Egyptian Climate & Weather

Cleo had her own ceiling fan in ancient Egypt: a lithe, semi-clad Nubian slave with a giant ostrich feather. He was at her beck and call silently cooling her regal countenance. Not a modern wonder, but it worked. I think that is better than any of these fans reviewed here haha. It kept her fresh in that dry desert heat and saved her beauty. If you venture into that part of the world, you at least have something whirling away fueled by electricity. In between visits to the great tombs in the pyramids and the Sphinx, you can take a rest knowing you will only wilt and not die of exposure.

Those who have been to Egypt know it is better to go in the winter time when it is mild and pleasant. Being outdoors is much more tolerable, and is in fact recommended. Most of us who like to travel during the summer while the kids are free have to suffer the consequences. It is preferable to not going at all I suppose. Moderate temperatures come from sea breezes from the Mediterranean. Winter nights can even approach chilly. When booking your trip, do a little research first to pack appropriately. It will help you select the opportune time to enjoy the sights.

Tourist hotels and restaurants are air-conditioned for the most part unless they are very off the beaten path, but the dryness can still take its toll. Your skin starts to look like that mummy you just viewed. It feels crepe-like and desiccated. That is a very good word to use in this country of funereal objects and bitumen-coated bodies. Covering up to protect from the sun and the elements is very wise. Travelers love shorts and tees, but your legs will not enjoy the effects of a local sandstorm (fortunately not all year round). Keep footwear comfortable and simple.

I love the look of a ceiling or room fan in desert locales. Some of the best-designed fans really bring a place to life, not to mention making the room bearable. They go with the territory for sure. You feel you are out there in the wilds, and it reminds me of old movies of the French Foreign Legion before there was even such a thing as a swamp cooler. The fans often grace bars as objects of décor and they are ubiquitous. Remember those lone world travelers (desert rats) in North Africa wearing khaki cotton and Panama woven hats sitting beneath a mechanically-produced breeze. Egypt is similar in its remoteness, strangeness, and aridity. You are far from your normal habitat.

If you are tempted to ride a camel during your stay, you may well want that broad-brimmed hat. Wear long pants before sitting astride the ungulate. They are used to heavy loads so rest assured you can be accommodated. Avoid the full sun. Skies are bright and it makes for great photos, but it can be damaging. Protect your eyes with dark glasses as the glare is significant. An enjoyable experience awaits the adventurous in a land of exciting monuments and a rich cultural history. There is much to do and no time to spare in planning your visit.

Weights & Measures in Ancient Egypt

It wasn’t so easy back in ancient Egypt—a land of great mystery and magic to modern man. People did want to know what they weighed no doubt. Dieting wasn’t a fad (none of these scales for weight loss stuff ha-ha) and food was relegated to simple fare, so overeating fast food just wasn’t a big issue for most. No doubt obesity did not rear its ugly head for the poor. For about three thousand years they ate the same thing. Who could over consume crocodile, pomegranates, or ostrich? There were lavish banquets for the rich no doubt when a bit of indulgence took place. Cakes with honey, apples and apricots, beer that looked like gruel, and dates were all treats. Whether they kept people svelte or not remains to be seen. Lard is not as much of a temptation as butter!

Fortunately, we have great source material in good condition. Fat people don’t appear to my knowledge in wall paintings although they do depict food preparation and eating. As for scales, well let me think. A device for weighing was probably pretty fundamental: no fancy digital scale units. They didn’t have words for pounds or tonnes either. Scales were necessary for the purposes of trade and barter that were the heart of the economy. Paintings show ample views of traditional poles and balancing receptacles of various sizes and shapes. I don’t think people ever jumped in!

The crude technology had to work in some way for comparing individuals to arrive at some conclusion about their girth. If you wanted to be more certain and go beyond a guestimate by picking someone up, you would resort to a mode of measurement that could be somewhat more reliable. They certainly knew how to weigh body parts before burial, particularly the heart. Evidence is amply found in the great pyramids. They also used their system for metals like copper, gold, and silver.

We know the ancient Egyptians used units of lengths in the early dynastic period. The Nile was measured as well—in cubits (think Noah’s ark) and palms. The Palermo Stone shows area indications using “khets” and “remens.” Volume and capacity were done in “hegats” and “hinus.” Sounds like fun. Whatever they needed entailed a system that was repeatable and thus verifiable. What about people, again the question arises. It’s not the same process as for jars of oil and barrels of grain. They were pretty advanced for the time as far as I can see and showed considerable natural knowledge.

