Friday, May 24, 2002


Tis been a while since we last talked, and I now find myself in Egypt!

It is amazing, beautiful, wondorous, mysterious, and unbelievable!
First off, before some of you gasp for breath, this place is safer than Baltimore! I can rome the streets at 4:00 in the morning without fear!! The people here are kind, welcoming, beyond helpful, and have a great sense of humor--I feel right at home! Egyptians are so beautiful in every sense of the word as is their language, the only danger I am in is staying here forever--and even then it would be paradise!

Myself and two girlfriends left Kenya, had a SURPRISE (and I mean surprise) layover in Sudan (yikes! civil war! run away, run away!), and then off to Cairo landing at 12:30 a.m. Again gardians were watching out for us, a man sitting right in front of us, smiled and said "Welcome to Egypt." He then took it upon himself to adopt us and make sure that we were taken care of. He took us through customs, got us a taxi, got us a hotel, and gave us his home number to ask him or anyone in his family for any favor we might need anytime of day or night! That was our introduction to the people of Egypt.

Cairo is AMAZING!! It was 1:00 in the morning and the city was bursting with life! Further more their soccer team had just won a game and thousands of men were happily celebrating in the streets--we had a ton of fun our very first night.

Oh, and on one toast to moms, cause they think that I'm Egyptian!!! I love it!

The next day brought us to the incredible Egyptian museum and a boat ride down the Nile. From there we took a spectacular horse ride through the desert and around the pyramids--I'm in love with this country! Police on camelback came to greet us and rode with us part of the way, we circled the pyramids which are some of the most beautiful structures I've ever seeen in my life! We wove our way through local markets and explored the less touristic and more residential parts of towns, met some wonderful people, and then found ourselves at a soccer game!

Yep, at the last minute, we got tickets to this huge game--no big deal really, just three little american girls in a sea of 18,000 men at the finals!!! There were police, undercover police, tons of men with riot gear, muzzled dogs, it was a scene to say the least! The turned out to be great fun, we made friends easily and they were very good about protecting us when a flag burst into flames a row below us, when a fight broke out right next to us, when someone with some kind of torch or flame thrower decided to throw flames RIGHT above our heads, or when the riot broke out two rows above us and all the secret agents and riot geared men burst on the scene causing all these men to fall down several rows of seats. Other than that, not much happened excpet for a really exciting game! :)

Onward to Mt. Sinai and Sharm El Sheik and the Rea Sea--I woke up at 5:30 on our night bus. There higlighted by the deep orange light of dawn were the most dramatic desert mountains. Severe, jagged, harsh looking, carved by sands, winds, and time, they were beautifully set off by the warm light of the rising sun and the surrounding dunes of sand. From high above sea level, we could look down into the distance and there was an oasis, a town carved out of the desert that kissed the sea.

Now I'm aware that there is some story i can't fully remember about way the Rea Sea is in fact called the Red Sea, but I swear to you it is the bluest water I have EVER and will EVER see!! I am CONVINCED they dye this stuff--colors this vibrant and true are simply not possible!!!! This is suppose to be one of the best scuba diving sites in the world, and through I have never dove before, I couldn't let the oportunity pass me by. Let's just say I now plan to get certified--IT WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD! The coral reefs are ever color, type, size, and shape, holding the most wonderous sea life that seemingly floats, flys, glides, darts, and dances through the water! Every type of fish, the most vibrant colors, tiny angle fish to groupers half my size, parrot fish, sea turtles, white tipped sharks, eels bigger than me, and schools of dolphins--in all my travels I have been blinded to the magical world of water! There is so much beauty in this world.

There is so much beauty in this world.

I am happy we came here for more reasons than one. I have had the opportunity to sit down with many Egyptians who have told me how sorry they were for what happened in Spetember, and just how sad they have been that we are the first Americans they have seen since. It's been wonderful to talk to them and to experience first hand how much we HAVE TO let go of our fears and live.

From here I head inland to Luxor, the Veley of the Dead, the tomb of Nefertiti andof King Tut, and then we will head up the Nile back to Cairo where we'll meet a lovely English lady and her really sweet Egyptian husband for a night ride in the desert.

I think I won't be too sad when I leave this land becauseI am certain I will see this place again--there is something that I can't explain that pulls you here...

all my love and best wishes from across the way,

Monday, May 13, 2002

African Skies

So my friends, forgive me, forgive me, forgive me! I have not had access to communication!
where am I and what am i doing you might ask, well....

So I had the option to transfer to another country right away, but after exploring the options availible, none of them fit me well, so I decided to cash in my very expensive one-way ticket home, find a cheaper ticket and use the extra money to travel! :) Sorry, couldn't help myself!

So since we've last spoken, I made my way to the beautiful lands of Uganda. Five of us made the adventurous bus trip on a large, leaky, cold bus (thrid world baby!), through the sketchy Ugandan boarder at 3:00 a.m. with lots of guns and men--use your imagination--it was fun! However as the sun rose, it revealed a beautiful country,lush, rich, kind wonderful people with welcoming hearts. As we got out of the bus yet again for one of those ridiculous bus searches, a beautiful, full grow male baboon just walked right up to us, said hi, and went on his way! yeah, the locals kind of laughed at how excited we were--couldn't help it.

