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Old 02-02-2011, 09:52 PM   #1
_Q_
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Default _Q_'s Middle East trip

I don't usually post much here, mostly I like to just lurk and read everyone's (mostly) great insight. So most of you probably didn't notice that I was missing for about 3 weeks around Christmas and New Years.

Since I am originally from the Middle East (Palestinian that immigrated to Canada when I was 7 years old), I thought it would be fun to visit some relatives "back home". Now for a Palestinian, back home rarely ever means going back to Gaza, West Bank or Israel. In fact, I have relatives almost everywhere but those places, so it is kind of a blessing in that sense. The original plan was to visit relatives in Jordan, but as soon as I told my best friend about my plan he promised to come if I was willing to expand my trip a little bit. So after months of planning and deliberation, we decided on 3 weeks, approximately 1 week in each one of Lebanon, Jordan and the now infamous Egypt.

I can go on and on about the trip, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Instead of boring everyone with a bunch of pictures, I'll post what I think are the best out of the 1000 or so pictures I took. At the end, I think I saw exactly what I expected, but probably not what most of you guys would expect. So feel free to ask me questions or just have a look. Those three countries are amazing places, and I am happy I can share my trip with you guys.

First stop, Cairo Egypt. I didn't know what to expect when I got there and honestly the poverty there was a bit of a shock to me. I had been to Cairo previously when I was 5 years old, but I guess when you have to fend for yourself, it's a completely different experience. I am glad I went, but I am not sure I would go back again (especially if the regime change doesn't change much).

Cairo, Egypt - Khan El Khalili




Giza, Egypt - The Pyramids






When I took these next two pictures, I never thought much of it, but after the events of the last week, it seems a bit surreal to know that I was there a few weeks ago.

Cairo, Egypt - National Museum


Cairo, Egypt - The now infamous Tahrir Square


Next Stop Beirut, Lebanon. Huge difference between Egypt and Lebanon. It's less crowded, not as hot and not as "third world". My friend was utterly surprised at how much cleaner Beirut was than Cairo.

Beirut, Lebanon - Downtown






Anjar, Lebanon




Baalbek, Lebanon








Byblos, Lebanon (one of my favorite places in the world)












Harissa, Lebanon






Up next was Amman, Jordan. There isn't much to do in Amman itself, but it is almost North America like in it's cleanliness and organization. The true beauty however, is all the areas outside of Amman. This was probably my favorite part of the trip.

Dead Sea, Jordan


Aqaba, Jordan (By the Red Sea)




Wadi Rum, Jordan










Petra, Jordan














I also went to Sharm El Sheikh afterwards, but there isn't much to see there other than beaches and sand. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed.

Last edited by _Q_; 02-02-2011 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:59 PM   #2
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looks like a wicked trip! Jordan is one place I must visit!
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:00 PM   #3
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Absolutely gorgeous. Lots of memories for me, as I spent quite a bit of time travelling around that area of the world.

The Red Sea is stunning.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:15 PM   #4
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Yeah, Jordan is kind a hidden treasure. Not many people think about going there, but I enjoyed my time the most there. It's the safest and like I said earlier, most similar to North America out of all the places I went.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:23 PM   #5
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I was talking with my barber about Lebanon today. I was also in Egypt in Oct/Nov, and told him that and he said I would love Lebanon. Your pictures of Beruit look amazing. After being in Cairo myself, it is indeed sort of 3rd worldish. I walked that same route by the blue fence by Tahrir Square as well. It is quite amazing to have just been there and watch what is going on there now. I agree with you.

Fantastic pictures.

And also Aquaba! I've always wanted to go there, just because of Lawrence of Arabia. Closest I got was Dahab, so I was just down the Gulf from you. One other thing that was amazing to me when I was in Dahab was that I could see Saudi Arabia across the gulf on the other side during the day, and at night I could see the Saudi village lights.

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Old 02-02-2011, 10:40 PM   #6
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You have a great eye for photography! Some amazing pictures in there. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:43 PM   #7
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We need more stone architecture.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:45 PM   #8
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Great pictures man. Petra seems amazing. I've been in awe of it ever since I saw Indian Jones and the Last Crusade as a kid. Thats one place I'd love to see in real life.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:47 PM   #9
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From Al-Jazeera's website:


Pretty much identical location from where I took my picture.