Perhaps we don’t really know and can only surmise the rest. They might have had a water displacement method. They were clever beings: that we do know. They had a way of explaining things and finding out about basic pre-scientific concepts that was unique and practical, if not religious and ritual. We just have to assume there was consciousness of body weight as there was for animals like goats or sheep. It is fun to imagine in any case as we scour the stylized images of men going about their daily tasks.

A New Generator to Go Camping With

We decided to go on a multi-day wilderness trip and feel a little guilty about not really wanting to rough it. What defines a true outdoor adventure anyway? A sleeping bag and a thermos? We want to take a generator but don’t want to wimp out on the authentic experience. I guess we are modern campers who want some amenities with us just in case. We want a nice meal, hot coffee for breakfast, and a clean spot. No bugs, no rain, no pain.

When it comes to necessities on the road, a good little small generator immediately comes to mind. Who wants to go to sleep at six o’clock in the evening and wake up at dawn as the light pours in your tent as you have been sleeping for eight hours? We want to stay up late by the fire and drink wine, but we want to light up the outside of the tent to ward off predators–human and otherwise. Security is always a factor.

There are lightweight models that aren’t too heavy to carry or take up too much room in the van. We decided to read small generator reviews online and we’re looking at simple ones that don’t malfunction with infrequent use. Quiet and clean for recreational use is the description we are using. Reliable and worry-free are good adjectives too. Portable means a lot. A 600w power pack has been recommended by a friend—just a big battery with an inverter. I hear that they can last for years. We are told not to go with units that only use motorcycle batteries, however, as they are not always fully rechargeable. Also note that there are gas-powered models and those that require motor oil.

So, practical and trustworthy units are on our agenda. A big plus is that the generator can run an electric blanket, an air mattress, a fan, and/or a cooling unit. Talk about luxury! Some of these devices can be energy hogs, however, and aren’t all that necessary. For cell phones and small lights, the generator is divine.

We are also thinking about the iPod speaker doc possibility. Having music is nice, but the sounds of nature are probably a better experience, unless animal noises put your nerves on edge, but then you wouldn’t be out camping, would you?

Everyone has an opinion on the best and you can go a little crazy reading what people say about camping trips—stereo music, LED lamps, programmable light bars, and more. Maybe we should keep it simple and not spend a bundle just yet. We don’t expect the most sophisticated trip and certainly don’t welcome the noise we are told accompanies some generators. It shouldn’t be on non-stop, should it?

So off we go to select our little motor of choice. We hope to get some help at the outset. We don’t know the brands or features for average campers who don’t have an RV parked in their driveway. It’s just us folks on a little weekend adventure that we don’t want to turn into a total fiasco.

Cooking in Ancient Egypt

They had kitchens and prepared meals in them in ancient Egypt. They were outside, probably in a courtyard with a thatched flat roof. There might have been a primitive equivalent of a wood-burning stove, but more often than not an open fire was the only place for cooking alongside a clay oven. If you were sent back in time, you would see all kinds of activity from boiling and stewing to frying and grilling. Without a George Forman grill or a Cuisinart, it was all manual labor, lots of it. We still chop and dice like they did, but faster and more efficiently with our chef’s knives and electronic slicers.

They ground spices like cumin, dill, and coriander. They had mustard seed, cinnamon, marjoram, and rosemary. Some diehards still use something like a mortar and pestle to get “back to the land,” but our culinary gadgets can do the job in seconds. Flash back to the Pharaoh’s land, flash forward to today. A lot and a little have changed. Same spices, same type of cooking with salt and oil. I like the idea of sweetening things with honey and wine. We do that sometimes. I love garnishing with raisons, dates, and figs. I don’t know about root of chuba but am willing to try. They had fish and meat. No corn, potatoes, and tomatoes. That was New World. I imagine it was pretty tasty although plating food elegantly was not yet an acquired art. There’s lots more about it on the Wikipedia article about Egyptian Food, which I could probably study for days.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Food has become an obsession with so many these days, and the more exotic the better. It would be fun to recreate a meal from this ancient time and place. For now, I will settle for descriptions and speculation. We do know that kitchen vessels and utensils were found in tombs along with bowls, pots and pans. I think the food preparation took place on the ground, a major difference from today’s practices and one I hope will not make its way into modernity.

