Preparations for the upcoming trip to the Pyramids…

Digging through our two remaining large suitcases, we pulled out our Africa clothes. In in After all, tomorrow we will be Africa, an appropriate time to wear our lightweight bug resistant pants and long sleeve shirts. 

The ship’s excursion staff explained in our daily bulletin that no matter the temperature when visiting Egypt and the Middle East, we must not have any exposed shoulders, knees or cleavage. 

With the recent donation of our three large suitcases, I began worrying that I didn’t have a remaining pair of “below the knee” Capri pants in a light color. We both only have shorts and blue jeans.

Tom to the rescue!  He dug out the suitcases to reveal the new clothing we’ve yet to wear that we’ve been saving for going on safari in Africa; lightweight, cool, made of natural fibers and, the bonus of insect resistant with a non toxic fruit derived substance.

Our clothing, shoes and desert hats (that cover the back of the neck) are neatly stacked for an early morning start when our group will gather in the Savoy Theatre at 7:15 am in preparation to disembark the ship and board the awaiting air conditioned buses for the 3 1/2 hour drive to our destination. 


Getting connected while out to sea has been difficult to say the least. Tom is unable to
download his daily Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper on his Nook app. I have been trying to buy one of our precious young grandsons a birthday gift but unable to bring up since we left
Barcelona on Monday.

Without photos, I can post by continuing to try to get connected, however weak throughout the day. Going to any website with photos is a lost cause. From time to time, we can receive and send email.

The process of going through the required multiple steps several times a day in an effort to connect to the ship’s WiFi is time
consuming and frustrating. It’s difficult to get the login page to appear.

One of the ship’s officers approached us as we sat in our familiar comfy booth this morning, apologizing for the poor service.  He explained that even “the bridge”
was having difficulties with the satellite signal which is vital for their navigation.

From time to time, we get an unexpected steady green light, as a sign of life on our Xcom Global MiFi. 

When the light is a steady hot pink, we’re fully connected.  The steady green allows us to get email but unable to open web pages.

By early tomorrow morning, Friday, the ship will dock in Egypt. By 7:30 am we’ll be departing for our 12 1/2 hour excursion to Cairo, the Pyramids and the Sphinx. If we both do well crossing the desert on foot for 3 1/2 hours, we’ll book another excursion for early next week. We shall
see how that goes.

The thought of an opportunity to visit a Bedouin Tribe was appealing until we talked to others having experienced this excursion on other cruises.

Apparently, something is lost in translation when such a visit day after day to the same tribes, as it’s orchestrated for tourists,.The
authenticity of their lives is lost in the cruise-lines-designed commercialization. 

Perhaps, while we’re in other parts of Africa for nine months beginning August 31, 2013, we’ll encounter opportunities to visit various
tribes in their natural habitat in a less contrived manner. 

This same commercialization is evident on all of the excursions offered by the cruise lines. (I realized that I’ve mentioned this many times). In order to see historic sites such as the upcoming events of tomorrow,
it makes sense for the sake of safety to go along on the excursion rather than
venture off on our own. 

We’ve heard enough horror stories on the news of wandering tourists being snapped up in life threatening scenarios. That won’t
be us, carelessly wandering about in a high risk area during political unrest.  We’ll always chose safety over adventure.

The shopping on the excursions is the equally frustrating, often with one quarter to one half of the time designated for the
excursion. The endless array of trinkets, wall hangings, pottery and jewelry,
although appealing to many tourists, have no place in our stuff free lives. 

For example, tomorrow’s tour requires approximately 5 hours of driving time, 3 1/2 hours of walking to see the exhibits, 1 1/2 hours for lunch in Cairo, ending in what may prove to be a full 2 full hours of shopping.

Most certainly, we’ll look at the handcrafted items, taking some photos, appreciating the quality, hard work and dedication of the
craftspeople striving to earn a living as they spend the better part of each
day in the sweltering heat.

