A Travellerspoint blog

November 2019

Amman, Jordan

City of Contrasts

overcast 22 °C
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Amman, the capital of Jordan, with numerous ancient ruins. Atop Jabal al-Qala’a hill, the historic Citadel includes the pillars of the Roman Temple of Hercules and the 8th-century Umayyad Palace complex, known for its grand dome. Built into a different downtown hillside, the Roman Theater is a 6,000-capacity, 2nd-century stone amphitheater offering occasional events.

So I was hoping that my shit experience with the people of Egypt was a one off, but nope, landed in Jordan today and the first thing I had to contend with was more dishonest locals. I am just about at the end of my patience with the Middle East and I am seriously considering leaving early and going back to SE Asia.
I was asked if I needed a taxi to my accommodation which I did, so I asked if they had a meter which they said they did, all good lets go. I also asked if we could stop at an ATM on the way which they said no problem. Long story short we end up at a service station in the middle of nowhere and them telling me I had to get into another car (which I noticed did not have a meter) so I refused. They gave me all the bullshit stories, bla bla and eventually I rang the hostel and asked how much a taxi should be, which he told me $22 dinar and they were trying to charge me $45 dinar. I then told them I would find another way to the hostel and refused to give them any money at all. When they kicked up a fuss, I just said call the police then and they got in their car and drove off. So I was in the middle of nowhere trying to figure out how to get into Amman. Eventually a guy called Redwan helped me get a bus which I got to the next stop and into Amman.
So 2 buses and 3 hours longer than expected, I have arrived, frustrated and completely pissed off with the Middle East, I just need to weigh up how bad I want to see the sites here. I know they say not to generalise as not everyone is dishonest but holy shit in my short time in the Middle East there is a huge amount of dishonest people here.
I read a blog from a guy that had been to Egypt and Jordan, his advise was if any of the locals try to talk to you, ignore them as they are trying to scam you. When I read it, I thought that was a bit tough, now I agree.

Do not believe what the internet tells you about Amman. They call it a modern city, haha, clearly whoever wrote that has never seen a modern city. The only thing modern about Amman is they have cars, roads and food, otherwise this place is about as backwards as you can get.
I got up at 6am this morning and found the hostel had locked the front door so nobody could get out until the owner/manager decided to get up at 6.45am. Good luck if there is ever a fire in the building.

So far I am really disappointed in Jordan. I am particularly surprised at how expensive accommodation and entry fees into sites are, Almost extortionate. The entry fee into Petra is $110 NZD and the locals pay $2 NZD. It`s about time NZ took the same stand as many other countries I have visited do. Just completely wallet rape all tourists so the locals get in free or cheap. The problem is in NZ we charge the same price for locals as for tourists so everyone gets slammed.
The hostel I am staying in was one of the cheapest I could find in Jordan, however, it is more than double I paid anywhere in Asia at $30nzd per night, not as clean, not as many amenities and a very average breakfast at best.
I have to admit, I am finding it very difficult to get excited about Jordan. The people are not nice, friendly or helpful. The streets are filthy and I don`t know what is good about the place really.

THERE ARE NO PHOTOS BECAUSE I GOT THE FIRST PLANE OUT OF THIS SHIT HOLE.

Posted by Geete01 05:40 Archived in Jordan Comments (1)

Luxor, Egypt

The Pharoahs Capital

sunny 32 °C
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Luxor is a city on the east bank of the Nile River in southern Egypt. It's on the site of ancient Thebes, the pharaohs’ capital at the height of their power, during the 16th–11th centuries B.C. Today's city surrounds 2 huge, surviving ancient monuments: graceful Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple, a mile north. The royal tombs of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens are on the river’s west bank.

11/11/19

KARNAK TEMPLE

Karnak is an extraordinary complex of sanctuaries, pylons and obelisks dedicated to the Theban triad but also to the greater glory of pharaohs. The site covers more than 2 sq km and is large enough to contain about 10 cathedrals. At its heart is the Temple of Amun, the earthly home of the local god. Built, added to, dismantled, restored, enlarged and decorated over nearly 1500 years, Karnak was the most important place of worship in Egypt during the New Kingdom.

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VALLEY OF THE KINGS

The Valley of the Kings is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom.
The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), within the heart of the Theban Necropolis. The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs are situated) and West Valley.

While here I saw the tombs of Ramesses 3rd, 4th and 9th, however getting pictures inside is extremely difficult due to the small space inside and also the stupidity and arrogance of most tourists to this area. I have been travelling now for over 7 months and visited many attractions in many countries but for some unknown reason, the tourists here were the stupidest I have seen. Maybe it was the heat, Hahahaha.

