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Egypt – DNM List

What to see…. What to eat… In Egypt

Let’s start by saying that we were adventurous enough to travel to Egypt not long after the revolution… Although it’s been a year since the revolution, there’s still turmoil and visiting during the anniversary of this revolution certainly showcased this fact… Some “amateur” bombs went off while we were there to mark the 1 year anniversary of the second revolution on July 3, 2013. Well we’ve lived to tell, and give you some pointers on what to see when you have your chance to visit this beautiful land, know that you need to take some safety precautions when visiting this spectacular country.

Egypt is unreal – it’s unlike anywhere else in the world you’ve ever been, because so much ancient history is well preserved – Go there to learn about pharaohs and get a feel for how people lived, how much work was put into making the ancient art, and get a taste of what Egypt is like today – It’s a place of amazing sites and structures, with lots of outdoor museums.  Some of the most incredible sites you’ve ever seen – much like Rome, but with underground additions and hieroglyphics beautifully carved into every column.

Keep in mind that after the Egyptian revolutions it is considered a dangerous place for travel, nevertheless we went there, and we promise it’s not that bad. We’d even say we picked the best time to visit, prices are down, people are extremely hospitable and friendly, and best of all, the sites are empty. We were practically the only people looking at the pyramids (Good time to visit?) it was easy to get amazing pictures and learn a fair amount about the history of the nation since there are more guides to tell the stories than actual tourists.

Egypt – What everyone who makes it to Egypt must see (on a short trip – there’s more if you have the time)

  1. In Cairo 
    1. Pyramids of Giza – there were 138 pyramids found in Egypt
    2. Sphinx – Located by the great pyramids of Giza
    3. Egyptian Museum
  2. In Luxor – 4000 year old open air museums
    1. Karnak Temple
    2. Hatshepsut Temple
    3. Valley of the Kings

Food Suggestions – Must eat:

  1. Toum – Our favorite thing of Egyptian Cuisine- Garlic Sauce/Spread – Recipe
  2. Baba Ghannoug – common Middle Eastern Eggplant based spread – Recipe
  3. Tahini – spread (paste) made out of sesame – major component of Baba Ghannoug and Hummus – Recipe
  4. Shakshouka – Tunisian Dish, commonly found in Egypt – Fried Eggs in a tomato sauce – Recipe
  5. Kofta – Meatloaf, usually made from lamb, beef mutton, or Chicken
  6. Kebab – meat on a skewer

Do Not Miss Lists

Top 10 Cheap Places to Travel – DNM List

Travel hacks – top 10 places to travel that won’t break the bank

Everyone usually thinks of Southeast Asia when they think of cheap travel – and yes, that is true most of Southeast Asia is extremely cheap and there is good weather nearly year round.  At this point though, I have traveled all over the world and want to give you the top ten cheap places to travel that won’t break the bank, have a lot to offer AND are somewhat unique :)

1. Peru

The land of the almighty Incas.  Of course, you can find the most impressive site in the world here, Machu Picchu, but that’s not it.  Peru also has the range of natural beauty, a cuisine unlike any other place in the world, and some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet.  The entire sacred valley outside of Cusco is just that, sacred.  You can feel the energy and power in the region – and will leave with a sense of awe and wonder.

2. Indonesia

– Comprised of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia has a lot to offer every member of the family.  My personal favorite island is Bali – beaches, mountains, artist colonies, fishing towns, volcanic regions, and amazing food very similar to that of Thailand.

3. Thailand

– Mainland plus islands brings you a country with a vast array of options from Tiger petting to jungle trekking, island hopping, full moon partying, praying with buddha, taking cooking classes, and elephant riding.  From the north to the south, the Thai people are wonderful and the food is spectacular.

4. Costa Rica

Rain forests, cloud forests, beaches, volcanic regions – Costa Rica is blessed to have two full coasts and then everything in between.  You will not be disappointed with any region of the country as each has a wonderful set of offerings.  Just choose if you want an adventure – in the tree tops, hiking through cloud forests, watching volcanoes ooze from your bedroom, or if you prefer relaxation – checking out sloths in the rainforest, lying on one of many beaches, watching the most incredible sunsets you’ve ever seen while sipping on an exotic drink.  Even better than that, you can have it all, the country is narrow and you can make your trip across easily – so get to planning – there’s a lot to choose from!

5. South Africa

A country with vast diversity, many official languages, and landscapes of every variety – South Africa will keep you busy and happy for a long time.  Whether your fancy is safaris, diving with great whites, kiteboarding, surfing, dancing, wine tasting, mountain climbing, hiking, relaxing – I could go on with this list for quite a while, because South Africa really does have it all.  Cape Town of course is the most impressive of the major cities, but take your time exploring, even rent a car, the roads are good and the adventures are plentiful!

6. Egypt

One of the most moving places I have ever been, Egypt impresses on so many levels it is hard to put into words.  It is not as affordable as the other countries on this list, but it is still doable on a budget and is not to be missed.  The ancient temples (open air museums) of Luxor tell the story of the land and give you true understanding of the Egyptian people.  The sites are more impressive than rome and the food is stellar – what more could you ask for?

7. India

An enormous land with desert, beaches, mountains and spirituality.  India will yes, shock you to the core, but also bring you to a place of inner peace not yet experienced (if you let it).  Yoga retreats, ashrams, meditation, you name it, India has it happening in one region or another.  The food is amazing, but even more than that, the energy and centering that can be felt there will blow you away.

