Rome to Dubai Cruise, 2009
(click on the thumbnail pictures to view them in full size)
Day 1 (10/21) - Albany (ALB) - New York (JFK) - Paris (ORY) - Rome (FCO)
At JFK I passed by the Dahm triplets as they were in line to board a plane at Terminal 7. Who are the Dahm triplets you ask? Well, they are three striking, blond, identical triplets who gained notoriety after posing in Playboy and appearing on the Howard Stern Show. It was a weird scene that had captured the attention of everyone in the terminal. I didn't get any pictures but you can see the sisters here.
Wicked ad at JFK Bulkhead seat - legroom galore!
Day 2 (10/22) - Rome, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel
Day 3 (10/23) - Rome, Vatican City, Civitavecchia Port, Legend of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
(panorama of the previous five pictures of St Peters Square - Big! 14MB)
Day 4 (10/24) - Cruising: Tyrrhenian Sea, Stromboli Volcano, Sicily, Strait of Messina
We passed through the narrow body of water between Sicily and the Italian mainland, the Strait of Messina. It's a popular cruise ship route because of the spectacular scenery -- though today it was lessened somewhat by the rain and clouds. Just north of the strait is the lone Stromboli volcano standing out of the ocean (with its peak obscured by clouds). If you look closely you can see a settlement of houses on its side.
Day 5 (10/25) - Cruising: Mediterranean
Day 6 (10/26) - Egypt: Alexandria, Cairo, Nile, Pyramids at Giza
The day started with a three-hour ride from Alexandria to the Giza Plateau at Cairo (escorted by armed police officers). Giza is home to the three largest pyramids and, of course, the Sphinx. The Cairo metro area is home to 18 million people -- perhaps the second or third most populated area in the world -- and it seems like most of the residents were at the pyramids selling souvenirs! "Selling" is not really the appropriate term. It's a full-frontal assault using every sales tactic imaginable. These locals would follow you around for 10 minutes if they thought they could wear you down and get you to buy a trinket. Even the cops were in on it. They would take your picture for a small honorarium or let you actually climb on the pyramids -- right next to signs that clearly said "No Climbing". You could also take a camel ride for about five bucks -- I didn't.
The temperatures were expected to be in the 90's but the clouds rolled in and we had a little rain! Yes, it rained in the Sahara desert! After Giza, we drove through downtown Cairo and crossed the Nile to go the the Cairo museum -- home of the treasures from the tomb of King Tut. The coffin his mummy was found in is thought to be the largest single piece of pure gold (250 lbs) in the world! Pretty cool stuff but no cameras were allowed.
Day 7 (10/27) - Cruising: Eastern Mediterranean
Day 8 (10/28) - Suez Canal
We entered the Suez Canal at Port Said in the north and exited at Suez in the south. The entire transit of the canal is done at sea level -- there are no locks. The canal is only wide enough for traffic to travel in one direction at a time and the largest ships are too big to use the canal.
The east side of the canal is the Sinai peninsula (Egypt) and is considered part Asia. There is no development to speak of on the east -- just sand. The west side is developed for much of the length of the canal.
The most notable part of this section of the cruise were the flies that overtook the ship while in the canal.
These two pictures are of a mosque at the southern end of the canal at Suez.
Day 9 (10/29) - Egypt: Safaga, Luxor, Valley of the Kings
Further down (actually "up") the Nile is Luxor (formerly Thebes). The people lived on the east side of the river and buried their deceased -- including the kings -- on the west side. They did this in following the tradition of the Sun which comes to life each day on the east and dies each night in the west.
Luxor contains two major temple complexes: Karnak temple and Luxor temple. On the west side of the Nile is the Valley of the Kings and numerous other temples. This area is definitely "the" major location for antiquities in all of Egypt.
Safaga is a small port city on the Red Sea. It was about a four-hour ride from the port to Luxor. Safaga is a ferry stop for Muslims making their pilgrimage to Mecca. There were hundreds of men waiting near the port area for the next ferry.
(West Bank Panorama 14MB)
Day 10 (10/30) - Cruising: Red Sea
Day 11 (10/31) - Cruising: Red Sea
Day 12 (11/1) - Cruising: Gulf of Aden (See this letter from the ship's captain regarding Somali pirate activity.)
Day 13 (11/2) - Cruising: Arabian Sea
Day 14 (11/3) - Cruising: Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf
Day 15 (11/4) - Dubai
Day 16 (11/5) - Dubai (DBX) - Istanbul - Paris (CDG)
Day 17 (11/6) - Paris
Day 18 (11/7) - Paris (ORY) - New York (JFK) - Albany (ALB)
Day 19 (11/8) Boston - Roger Daltrey concert!!!
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