Give me my blender, mixer, bread maker, rotisserie any time. Some are hi-tech now with digital systems that give you such facility whatever you make. We don’t do much like the old, old, olden days but we do like to get our hands dirty in the kitchen. With so many different kitchen appliances these days, we have to rely on reviews of the best hand mixer to help us choose which one we should be using in our kitchens, rather than just using whatever tools that we would have been able to find in the environment around us if we lived in ancient Egypt. We may not knead the bread and grind the meat much anymore, but we get a simulation of these processes with our fancy equipment.

Where the wealthy ancient Egyptians had it over us was in tableware. Bronze, silver, and gold sure beats cracked china and paper plates (for those who prefer to keep their dishwasher pristine). They ate with the fingers, however, which is where I draw the line. I do like their idea of cleaning the hands in water bowls. The Egyptians seem to go quickly from the primitive to the sublime. While I am told they did not have the variety we enjoy today, their practices are more advanced than one might expect. For now, however, I will keep to my simple, healthy fare produced by the wonders of modern technology.

What would the Ancient Egyptians do?

I wonder if they had toenail fungus in Ancient Egypt. I spend a lot of time there mentally, and upon contracting the dreaded chronic disease a few weeks ago, I immediately looked for help in the old lore. They had odd remedies and could mummify human beings for eternity. How hard can toe fungus be? They had the secrets of life all figured out and how to conquer death with dignity and luxury. Why not conquer feet before one’s final hours.

Well apparently as far as I can tell the insidious fungus wasn’t one of their serious problems. I doubt if they gave it a second thought. They gave a lot more consideration to extracting bitumen and learning the art of body preservation. Death met their match in the prevailing technology. It was pretty advanced and sophisticated. Dying was reduced to a flurry of activity to prepare for the afterlife, one that would be glorious and laden with riches (at least for the wealthy).

But toe fungus—not an issue. So I have to resort to my own modern day research resources on the Internet to see what I can do myself. Probably nothing. I hate the ugly affliction. Your toes become yellow or black and look as if the flesh is rotting beneath. So many of the different liquid applications that I’d tried were just a bogus remedy and waste of hard-earned money until I discovered this web site and a product that they recommended as the best treatment for toenail fungus called Zetaclear.

The easy way is a course of pills for two weeks, but I am told they eat your liver alive. So which remedy do I pursue? None. They are all too scary. I will wear socks with my sandals and hide the fungus from the world. I don’t want to gross anyone out, especially the fairer sex. (Someone might think I have leprosy.) I don’t want to risk my life for vanity after all. It isn’t life-threatening, just ego debasing. I will try to will it away as I do headaches and a stiff neck.

There must be some exotic herb you can take that is not harmful to your insides. I start thinking about the Egyptian wrapping each body part gently and painstakingly—one by one. Mine will be toast if I take anything weird. I would like to apply something chemical that only soaks in as far as the nail bed. Am I giving my feet too much thought?

I welcome home remedies from readers. Some say bleach, some say vinegar. What say you? I have heard of old wives’ tales and am willing to try them if you have. Just let me know the results and help put me out of my misery. I would like to go barefoot, squishing my toes in the soft, warm sand this summer, and then show them to the world as I lay on my beach towel in bliss without having some little kid walking by and yelling, “Mom, his toes are gross.”

Ancient Bathing

Traveling poses problems when it comes to plumbing. We travel to third world countries and out-of-the way places that seem to have fixtures from an ancient civilization. Not that we know much about them, but we assume the most primitive accommodations. My interests lie in Egyptian history. What was it like then to cleanse oneself? Was it private or public? Was it practical or seen as a luxury indulgence? I thought I would spend a few minutes finding out. Turning to hieroglyphics is not my forte and reading wall paintings does not yield clues. There are a few painted images and drawings from private letters. You need to work backward from later innovations to see what existed before major breakthroughs in bathing essentials.

With a preference toward showers, I sought to know if they existed. We do assume baths with fragrant oils for the rich. River bathing was probably more likely for the masses. Think about Moses floating downstream in his barren basket. I see lovely ladies in white diaphanous garb dipping their toes in the water before going in. Some kind of modest soap must have been available and leaves for scrubbing.

A shower is not likely, at least as we know it today. No adjustable shower head spewing forth streams of gentle liquid to rinse away the dirt and grime of Nile life. They probably went makeshift with baskets or vessels with heated water poured by servants for the family. Perhaps a shower was preferred over a bath to save time and conserve water. Unless you were the Pharaoh’s queen, you probably had to share facilities. Sitting in dirtied water has less appeal than a light bucket dousing.