Ramesses 4th

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Ramesses 9th

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TEMPLE OF HATSHEPSUT

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, also known as the Djeser-Djeseru, is a mortuary temple of Ancient Egypt located in Upper Egypt. Built for the Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Hatshepsut, it is located beneath the cliffs on the west bank of the Nile near the Valley of the Kings.

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LUXOR TEMPLE

Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city of Luxor and was constructed approximately 1400 BC. In the Egyptian language it is known as ipet resyt, "the southern sanctuary".

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Overall the history in Egypt is completely amazing, however I am not sure I would put up with the chaotic nature of this country if it were not for wanting to see these sites.
I think I have love/hate feelings about Egypt. The roads and traffic are completely insane, they drive very erratic and arrogantly, just pushing their way through. They are constantly on the horn, it is probably the only country in the world that would have to replace a horn, hahaha.
I have had great experiences with the people but in my experience, generally they were trying to harass you to buy something, tell you lies about something or just trying to rip you off. I think visiting Egypt is completely exhausting always having your guard up and continually saying no as you are walking from one place to the next.

I was glad I visited but I think I would be unlikely to return.

Posted by Geete01 06:20 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

Aswan, Egypt

Ancient City of Swenett

sunny 32 °C

Aswan, a city on the Nile River, has been southern Egypt’s strategic and commercial gateway since antiquity. It contains significant archaeological sites like the Philae temple complex, on Agilkia Island near the landmark Aswan Dam. Philae’s ruins include the columned Temple of Isis, dating to the 4th century B.C. Downriver, Elephantine Island holds the Temple of Khnum, from the Third Dynasty.

I had booked a 5 day cruise on the Nile river and visiting the many historical sites in this part of Egypt. My trip from Cairo to Aswan was supposed to be about a 12 hour train trip overnight, however for no apparent reason became a 15 hour trip. Not to worry, I arrived tired and hungry but I arrived, haha.

8/11/19

ASWAN HIGH DAM

After being picked up from the train station about 2pm, I was whisked away to the first stop which was the High Dam. The Aswan High Dam was completed in the 1960s and is an embankment dam built across the Nile. Its significance largely eclipsed the previous Aswan Low Dam initially completed in 1902 downstream. Based on the success of the Low Dam, then at its maximum utilization, construction of the High Dam became a key objective of the government following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952; with its ability to better control flooding, provide increased water storage for irrigation and generate hydroelectricity the dam was seen as pivotal to Egypt's planned industrialization. Like the earlier implementation, the High Dam has had a significant effect on the economy and culture of Egypt.
It is also important to mention that the construction of the High Dam also caused the displacement of around 100,000 people that had lived on the banks of the Nile river. The story goes that the Egyptian Government gave them money to relocate but who knows.

There is not a lot that pictures will show but here are pictures looking at the Nile river side of the dam

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These show the Lake Nasser side of the dam

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PHILAE TEMPLE

Philae is an island in the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam, downstream of the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasse. Philae was originally located near the expansive First Cataract of the Nile in Upper Egypt and was the site of an Egyptian temple complex.
Philae dates back to the 6th Century and has been designated a world heritage site.

Approaching Philae Temple by boat.

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Following is a collection of pictures that represent the different parts of the temple that you will see. Hopefully it also gives you an idea of how large it is.

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This is from the other side as we were leaving the island.

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9/11/19

ABU SIMBEL

This morning was a ridiculous time to get up. We had to be up by 3.30am to meet the bus at 4am that would transfer us to Abu Simbel. It was about 3 hours by bus so a 6 hour round trip to Abu Simbel.

The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples at Abu Simbel, a village in Aswan near the border with Sudan. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 230 km southwest of Aswan and built by Ramesses 2nd.
At either side to the entrance of the first temple are 4 statues of Ramesses himself which are 20 metes tall.

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10/11/19

EDFU TEMPLE

The Temple of Edfu is an Egyptian temple located on the west bank of the Nile in Edfu, Upper Egypt. The city was known in the Hellenistic period after the chief god Horus, who was identified as Apollo. This temple is known to be the most complete temple in Egypt.
The entrance to the temple stands at 36 metres high and is quite imposing as you get closer. It is amazing they could build something of this size.