In one of two seminars we attended yesterday, we were told not to give money to beggars and to keep our sunglasses on when shopping. Apparently, one’s dilated
pupils are a dead ringer for expressing interest in an item.  The vendors have learned to read this sign resulting in their relentless pursuit of making the sale, hoping desire for the item will win over desire to negotiate.

If I did in fact, want to make a purchase, my inclination would be to pay the asking price, if at all reasonable.  These people are very poor, living in war torn and ravaged countries to which tourists have shied away.  (We were told yesterday, that we’ll encounter few tourists in many areas as opposed to a few years ago, due to fear of
political unrest). 

As a result, their economy has greatly suffered leaving many vendors scrambling to feed their families.  Haggling seems petty when us tourists have been able to spend $1000’s to go on a luxury cruise.

In an effort to keep our eyes wide open, we try to learn as much as possible from our fellow travelers and visitors to our blog,
many of whom email us as opposed to posting in “comments” available at the end of each post. 

Please, feel free to do either. If you post comments offering us suggestions
or sharing your own stories, we are able to share them with all of our readers on our site. We love hearing from people we meet, family and friends and our readers from all over the world.

Last night we joined our new friends for dinner in the Sound of Music dining room for yet another good meal, impeccable service and attention to every detail in my limited diet.

After dinner we walked along the “Royal Promenade” to the Savoy Theatre for a rip roaring laugh fest with a hilarious comedian. Could Tom laugh any louder?

Last night for the third night in a row, I slept
through the night, a full seven hours.
This is a rarity for me.  No melatonin, no Tylenol PM and no Formula 303 was necessary to get me to drift off into much needed oblivion. 

The comfortable bed, blankets and pillows, coupled with the smooth seas must be a
factor in this uncommon phenomenon. 

These next 12 days hold much for us to behold, adventures beyond our wildest dreams, with the ongoing opportunity to engage with world travelers of varied interests and experiences. 

This, my friends, is how we’ve envisioned ourbtravels…full of wonder, swept up in the rich history of each area all the while in awe of its people and cultures that helped shaped our world. 

We’ll be back on Saturday with photos of our visit to Egypt,  In port for four days, we’ll be able to use our MiFi for a fast connections enabling us to upload photos.

Joyfully, we carry on…

From couch potato to world traveler…Happy birthday to my husband…

A hard-working, dedicated man, helper around the house, a supporter of my every whim, compassionate to my every sorrow, and infinitely able to make me laugh when I wanted to cry, my husband Tom has been a rock.

Today, we celebrate his 60th birthday. The world didn’t end of the 21st as he so fervently predicted, leaving us here today to celebrate his special day, the holiday season, and our upcoming world travels beginning in a mere 11 days.

Happy birthday, my love.  I commend you for getting up from your former comfy chair, away from your Minnesota Vikings, out from behind your computer endlessly researching your ancestry and freeing yourself from the constant chatter of mindless drivel on TV in the background.

I admire your courage to make this enormous change, leaving everyone you know and love behind (except me) to venture out into an unknown world of uncertainty, risk, and challenge.

I admire you for leaving behind everything familiar in your world in which you found the cocoon that comforted you after long days of work, the unbearable drive to and from, the smell of diesel fuel, and the wrenching exposure to chemicals around you each day.

Reaching for a purpose beyond that which we currently know, you stretch yourself to the limits, and I, a loyal follower travel with you. What lies ahead of us on the plains of Africa, the shores of southern  France, the Mayan ruins, the Great Pyramids remains to be seen.  Together, holding hands, we reach for the stars in the last decades of our lives, fearless, strong, and in love.

What more could I ask for?  Nothing.  Nothing more.

So today for the first time on your birthday, I have no gift for you to unwrap. You have no room in your luggage for yet the tiniest of trinkets. 

I give you, Tom Lyman, husband, lover, and best friend of mine, ongoing, on growing love and devotion, combined with an unending curiosity to gain further knowledge of this side of you that I have yet to learn.  This in itself, adds an element of adventure that I anxiously await.

Happy birthday, Tom Lyman, for on this day your 60th birthday as we celebrate with family and friends, you embark on this new chapter in your life, with me, my love,  simply writing the words along the way.

I love you.