There isn’t much in Egyptian mythology that gives us a clue. Deities don’t bathe or shower, and Cleopatra had the latest thing in aromatherapy. How often did people indulge? Later civilizations considered it a privilege and rare treat. They wore perfumes to mask body odor and their clothes would often reek. People got used to it I suppose. Unguents and oils were also characteristic practices of the ancient Egyptians kept in beautiful containers and jars. They were somewhat fanatic about cleanliness. Archeological finds tell a tale of cosmetics and natron paste for soap. Animal and vegetable oils along with clay, ash, and/or alkaline salts could create a nice lather. If there were indeed showers, no doubt they were delightful accompanied by pleasant scents.

We know the Egyptians had foot baths as they walked barefoot in the dusty soil and had earth floors in their houses. They had wash basins although few actual bathrooms in the modern sense—maybe just a designated alcove. In addition to the river or canal, there were public bath houses that are said to have included showers using modest devices, far from forerunners of today’s amazing shower heads. They had to manually heat the water and therefore manually administered it to the body. Perhaps their showerheads were more akin to hand held shower heads as we now know them. The definition of a shower is probably more loosely conceived in an ancient culture denoting a flow of water rather than sitting in a filled basin.

What I’m Doing About Winter This Year

I’ve got one of those rooms that just doesn’t seem to stay warm when the weather turns cold. Pretty sure it’s because of the insulation in the walls, but there might be something in the heating system too. I don’t mind a little chill in the winter because it helps me to sleep, but there are some days that the condensation inside the window freezes. This year I’m going to prevent that, I think, by adding a secondary heating system to my home.

I’ve got 3 reasons why I’m doing this (besides the need to stay warm, of course!)

  1. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to save money.
  2. I’m hoping that my cold room is going to stay warmer throughout the season.
  3. It’d be nice to have my home be a few degrees warmer.

I read somewhere once that with my electric heating system, it costs me an extra 1% to raise the temperature of  my home by just 1 degree per month. It’s also cheaper to cool a home than it is to warm it up, so I’m going to invest in a wood burning stove to counter these costs.

Why a Wood Burning Stove, You Ask? 

I’ve decided to go with a wood burning stove because it’s cheaper than a pellet stove. Both of them seem to do a good job for home heating and it would be nice to have the automated features of the pellet stove, but I just can’t afford it. After spending some time reading some reviews at this web site, I discovered that I can get an excellent wood burning stove for about $800, whereas it would cost me at least $2,000 to get a pellet stove to meet the needs of my home.

The good news is that I can use the current exhaust system in my home to route the stove pipes from the wood stove to the outdoors. My plan is to buy a couple cords of wood now before winter hits (I’ve been told I can save $100 per cord by purchasing them now) and then stock the wood downstairs so it can be nice and dry. I’ll have to line the venting system of the house, but that’s only a couple hundred dollars extra.

I’ve run the numbers. Between the cost of wood, the stove, and the upgrades that I need to get installed, it’s going to cost me about $1,400 in total to install the new heating system. In return, I expect to save about $450 per month on the four coldest months of the year. That means this new stove will pay for itself (I hope) in the first year!

I’m Going To Brave the Installation Myself 

The biggest fear I have about installing the new wood stove is how to get it into the house in the first place. I’ll fire it outside a couple times because that seems to be the consensus on the internet to eliminate a burnt paint or plastic smell, but the stove I want weighs over 400 pounds! I talked to the delivery company and it’ll cost me almost $400 to have them bring it inside the house, so I’m thinking about enlisting the help of the neighbors on this one.

Either way, I’m really excited about getting a new wood stove installed this winter. I could save money on the first year! When the cold weather hits, I’ll keep you all updated on how successful my plans have been to keep my cold room warm and how much money I’ve been able to save.

It Turns Out My Home Isn’t As Well Built As The Pyramids Of Giza

Egypt_Sphinx_PyramidYou have to give the Ancient Egyptians credit where credit is due, when they built something to last, it lasted. Now having thousands of people at your beck and call to do all the building work, as well as large amounts of gold to pay for whatever they needed certainly helped. Now it took a tremendous amount of labor and effort to build the pyramids of Giza. It also took a great deal of large sandstone blocks to build them too. Sandstone certainly being more durable than most materials modern homes are built out of. I know a great deal about the Ancient Egyptians and I consider myself an amateur Egyptologist.

There is just something about ancient civilizations that has always fascinated me, especially the Egyptian one. Their buildings were extraordinary for the times, in which they were built, and the pyramids of Giza remain the most outstanding achievements of them all. The pyramids have already lasted thousands of years, and only the industrial pollution of the last two centuries has had a harmful affect upon them. After all tomb robbers were only usually after gold, and other treasures.