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Posted by Geete01 05:14 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

The Black and White Deserts

Desolate but Beautiful Western Sahara

sunny 27 °C
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When I was speaking to one of the staff at the hostel I was staying in Cairo, he mentioned the black and white desert tour. Even with all my research on places I thought I would like to visit in Egypt, I had never heard of these deserts, needless to say I was intrigued.
After spending a few days in Cairo, I was over the constant traffic that a city of 20 million people generates, so got some more information about this tour into the Western Sahara.
Essentially these deserts are two separate ares in the Sahara desert about 30 minutes apart by car. They are so different it is hard to believe that they are in the same overall desert, however both are beautiful for their own reasons.
I took a 2 day 1 night tour that cost 1800 pound or $175 NZD and this included transfers to and from Cairo by car (about 5 hours each way) lunch then dinner (in the white desert) on the first day. Breakfast the next morning in the white desert and the tour guide who spoke very good English.

4/11/19

THE BLACK DESERT

I was picked up at the hostel in Cairo at 6.30am to start the tour. There were also 1 guy from Japan and a couple from Portland, Oregon. To be honest a 5 hour trip from Cairo to the meeting place in the desert (where we were transferred to our guide and 4 wheel drive) was a bit tedious but there is no other way of getting there. At the meeting place we were served lunch first then after getting a couple of bottles of water sorted, we were off to the first stop which was a fairly large hill in the Black desert, after climbing a fair way up you get to see a good sized area that gives you an appreciation of how large the desert is. After seeing nothing but beige coloured sand for the whole trip it was surreal to see areas of very dark charcoal sand that appeared to be a completely different area or country even.The cold spring. was our next stop Literally it looked like a small concrete swimming pool outside a bedouin stop for the locals, that serves food and tea.

This is the meeting spot where we met our guide and had lunch.

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Hill in the Black desert which we climbed up the side for a better view.

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Looking down from the side of the hill. You can make out the 4 wheel drive in the middle of the picture. The hill is higher than it looks.

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Black Desert pictures

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The cold spring that we visited in the Bedouin area. It was strange to see so much water in a desert. They were also able to keep a small area that they grew vegetables.

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THE WHITE DESERT

Near the end of the first day we were transported to the edge of the White Desert for some sand boarding and to watch the sunset, which is quite early at around 6.30pm. The pictures below are where we arrived at the beginning of the White desert, the hill for sand boarding and the sunset on the first day.

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After experiencing the amazing sunset we made our way to the camp site in the White Desert to have dinner. The camp site is just a thin mattress, sleeping bag and blanket on the sand. The guides prepared our evening meal and cooked chicken over an open fire. After dinner they made a pot of bedouin tea, which is normal black tea with fresh mint and a small amount of sugar. It was a fantastic experience to be so far away from civilisation. The night sky with the stars and the peacefulness is hard to explain.
I also happened to be in the right place at the right time as after we had all retired for the night a fox happened to walk through our campsite and sit down about 5 metres away from me, unfortunately it was to dark to get any clear pictures.

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5/11/19

WHITE DESERT & CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN

Got up early this morning to see the sunrise. I think it was just as beautiful as the sunset last night. After spending about an hour waiting for the sunrise we had breakfast before heading out to see the sites of the White Desert

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My bed beside the campfire to keep warm as it got down to 14 degrees overnight.

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Breakfast.

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The White Desert. It looks as if you are on another planet. The stone is very soft so constantly gets shaped by the wind and sand.

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CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN

This mountain is completely made of Quartz crystal. You could spend hours here just looking at the different shapes and colours. We were only here for about 20 minutes but it was amazing to see this in the middle of nowhere.
Hopefully these photos give you an idea of the amount of quartz crystal there is here.

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The last stop before heading back to Cairo was another spring in the desert, however this one was a hot spring. Apparently it is 45 degrees so in the middle of the desert is way to hot to get into. I forgot to mention that most days here are between 28 & 31 degrees and this is their winter.

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Posted by Geete01 02:00 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

Cairo, Egypt

Largest City in Africa and the Middle East

sunny 27 °C
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Cairo, Egypt’s sprawling capital, is set on the Nile River. At the centre is Tahrir Square and the vast Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities including royal mummies and gilded King Tutankhamun artifacts. Nearby, Giza is the site of the iconic pyramids and Great Sphinx, dating back to the 26th century BC.

31/10/19

ARRIVED IN CAIRO 6PM

Ok, so a few issues after landing in Cairo. 1. The money machines at the airport would not let me withdraw cash (found out my bank had put a block on the card with no notification or explanation). 2. One of my flip flops missing from my checked bag....awesome. First job tomorrow, new pair of flip flops.

1/11/19

My first day in Cairo and the city is completely chaotic, although the weather is nice, only 25 degrees. Now when I say chaotic, I have never seen traffic like it in my life, there is so many cars. It is like Vietnams motorbikes but with cars. They make lanes where there is no lane. Example, on a four lane road, all four lanes will be full of cars and then other cars (presumably because they can`t be bothered waiting) drive between them, literally on the painted lines. So on a four lane road you might have 5 or six rows of traffic.