Cute little monkeys played on the roof of our hostel as we dropped off our bags and headed for our rafting trip on the Nile! Those of you who may not be familiar with rafting lingo, the rapids go from class 1-6, 1=your bathtub and 6=death. The Nile river is the largest commercial rafting river for class fives baby--you just play with death! ;)
IT WAS AMAZING!!!! We navigated the river and then it navigated us--our raft flipped twice, people were constantly thrown out, I chipped a tooth going down a waterfall! They asked me if I wanted to stoip rafting--HA! Bring it on baby, 100% BadAss! :) You can't even see it when I smile--I'll worry about that later! It was Incredible! We jumped out of the raft and just swam down the Nile, rich, green forests surrounded us, African Fisher Eagles flew overhead, two little boys rowed past in a dug-out canoe, the sound of calm flowing waters--I lost track of how many times I pinched myslef!

We braved the bus yet again back to Kenya. I found it amusing that we have to sign our lives away for the rafting trip but not the deadly bus rides. Our driver thought nothing of driving a HUGE bus over 85 mph, twisting and turning over small bad roads, then it rained--did he slow down?? Why should he! Then the crazy bastard decided to hit a speed bump at roughly 65 mph!!!!! Were we sitting in the back row? oh yes! did we go flying through the air?? oh yes! so much so that we all slammed out heads on the ROOF OF THE BUS!!! Projectile pinapples and bananas went flying everywhere--we were safer on the river!!!
Luckily this time, two keyan women adopted us, so when we hit the boarder again, one advised me not to risk my life by going to one of the restrooms! Right!

Yet another bus brought us to the eastern coast of Kenya. I sat next to a Masai warrior which was pretty cool, though he didn't speak much English, he kept offering me gum which was sweet. Though it was another dangerous ride, (i have to say I really don't reccomend the bus), I starred out into the Kenyan wild and starring right back at me were girrafes, zebras, elephants, baboons--breathtaking! I don't think I can ever set foot in another zoo again!

We arrived at the town of Mombasa and was shocked at what we saw! It looked as if we had been transported to the Middle East, the entire coast of Kenya is Muslim! It made my co-travelers a littl.e nervous thinking that they might all hate Americans, but they are Muslim Kenyans, and since Kenyanms love Americans we were in no danger!

HOWEVER, giuded by the Loney Planet, we thought we could crash at the New People's Lodge. It received a nice write up, and we thought it safe for 5 women. Ha Ha! So we enter. We have to go through this cage like place were this guy throws keys at us, we go upstairs through this dingy, dark, dirty, B-grade movie type place, and surrounding us at all times are dozens of Muslim men, half naked what have you--you know the usual. I enter my room, a worker manages to get the dirty little ceiling fan to spin lazily as he adamantly warns me "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave NOTHING of value in the room." Smiles and walks away. The room looks like a scene where some man got killed and you would find the tape on the floor outlining his body! there was a bullet hole in the window, used condoms in the toilet and brown running water! And some wacko was screaming American Woman to us from the street below! I made a mental note of write Loney Planet a little letter as I decided to gather my friends to high tail it the hell out of there! They had been digging out their Swiss Army knives to sleep with, but instead happily agreed to go. We found safer lodging for the night and headed for the beach the next day.

I'd like to take this moment to thank my mother for giving me such a diverse background. It has been VERY USEFUL being able to pass as white, black, African, and most recently Muslim. I decided to exploit my Arabic name, which was received so well in the Muslim areas that we got great deals on lodging and friendly people to help us! Cheers mom! You find ways to help me everywhere and im everyway!
Alright, enough of that sappy crap!

We hit the CHARMING, GORGOUS, quiet, secluded, quaint island of Lamu--which was perfect in everyway! It's a huge fishing island, no cars, donkeys only, beaches, small town, ancient ruins--amazing. Our luck continued and we found this stunning house to rent for the week--three stories, the top floor was all windows that faced the gorgeous ocean, fishermen came to our door every morning offering their fresh catches of crab, praws, barracuda (which is excellent!!), snapper, on and on. And...well...the house kinda came with boy--YIKES!!! I know I know!!!! But he was a great cook, left flowers in all of our rooms, and fresh squeezed mango and passion fruit juices everyday! Ha came with the house!!! what do you want from me????
We sailed, explored the island, had a WONDERFUL lunch with a local family, rode donkeys (please picture my big ass riding, well, a big ass--pretty funny, especially when he tried to buck me--TWICE!), got henna painting on our hands and feet(which I love)--and enjoyed every moment on that island!

Our luck continued and we got a ride in an SUV (thank you lord!) back to Nairobi, and meet this wonderful couple that works for the US embassy and they're letting us crash in the big house and having dinner cooked for us tonight!! Unbelievable!!! I'm not even sure what is going on!

I head to South Africa tomorrow and shall be hoime in a couple of weeks!

I can't wait to see you guys, I hope everything at home is treating you well, and I shall see you soon!!

until then,