I simply love going on my field trips to Egypt, I have been to other places but none of those other destinations are as good as Giza, or the Valley of the Kings. There is nothing as special as the pyramids, and the Sphinx in my opinion. Which, is why I go to Egypt as often as possible. It costs a fair amount of money for every trip, yet as far as I am concerned it is worth every single dime.

Unfortunately, my modern home in Fort Worth, Texas is not as enduring as the pyramids (not that any of us would still be around in two or three thousand years time to find out). The main problem with my house is that there is a lot of wood in its infrastructure, and wood as I have just found out to my cost is vulnerable to termites. Once termites get into your home they can cause considerable damage, that needs to be fixed straightaway or it can seriously ruin your house for good. In some ways, I wish I had remained blissfully unaware of the damage that termites could do to things. I also got to thinking that a home built of stone, although expensive would be a good idea as it would at least be termite proof.

Not only was I ignorant of the damage they could do, I was equally ignorant of how much it costs to treat the house to get rid of them. The answer is that it costs an awful lot of money to get rid of termites, and to make sure my home is treated afterwards to deter them from ever coming back. Let’s just say that the termite treatment cost, in terms of paying professional pest controllers to get rid of termites from my home, and to stop them from coming back has postponed my next trip abroad. Paying for the termite removal has used up the majority of the funds I had saved up for my next visit to Egypt. Postponement is not my preferred option, but it is probably the best one to take at the moment.

The Perfect Backpack to Tour Egypt With

High-Sierra-SwerveI will agree with all the people who say travel is the best way to spend your free years. You get to meet new people, learn new cultures and get to know the ancient traditions of the people living in that area. For me, the peak of travel is getting to know the people living there, their way of life, beliefs and the myths they believe in. it’s an exciting experience that everyone should get to enjoy at least once if not always. I recently visited Egypt – the pyramids of Giza, to be specific, for the third time. Here, we would take trips to different parts of the vast land, and desert like terrains, visit legendary pyramids just for day then come back the next day. The experience was exciting; learning about the greatest ancient civilization, their past traditions, beliefs, myths and their extraordinary structure like the pyramids and ancient ruins… it was fascinating.

However, I could not help realizing how hard it is to choose a backpack when visiting places like this. There were teenagers getting around with bright, flashy cool backpacks that might have appealed to their generation but certainly didn’t appeal to me. Some people had backpacks that looked heavy and uncomfortable. This gave me the impression that most of us do not know what exactly to buy when looking for a one-day backpack to a place like the pyramids of Giza. It is crucial to have in mind the place your visiting and requirement to carry in your tour when selecting a bag pack otherwise your trip will end up being more frustrating than fun. Backpacks need to be selected under very careful consideration of the specific tour.

Here are some of the things you should consider:

  • The backpack should be comfortable on your back in that should balance perfectly with body when full
  • It should be sizably big, but not too big. It should be nothing more than 60L. This is because, when you carry a big bag, the more things you will put in it making it heavy for no good reason.
  • It should have multiple compartments to enable you to put all your things inside in an orderly manner. It will help you not to look for one thing for twenty minutes.
  • It has to be secure. This will help you be at ease that whatever you are carrying is safe and secure.
  • The tour areas(Terrain and walking distances) to visit should be considered so as to know which backpack will be best for the tour.

Before my visit to the pyramids of Giza, I decided to research online to find the right backpack for this type of trip. While I couldn’t find anything Egypt specific, I did look at a guide to the best backpacks for men, and based on their recommendation I chose a High Sierra Swerve Backpack, which I bought online. Wonder why I bought this one and not any other? Here is why: it is designed to have multiple compartments, an Mp3 player pocket with a headphone port, mesh beverage compartments on both sides, a hanging accessory pocket, comfortable backpack panel and a premium organizer compartment. In addition, it only weighs 2.04 lbs. this bag did not just give me comfort and organization, it enabled me to reach for what I needed easily: my music, my snacks, my water… I just found the High Sierra Swerve Backpack to be so convenient.

What you should do before you go overseas

suitcase-overflowing-with-clothesSome people think that the only thing to travelling around the world is booking your tickets, grabbing your passport, packing your suitcase and then heading off. However, this overlooks one of the most important aspects – the research and planning that needs to go in to selecting your destination.

There are things that people should do before they go overseas, but what they are depends on your planned destination, the purpose of your visit, and how long you plan to stay there for.

Here are some suggestions on the most sensible things to do before going abroad.