Could not get flip flops as Friday is a holiday in Egypt, ummm, Ok.

CAIRO MUSEUM

Located in Tahrir Square, the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, the remainder in storerooms.

This place is huge and there is so much to see, it is hard to explain how many artifacts and history is inside one building. You could spend a whole day here easily and still not take it all in.
The only negative is the people for more than one reason. 1. They are unbelievably arrogant and rude. 2. They let their children run wild. Probably the most feral kids I have ever seen (and I have witnessed some shockers in my travels) and the small ones constantly scream, not sure why but it is bloody annoying. 3. There is just too many
I ended up leaving the museum earlier than expected for these reasons but I still spent over 3 hours there.

Back to the positives. It is 100% worth seeing this museum as it has artifacts dating back to 4000 BC. The pictures below are just a few of the many I took They would never all fit on this blog.

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Holy Shit, no pun intended, Toilet spoons found with face paint? First of all what are toilet spoons and second face paint made with.......eeewww.

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These swords were very large. I imagine you would have had to be fairly strong to be carrying one of these into battle. They were roughly just over 1 metre long.

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There was no information about this old Egyptian boat.

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These are quartz arrow heads... Ouch!

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Apparently the Egyptians used to also mummify animals. These crocodiles where nearly 7 metres long.

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2/11/19

THE NILOMETER

The Nilometer was used to measure the level of the Nile river. The structure consists of a measuring device, or a graduated column sitting below the Nile's water level, reached by steps that curl around the chamber housing the column. If the water dropped to a low level, They would expect drought and famine; if it rose too high they could predict flood and disasters.
The water level would also be used to work out the tax the authorities would levy on the people. If the Nilometer indicated the harvest would be good they raised the taxes.

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Inside the Nilometer looking up at the ceiling.

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Looking down into the shaft of the Nilometer. The water from the nile river would flow into this shaft based on the level of the river. The higher the river the fuller the shaft.

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3/11/19

PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

The Giza pyramid complex, also known as The Necropolis, is the site on the Giza Plateau in Egypt that includes the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure, along with the Great Sphinx of Giza. They were all built during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.

The site is at the edges of the Western Desert, approximately 9 km west of the Nile River in the city of Giza, and about 13 km southwest of the city centre of Cairo.
I have always imagined the Pyramids to be situated in the middle of the desert, however they are actually very close to the city of Giza as you will see in the photo I took from the city looking back towards the pyramids.

THE GREAT PYRAMID

Construction is believed to have been finished around 2560 BC and this pyramid wad built over a 10 - 20 year period. Initially it was 146.5 metres high and was the tallest man made structure in the world for over 3800 years. Each side of the base also measures 230 metres Originally it was covered by limestone casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure.

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THE PYRAMID OF KHAFRE

This is the second tallest and second largest pyramid. I found this one to be the easiest to get pictures of because of it`s position on the land. The construction of this pyramid was completed around 2570 BC. It was originally 143 metres tall and measures 215 metres at the base.

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THE PYRAMID OF MENKAURE

This is the last and the smallest of the 3 main pyramids that you will see in the necropolis. This pyramid is definitely not small but appears small compared to the other two. Constructed around 2510 BC and originally measuring 65 metres tall and a base of 102 by 104 metres.

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THE GREAT SPHINX

Facing directly from West to East, it stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the pharaoh Khafre.
Cut from the bedrock, the original shape of the Sphinx has been restored with layers of blocks. It measures 73 metres long from paw to tail and 20 metres high from the base to the top of the head and 19 metres wide at its rear haunches. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the pharaoh Khafre 2558–2532 BC.

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TOMB OF SESHEM NEFER THETI

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Oh shit, wrong turn, nothing but desert, hahahaha

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A lone plant in a sea of sand.

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Some random pictures from the Necropolis today

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OVERALL

Cairo is completely insane. Ridiculous amounts of traffic that continually honk their horns. People constantly trying to sell you something in the street and not the cleanest of cities as they just throw litter on the ground wherever they are.
This is definitely not a city I enjoyed but unfortunately you need to base yourself here for a few days to see the sights that Cairo is known for and is central to

The currency here is nice and easy to convert to NZD as it is roughly divide by 10 to get the NZD. The 10 pounds is $0.97 NZD, the 50 pounds is $4.86 NZD and the 200 pound note is $19.42 NZD

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Posted by Geete01 07:25 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

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