8. Montenegro

– A lot like Croatia, with crystal clear waters, and beaches all along the coast.  One of the few places you can find inland fjords, castles, old walled cities, and mountainous regions that will leave you trekking for days.  Montenegro has it all, and the price tag will agree with your bank!

9. Argentina

The land of steak and malbec.  Argentina is home to some of the most passionate artistic individuals and the big cities like Buenos Aires make sure you feel that.  From dance, art, food exploration, wine regions, some of the most enchanting falls in the world, and the patagonia with black/white glaciers, endless nature, you can find yourself in Argentina.

10. Namibia

Safaris and sand dunes characterize this massive country with a mere population of 2 million.  The infrastructure is sound, the roads good and the animals a plenty.  There is a long coast line, home to the skeleton coast, and sand dunes that go on for miles.  You can spend your time finding rhinos, elephants, zebras, and lions – or taking a snowboard to the dunes, flying down at speeds over 30 km/hr.

So the next trip you are considering – think of this list for the Top 10 Cheap Places to Travel!

Culture, Tech

A trip to Dubai – A trip into the future

Dubai is an urban metropolis which sits on the southern shore of the Persian Gulf and is was built out of an unchained imagination, without the barriers of usual thinking and limited finances. Dubai is the second largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates and also the biggest city in the country – that’s right; Dubai is both a city and an emirate.

Although there are many traces of human habitation and settlements in the city, which are centuries old, the official founding of Dubai took place in the 19th century, the city continues to change every day, almost like it is still being built today, unlike any other place on Earth. Unlike the other emirates and its constant rival within UAE, Abu Dhabi, this global metropolis has a more Western approach to politics and economics – contrary to what would fly in most Arab nations, more than 30% of the upper level government officials are women. One reason which makes it one of the most open and developed places in the Middle East. Billions of dollars were and are still being spent on building and development in Dubai.

Dubai is a constitutional monarchy, there are no elections and the Al Maktoum family has run it ever since its modern beginnings almost two hundred years ago. The members of the family occupy the most important functions in the state and the emir ruler of Dubai is also the prime minister of UAE. One of the most unbelievable features of the emirate of Dubai is that only 10-15% of the inhabitants are actual nationals, the rest being made up by expats, a grand part of them being foreign workers involved in the many projects sprawling everywhere. Building the city of Dubai is a constant fact, each new project being more impressive and imaginative than the previous. This innovation and lack of boundaries is thanks to a no-limit spending mentality, mostly fed by money that was earned from oil. Now Dubai is depending on tourism and other industries to keep fueling its thriving economy.

With so many foreigners working and living in Dubai, it has become a very international city. Travelers can find some traces of the old Dubai and the authentic Arab heritage, but you’ll have to search for it. Dubai has become world famous for its awe-inspiring skyline, filled by majestic and spectacular buildings, many of them breaching the limits of human limits, with several that were developed exceptionally big or tall, breaking records. One example of the grand scale of things that Dubai is harboring include the Burj Khalifa tower, the biggest building in the world at over 800 meters, without any contenders at this dreadful height, the Burj al-Arab hotel, promoting itself as the only 7 stars hotel in the world, the Palm Islands that appeared in the middle of the ocean, the Dubai Fountain and so many other wonders. It is like Dubai is challenging the entire world and trying to be the best at everything, becoming sort of a dream city, a futuristic tourist destination, almost entirely built in the last few decades, from nothing. Although it is the pinnacle of luxury and high-end tourism, travelers can also find an overwhelming amount of interesting things to see and do in Dubai, including part of the old city that show how life used to be in this modern oasis.

Dubai is a wonderful and inspiring place to visit, even for people who are not impressed by the sky breaching engineering marvels that spring out like mushrooms. Dubai is a testament to the power of the will of mankind, transformed from a city in the desert, to one of the biggest and fastest growing hubs of the world, filled with people from around the world and challenging the boundaries of understanding.

 

Dubai – A trip into the future.

Do Not Miss Lists

Kyoto, Japan – DNM List

DO NOT MISS LIST – Kyoto, Japan:

  1. Kiyomizudera temple – nestled into the mountains, view of the city
  2. Fushimiinari taisha shrine – personal favorite – arrive around 5pm to catch the sunset and see it after dark as well, very cool when illuminated
  3. Tofukuji temple – on the way to Fushimiibari
  4. Ginkakuji temple (silver pavilion) – the walk up to the temple grounds is just as fun as the temple itself, so enjoy the way up and down as well
  5. Kinkakuji temple (golden pavilion) – furtherest from the city center, good to pair with ryoanji
  6. Ryoanji temple – rock garden and landscaped grounds
  7. Gion district (home of the gieshas)
  8. Sanjusangendo Temple – hundreds of golden buddhas inside, beautiful site.  No indoor photography allowed
  9. Kyoto tower – view of entire city, if you’d like to get oriented 
  10. Kyoto station – an enormous above and below ground transport hub that contains your every want and need inside. The buses and trains all depart from here. There are a ton of very good restaurants including affordable/delicious sushi that comes out plate by plate on a conveyer belt. There is also a large super market here with produce, etc. at much better prices than the corner markets.