  • Firstly it is always a sensible idea to carry out research about the country, or countries that you plan to visit. Treat it as turning back the clock to when you were at school and read as much information as possible to finish your assignments and your homework. Only this research could keep you and your family safe overseas, or indeed stop you from going in the first place.
  • If you plan to stay over the long-term consider learning the language spoken in the selected country if nobody, or very few people speak English.  It is also wise to find out if you need tourist visas, or work permits, and if they can be applied for before you go, or after you arrive.
  • Travel agencies and holiday companies will often provide you with informative brochures to let you know about any of the countries they offer holidays to.
  • Besides travel agents you can also garner information from airline companies that fly services to and from the country that you intend to go to. The embassies and sometimes the consulates of foreign nations in the United States can also provide you with information about their countries, and what you will need to take with you should you go there.
  • For Americans, the Department of State issues Background Notes on the majority of nations across the globe, essentially all the basic information you will need to get by in any of these countries. These notes are now available on the internet.
  • Furthermore the Department of State issues the Consular Information sheets, which provides you with all the information you need, besides details of how to contact US embassies and consulates aboard should you need their help.
  • Whenever it feels that it is appropriate to do so the Department of State also issues Travel Warnings as well as Public Announcements. Travel warnings are made public to deter American nationals from going to countries where they could be placing themselves in danger, and there is no US embassy or consulate to help them out. Public Announcements are made if situations change suddenly.
  • Finally, be sure to speak to a travel doctor to find out whether there are any specific injections that you need before visiting that country. The last thing you want to do is come back with an unexpected illness.

Remember – your safety is the most important thing to consider when travelling. Be sure to do your homework before you decide to travel – but don’t let that detract from getting out there and seeing the world.

Why You Should Visit Egypt

giza-pyramidsHave you ever wondered what it was like at the center of an Egyptian pyramid? My friends and I – plus countless others who have vacationed in Egypt know first-hand what this experience is like.

Egypt is alive with bright, vibrant colors and offers a mystical intrigue that can’t be found in many places. Travelers to Egypt find themselves engrossed in the rich history of the country as they explore the market place, the hieroglyphics, and the ethereal mask of Tutankhamen. They will find themselves in the 21st century as they travel the streets, swallowed up by the chaotic mingling as people go about their business; and curse their luck for being stuck in the never-ending traffic. When you visit Egypt and go on a camel ride, or buy souvenirs at Giza, it is an experience of a lifetime that you will never forget.

Tourism in Egypt

9.7 million people visited Egypt in 2006-7; this is a 13% increase over the year before. Where else in this world can you sit on top of a camel and see the Great Sphinx through a hazy desert sunset? Hospitality is now a thriving business in Egypt and there are a number of excellent hotels in the tourists areas of Alexandria, Aswan, Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada and Sharm-el Sheikh. This country is packed with drama and energy, which makes it a fine playground for all vacationers.

When is the best time to go to Egypt?

Egypt is located very near the equator, which means it has hot and dry summers, and mild winters. During the summer the temps can rise higher than 113 degrees Fahrenheit during the afternoon. This often limits visiting historic sites during the morning or evening hours. There is a problem with this schedule, as morning and evening hours are also the best times for mosquitoes to be out looking for fresh blood. Tourist attractions may not be so crowded, but is it worth the discomfort to go in the summer? Not really. Especially when the months of October to May have almost perfect weather for sightseeing. Plan your vacation for these months and you are sure to experience the delights of Egypt in comfort.

Holidays in Egypt

A holiday in Egypt offers guests so many activities. Egyptian holiday tour packages can be found on various websites. Because Egypt is such a big country, most people do prefer to book a tour package in order to see the highlights of the country. However, there are other activities you can enjoy, such as a unique cruise down the Nile, or a Saharan wildlife safari. For those who love the city life, there is always Cairo, Egypt’s bustling capital, to explore. There is something for everyone in Egypt.

Shopping in Egypt

Since the year 1382, the Khan-al-Khalili bazaar in Cairo has been the place to shop in all of Egypt. Shopping for locally made goods, and haggling over the prices, is a treat all who visit Egypt should experience. The sellers expect the haggler to bargain for a fair price. Egyptian cotton in known world-wide for the pure, luxurious scarfs the locals make. Shoppers will find other delights such as hand-made carpets, perfumes, authentic pharaonic objects and papyrus artwork.

