Archive | May, 2012

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Cat Tales: May 2012

Posted on 31 May 2012 by brett

LIfe Back on the Road!

LIfe Back on the Road!

Ahhhhhhh…. back on the road! 

In the rear view, a much needed break was in order after 115 long hot days around Southeast Asia. Although Kevin’s death is hard to accept, it brought together several hundred people. We have a renewed appreciation for life, friends, family, and our world travel plan. 

We’ve read several books this year spanning fantasy, non-fiction, business and spirituality. One special book called A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
was recommended by our friends Jeff & Neda. The book is written by Eckhart Tolle, “the most popular spiritual author in the United States”. For me, his perspectives on the human thought process resonated like no other. The gist is to train yourself to an always conscious “ego-less” state of being.

Awakening our Minds!

Awakening our Minds!

I’ve found myself over-thinking stuff to where unconscious thoughts “hijack” my life. I’d worry about past conversations, interactions, missed opportunities, etc. Then, forge a personal profile (ego) and an unconscious vision of my future. I felt trapped in everything but the present moment. This isn’t to say I haven’t done a decent job enjoying life, because I definitely have! The point is, there is so much more to just experience “being” than one can imagine with the unconscious mind. Basically, the past is the past and the future is completely unconscious thinking. His suggestion for coping with unconscious or stressful moments is to say to yourself, “this too will pass”. Continue Reading

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Jerusalem, the “Holiest City”

Posted on 30 May 2012 by brett

Old City, Jerusalem

Old City, Jerusalem (Israel)

If you haven’t visited Jerusalem, go! I am still hitting myself for not going until 36 years of age. There is a special feeling in Jerusalem hard to describe…. and I’m not saying that because I was raised Jewish. One super interesting discovery (of many) is that Old City is one square kilometer and consists of only 36,000 residents. An astonishing 72% are Muslim (26,000), 6,000 Christians (17%), and 4,000 Jews. Of the Christians, 2,000 are Armenian. The city is divided into four quarters: 1) Muslim 2) Christian 3) Jewish 4) Armenian. We wondered why a country “Armenia” has its own quarter? The answer is that Armenia was granted its space because it’s the only country 100% of one religion, Christianity.

Wailing at the Western Wall

Wailing at the Western Wall

With so many religious types, it’s truly amazing that Jerusalem chugs along in harmony. All we hear on the news is about Israel’s struggles to keep peace with the Islamic world. Our experience in Jerusalem (and Israel) has been nothing but friendly and peaceful. Of course, religious fanatics are there and very serious. The funny thing is that they typically ignore you as a tourist because they are so focused on their religious task at hand. Continue Reading

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Ancient Petra, “Rose-Red City”

Posted on 27 May 2012 by christie

Petra..Wondering about Prehistoric Times

Petra..Wondering about Prehistoric Times

Our anxious two hour drive from Wadi Rum took us through winding desert mountain roads scattered with bedoiun tents and cattle until we reached our next destination. Petra is one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. This magical place was originally built more than 2200 years ago and inhabited by the Nabateans who were from ancient Arab tribes. However, evidence suggests the city was inhabited since prehistoric times. Over centuries Petra was ruled by different empires including the Greeks and the Romans. This varying cultural influence is very strong throughout the architecture around Petra. It’s called the “Rose-Red City” for its magnificent uniquely colored limestone cliffs.

The Treasury glowing through the Siq

The Treasury glowing through the Siq

Upon entering Petra, we walked through the Siq, which is a long narrow corridor tucked between enormous 80m high rock cliffs. At every corner and turn we were anxious to see what awaited us at the end of the walkway. Many tourists opt to take camel, horses, donkey or horse drawn carriages so we had to be careful not to be trampled by them trotting along.

After zig-zagging 1.5 km through the Siq, the sun radiates at the end of the walkway. We could see a glimpse of the glorious Treasury beaming through the narrow gorge. At the end of the Siq lies the Treasury, which served as a tomb for an ancient king in 100 BC. It was named the Treasury for its fable that an Egyptian pharaoh hid his treasures there. Continue Reading

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Wadi Rum: “The Valley of the Moon”

Posted on 25 May 2012 by brett

Sand Dune Jumping

Sand Dune Jumping

Wadi Rum is one of those places where you lose yourself in the endless maze of sandy desert ground surrounded by enormous rocky mountains and steep cliffs. We learned that the valley was once under sea water, which stimulated the imagination for hours. It’s now a virgin desert virtually untouched by man. We spent hours driving around in a 4×4 with our guide and hardly saw a soul…… besides the occasional Bedoiun living in their tent. The serene feeling we had while listening to the sand blowing in the wind and hollow echoes, is like no other in the world. Our Bedouin hosts seemed un-phased by the desert after several generations wandering around nothingness. They probably think tourists are crazy for paying 65 JOD ($90) to tour around and camp out in the sweltering heat.

Alan & Nicola

Alan & Nicola

Our drive 60 km east from Aqaba brought us to “The Valley of the Moon”, beginning our journey into the desert. There is evidence that Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many cultures since prehistoric times. Ancient rock carvings and paintings, and structural remains have been discovered throughout the desert. Currently the only inhabitants of the desert are local Bedoiun tribes who are prospering from the tourist boom.  Continue Reading

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Voyage to Pharaoh’s Island, Egypt

Posted on 23 May 2012 by christie

Crusader Castle on Pharaoh's Island

Crusader Castle on Pharaoh's Island

Besides loving all that Aqaba has to offer, we mainly stayed extra time awaiting the Tuesday boat tour to Pharaoh’s Island, Egypt. The island lies in the Red Sea just 250m off the eastern Egyptian coast. The small island consists of a fortified castle built by the Crusaders during the 1100’s in order to defend their trade route across the Red Sea.

A lovely boat ride (Sindbad Travel) with 25 other travelers took us from Aqaba through the Red Sea. We passed by Eilat, Israel before reaching the Egyptian coastline. After about one hour we arrived to Pharaoh’s Island. The castle view became increasingly impressive as our boat pulled closer to the tiny island. The transparent waters are among the most picturesque we’ve ever seen. The entire island is surrounded by stunning coral reefs that can be seen above the water. Continue Reading

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