April 01, 2005
Aqaba is a town right on the red sea. It has the usual Movenpick, Radisson hotel targeted towards the package tourists but it also has number of small reasonable 2-3 star hotels where you can get room for 10-12JD. The night life is not that smashing. I came here mainly to dive and to visit Wadi Rum which is about 70Km from Aqaba.Continue reading "Aqaba and Wadi Rum"
March 31, 2005
Took a mini-bus from Amman to Petra (Wadi musa) it takes about 3 hours to reach Wadi Musa. On previous day had received recommendation for CleoPetra Hotel in Wadi musa. It certainly is a nice place for 9JD, including breakfast and free drop-off & pickup from Petra entrance.Continue reading "Petra"
Crossed over from Israel into Jordan. Getting visa and security check was a breeze, compared to Israel of course. After you are finished with visa, there is taxi stand with fixed prices to Amman. It took 21JD for three hour ride to Amman. I had met a British woman that works for Reauters at the border crossing and we decided to split the cab ride to Amman.Continue reading "Amman, Jerash & Ajlun"
March 29, 2005
The drive from Eliat to Jerusalem is really nice and the buses were very comfortable. Although just before boarding the bus a guy in plain cloth did ask me for my "papers". He was in plain clothes so asked him why then he showed me some kind of ID card, later I saw a gun behind his back. But funny thing was he asked for the papers just from me, not anyone else boarding the paper. The guy from UN in Sharm had warned me -- you will find Israeli officials to be extremley racists, you look Arabic you will be stopped many times, so this was first taste of it.Continue reading "Jerusalem"
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After about 5.30 hours journey from Sharm I arrived at Taba border crossing. There is about 10 min walk from where the bus drops you off on Egyptian side to the Israeli side. Arrived at Israeli immigration at 2.15PM so I felt good that I should be able to catch last bus to Tel Aviv at 5.00 from Eliat.Continue reading "The border crossing"
March 28, 2005
From Luxor took a 18 hour bus to Sharm El Sheikh, as I had heard great things about diving in Red Sea. Many people I met had mentioned Sharm to be a great place. The town of Sharm El Sheikh is built for the European package tourists, and prices are extremely high. I first checked the budge hostel recommended by LP but it was bit too dirty -- even for my taste ;) so went around few hotels in Nama bay and found one hotel which was not completely open but still had good rooms, swimming pool right in the center. I paid $25/night which is high by Egyptian backpacker standard but most rooms in Sharm start at $40.Continue reading "Sharm El Sheikh"
March 27, 2005
The sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor takes about 9 hours, it leaves Cairo around 7.40PM and arrives in Luxor at 5.00AM. The train compartment look exactly like the James Bond movie. I shared the compartment with a British guy, who has worked in Luxor for last two years restoring Colossi of Memnon and doing research. So it was a great to talk to him about things to see and miss. One advice that he gave me that was useful was to avoid hours 10AM to 1PM in main temples like Karnak, Luxor because that is the time loads of tourists buses come visit. I took his advice for next two days and hardly had to deal with any crowds at all. The train ride itself was okay not very smooth, but the train does have bar to help you get good sleep.Continue reading "Luxor"
March 22, 2005
Arrived in Cairo around 4.45PM. There isn't really any place to to hire a pre-paid taxi from the airport to the city, the tourist information place was also closed for some reason. I took some money out from the ATM in the airport and headed out and had first session of haggling in Egypt witht the taxi driver. After bringing down the price about 50% we started making our way to Cairo. The taxi looked like it could fall apart any minute, same with the cab driver, who kept coughing all the way but didn't stop smoking over the 25 min cab ride to the town. On the way noticed there were police, army guys standing every 10 meter, it was because The President was coming home from somewhere.Continue reading "Cairo and surroundings"
March 08, 2005
The LP India does warn people that you will either love this place or fall madly in love with this country. I really did not understand what they meant, but at end of one month I think I get it. I would never hate India but neither will I ever love this place. One could summerize India as-- country of missed opportunities and a building Powderkeg.Continue reading "Indian Impression"
I stayed with family in Mumbai and after few days there made my way to Pune. It was nice to see there is now actually expressway to Pune and it takes about 3 hours to reach Pune instead of 4-4.30 hours. Again bus ride was not a joy I paid 160RP for ticket, guy next to me paid 140RP for the same ticket and person across the aisle paid 120RP. This for the same bus and exact same start and end points. Again you have to f-ing haggle every step of the way when in India. There is no such thing as honesty in this place.Continue reading "Maharashtra"