The Pyramids

Every vacation in Egypt should include a visit to the Pyramids of Giza. The Great Pyramid was the world’s tallest structure for over 3,800 years and deserves to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. These funerary homes for Egypt’s great Pharaohs of 2700-2200 BC have always held a fascination to people across the planet. An amazing fact to know is that, even though the pyramids look impressive today, when they were built they were capped with gold and the sides were covered with polished white limestone. In the very center of the pyramid is a tomb, and it is sweltering hot inside. There are probably dozens of tourists who are probably all hot, sweaty and exhausted from walking bent over through tiny corridors to reach this center point. Yet each of them will be wearing a warm smile, knowing they made it to the center of a pyramid is Egypt. Not everyone can say they did so.

Survival Guide: Your First Overseas Flight

You’re packed and ready to go. You are excited and nervous about taking a long flight to a foreign country. You check to make sure you have your passport, plane tickets and a way to pay for purchases once you reach your destination. Everything seems in order, but is it?

Before you get to this point, read these tips below to make the whole experience go as smooth as possible.

Before You Leave Home

Pack lightly, no more than two suitcases and one carry-on bag. The cost of extra bags is not worth it if you can buy clothes at your destination. If you are going to a tropical climate you can pack even lighter by packing only shorts and t-shirts for casual wear. Remember, if you buy clothes or trinkets, you will have to bring them home somehow. Allow extra room in your luggage for these items and you won’t be paying extra baggage costs.

Always check with the airlines for the latest rules and regulations concerning liquids in your carry-on bag – they change frequently and are dependent upon which country you’re flying from and to. This information can be found online, or can be easily obtained by calling the airlines. Be sure to bring all your medications and carry copies of your prescriptions.

The day before departure call the airlines and re-confirm that your flight will still be flying at its scheduled time, or check your booking online at their web site. Weather can mess up any travel plans. If your flight is cancelled you can reschedule right then. It is better to call the airlines and be safe; the alternative is to scramble at the last minute for a flight. Not a good way to start a vacation. When you do call to re-confirm (or while checking your booking online), ask for your seat number and get it changed if that is what you desire. Doing all this now will save you time once you get to the airport.

The day of your flight do a check, a double check and even a triple check of all the items you are going to need on this trip. There is no turning back for missing items. Make sure you have your passport (and those of any children travelling with you), and all of the relevant tickets for your flights plus any ground connections – eg airport transfers, etc. It is best to carry traveler’s checks, an ATM card and your credit card, as some places may only take one form of payment over the others. Plan to exchange enough money into the local currency to last you a day or two. Do not change money at home; wait until you get to your destination.

At Your Home Airport

Arrive at the airport at least three hours ahead of departure. Security and check-in lines will be long and slow. Be sure to have all your travel documents ready to show at a moment’s notice. Now would be a good time to ask if there have been any changes in what is allowed or not allowed in carry-on bags. Eat at the airport before you board the plane. The food is reasonably priced and will taste much better than what they serve on the plane. Bring easy to eat snacks on board, things like trail mix or dried fruits will fill you up.

Do take advantage of the duty free shops inside the airport. Check first to see if there are any limitations on alcohol or tobacco products. It is also best to find out beforehand if layover flights allow carry-on liquids such as alcohol. You may have to wait until your last stop before making such purchases.

Airports are totally equipped to handle wireless connections. There are electric outlets located conveniently throughout the airport for those who need to stay plugged in or recharge before boarding.

On The Plane

Relax and sleep if you can – this will lessen the time zone changes and jet lag. Drink plenty of water on board the plane because dry cabin air can rapidly cause dehydration. Do not drink alcohol on the plane, your body will thank you once you reach your hotel.

Bring gum or mints to help alleviate the air pressure changes during take-off and landing. Try to read or watch the movie to pass the time. Keeping busy will make the time go by much faster.

If you have already eaten then you might just want to eat the salad, bread and dessert when the meals start getting passed out. These foods aren’t too bad, but the main meals are reheated mystery foods most of the time.

You will be asked to fill out a customs declaration form while on the plane. Fill it out and put it with your passport. These will need to be turned into the Customs officer.

Arrival at Destination

Hopefully, you were told before getting off the plane what you need to do in this airport. If not, follow the signs. Try to get off the plane as quickly as possible – everyone else has the same agenda: get through the Immigration/Customs lines. Do not stop to use the bathroom or to have a cigarette. Find the shortest line and have your passport and boarding pass ready with everything else you need to turn in.

Be polite to the Customs officer as he or she stamps your passport, turn in your custom declaration forms, then head for the luggage carousels. Gather your luggage, change some currency, and finally you are ready to head out the door.

