, his loving wife gave him lessons for Christmas. He became certified in an open-dive in Arkansas. He has been known as SCUBA Steve ever since! He has been SCUBA diving in the Middle East, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

It is illegal to use your cell phone while driving in Jordan and Egypt. That really didn't seem to stop drivers. We noticed that it is not uncommon for drivers to stop using their phones as they near checkpoints. They also commonly took off their seatbelts until they near a checkpoint or speed trap.

It seemed the sun sets and rises very quickly during the summer months in this part of the world. We also have not seen a single cloud since we left Kansas City July 15!

Summer is the season of weddings! We saw so many weddings--especially in Jordan. The day of the week does not seem to matter either--every night of the week is a good night for a wedding. A common part of the ceremony is for everyone to drive down the road with all the guests' cars honking and hazard lights flashing and stopping traffic. What a noisy mess!

Price of coffee: Damascus, Syria a little over $2 per cup; Ehden, Lebanon a little over $1.50 per cup; and Jordan under $2 per cup; Beirut, Lebanon 70 cents from local cafe

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


One of the big boys!One of the big boys!
One of the big boys!

This is a fuzzy picture of one of the many fish that swam right up next to Dad and I when we were "snorkeling!" We do not see any reason to put our face in the water if we can see the fish while just sitting or standing in knee-deep water!
Valeri snorkeling Crenshaw-styleValeri snorkeling Crenshaw-style
Valeri snorkeling Crenshaw-style

We saw over 30 different fish just standing and strolling in the Red Sea. The water was crystal clear. We were most excited when we were up-close and personal with a spotted blue ray and when we saw tuna leaping out of the water. We saw puffer fish, crocodile fish, banner fish, and others that I just named myself.
Forever a student...Forever a student...
Forever a student...

Taking in a little learning at the American University of Beirut. Don't be shocked if the teacher and the students look familiar to you...
It is never too late to learn...It is never too late to learn...
It is never too late to learn...

Soaking up the vibes at American University of Beirut.
True Street Food...Good EatingTrue Street Food...Good Eating
True Street Food...Good Eating

Valeri's favorite meal on the trip...falafal sandwiches, panini-style with lemon slices, tomatoes, mint and pickled things. The entire meal for all three of us cost around $4 (including fries and sodas). Delicious!
Bed and Breakfast in the Old City of Alleppo, SyriaBed and Breakfast in the Old City of Alleppo, Syria
Bed and Breakfast in the Old City of Alleppo, Syria

What a quaint and cozy rooftop place. Breakfast in the grotto was just as much fun.
Kyle's favorite dessert...Kyle's favorite dessert...
Kyle's favorite dessert...

Chocolate and banana crepes in Beirut. He ate these things all through Lebanon, but he found the best crepe maker in Beirut.

5th August 2009

Crepes and Studies
Yep. I know that Crenshaw gesture. Both hands thrown in the air when the teacher asks for an answer. Response by Roy: HOW SHOULD I KNOW?!? Chocolate banana crepes are also wonderful in Papeete, Tahiti at the Roulotte's. Little eating kiosks on wheels that are parked next to the beach every night and from which you can order about any crepe imaginable. I like Nutella and Banana crepes!

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