Find transportation to your hotel (if this has not been prearranged), sit back and enjoy the sights of your final destination. Remember – in most locations, it’s advisable not to jump in with a taxi driver who offers you a ride at the baggage collection or near the exit – instead, follow the signage to the taxi rank and jump in a cab there to avoid getting ripped off.

One you arrive at your hotel and check in, it’s time to take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on the fact that “You Made It!” Have a wonderful vacation.

How travel transforms you

“How do you rate your life? Out of ten what would you give yourself?”

In my travels, I’ve asked this question to a lot of people. Most people rate their lives at about a six or a seven. Above average, but don’t we all want a score of ten out of ten? To squeeze every last drop of excitement, adventure, peace and love out of lives. We want to find and live out our passions. Is your score out of ten increasing or decreasing? Are you better or worse off than five years ago, or have you hit a plateau.

Among many things such as relationships, money and health, travel is vital to a full and exciting life. A life well travelled is a life full of experiences, fun and adventure. As religious leaders, writers, philosophers and explorers such as Moses, Henry David Thoreau and Howard Carter travel into the wilderness so can the everyday traveller. You might not come back with the Ten Commandments, great works like Walden or an amazing archeological discovery but it will transform you.

Travel to new and exotic places challenges your brain, firing neurons that you’ve never fired before. This expands and opens you mind to new and exciting possibilities. Travel makes you wiser and smarter, not just with general knowledge but in dealing with people from different walks of life.

Travel will impact all your relationships for better and for worse. Distance makes the heart grow fonder they say. Some relationships back at home will grow stronger upon your return. Other relationship might wither away; maybe these relationships weren’t all that much to begin with? Travel can distill you friends into a close mix of loyal and loving friends and family. You’ll of course meet many new friends on the road. The shared interests and comradely of fellow travellers is unparalleled anywhere. Maybe in the army or navy, I suppose, but these are under vastly different circumstances, i.e. under enemy fire compared to being on vacation! 🙂 With airfares so cheap these days and with email or Facebook, it is easy to stay in touch and visit new friends. New friends can fast become old friends in this day and age.

In contrast, the solitude of travel can still broaden your mind. Travelling by one’s self can be lonely at times, however this can lead to healthy introspection. Surrounded by a strange culture, language and country can highlight what you do know – your own experiences, knowledge and true self can shine like a beacon in the dark of night. Healthy introspection (as apposed to becoming an old hermit) can transform your mind and bring acceptance of one’s own faults and flaws whilst bringing pride of one’s own achievements and accomplishments.

My recommendation is get out there and see the world. Don’t be obsessed with how others travel – hike your own hike as it were. You don’t have to listen to everyone and travel with this particular airline or only stay in those types of hotels. Do it your way and you’ll have a great time and transform your life. Go get it! Get that ten out of ten.

A brief overview of Ancient Egyptian Civilisation

The ancient civilization of Egypt is an amazing historical discovery, and it would be difficult to find many people who would say otherwise.  The ancient Egyptian civilization is believed to be located in the northwest part of  Africa, by modern views.

The Nile River travels right straight through Egypt.  The north most part was called Lower Egypt, while the southern most part was called Upper Egypt. This has sometimes caused some confusion among tourists.  It is said that the Nile is supposed to be the longest river in the world.  Recently though, scientists believe that it may be possible that the Amazon River in South America is slightly longer.

Egyptian history is divided into three time periods. These are referred to as the Old Kingdom, the Central Kingdom, and then the Modern Kingdom.  Each period in the history has it own unique characteristics, and is easiest to learn when studied individually.Each of the ancient Egyptian kingdoms were ruled by a Pharaoh, and it was believed that the gods chose who would be Pharaoh.  It was this belief that allowed the inhabitants of Egypt to feel secure in the knowledge that all was well and under control.  Some people describe Egypt as the first national government in the known world.  Along with the Pharaoh, there were people who held the position of Vizier.  These officials helped to advise the Pharaoh and thus helped him rule.

The Egyptians, like the Sumerians also had their own language and writing system.  The Papyrus plant was used especially to create paper, and thus gives us the very first paper.  Many people are intrigued and fascinated by the Egyptian culture, in part due to the massive monumental structures that cover the Egyptian landscape.  Especially popular is the Great Pyramid which is viewed by thousands of visitors every year to this day.

The Science Channel ran an excellent documentary series called “What the Ancients Knew” which can also be found on YouTube. The episode on Egypt was particularly fascinating for me – and I hope you’ll find it interesting as well. I’ve embedded it below so you can watch it here.