Worth, I'm sure you had some terrible experiences with the cabs in Cairo. That was one thing I never got over, was how badly the Egyptians tried to scam anyone that looked like a foreigner. Then I talked with a friend there, and she told me basically what has been re-iterated on CNN the last few days, people in Egypt live off of $2 a day. So in a sense it made is a bit justified. Still, while you're there, it's very annoying.

The biggest difference I noticed between Lebanon and Egypt was the lack of this attitude there. For example taxi prices are set at 2000 lebanese lyra (about $1.30) per person for a ride anywhere within Beirut (not the metropolitan area). So you go into a cab, tell him you're going downtown for example, give him his cash while he's driving and you get to your destination within a few minutes. Another example was the price of 1.5L of water in Beirut is 1500 lyra, so when I got to Junieh (about 20 km north of beirut) I handed the shop owner 2000 lyra, expecting to get 500 back. He gave me 1000 back and said, water is cheaper here than Beirut. That attitude was refreshing after spending a few days in Cairo. Beirut is still kind of thirdworldish as you say, but it has 2 million people as opposed to 24. So the air is cleaner, the streets are less crowded and money is spent better on infrastructure.

Aqaba, is just amazing. I am sure it is similar to Dahab, since it's in the same vicinity. You can actually see Eilat, Israel from Aqaba. It's so close, that it looks like it's part of the same metropolitan area at night. Probably the best part of my trip however was offroading in Wadi Rum, just 30 minutes from Aqaba. I am lucky that my cousin was willing to take his SUV (the one you see in the picture) off road.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:16 PM   #10
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Ever since i watched Departures and they went to Jordan i have wanted to go. Petra has to be one of the coolest places in the world.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerSVT View Post
Ever since i watched Departures and they went to Jordan i have wanted to go. Petra has to be one of the coolest places in the world.
hooked on the show.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:39 AM   #12
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Great trip and photos. Petra is so amazing. I'm so glad to have had a chance to go there. Would definitely recommend Jordan on the whole as a destination. I wish I'd been able to go to Lebanon when I was in Jordan, but alas. I did get to one of the Roman ruins in northern Jordan (can't remember the name of it now), but it wasn't nearly as impressive as Byblos. I'd love to go see more of the area some day.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:44 AM   #13
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Wow. Simply wow!
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:50 AM   #14
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I've only been to Lebanon and it's a beautiful place. Too bad hezbullah is ruining that country.

Still very democratic. You feel safe there just like in Canada. I actually felt safer there. Hitchhiking is normal there and the first car you see will stop. Even if you're walking on the road they will stop and offer you a ride.

You just have to stay away from areas to the South controlled by Hezbullah. We drove by miles and miles of Marijuana fields that Hezbullah owned. Pretty hypocritical of them claiming to be Muslim and still selling drugs.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:15 AM   #15
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My barber has been trying to convince me to see Lebanon for a number of years. Your photos may have just pushed that over the top, thank you.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:31 AM   #16
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Wait, so you're telling me the Middle East isn't just a bunch of scary people who want to blow me up? Why didn't FOX News tell me this?

Looks like an awesome trip, hopefully one day I'll have the time to get over there and see the area properly. I'd hate to try to do it in a whirlwind fashion.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:48 AM   #17
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I have always wanted to go to Jordan.

Part of me also wants to go to Lebanon but another part wonders why risk it.

Also, cabbies are scams in almost every country. For me Greece was the worst, I dont care how much people make a day, if the fare is crazy cheap (like 1.50) for a cab ride then I will give a $5-10 tip to make up for it, just dont try to scam me.
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:51 AM   #18
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hooked on the show.
I liked seasons 1 & 2, Season 3 was a disappointment and they seemed like they wanted to go home the whole time.
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:03 PM   #19
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I liked seasons 1 & 2, Season 3 was a disappointment and they seemed like they wanted to go home the whole time.
Agreed. Just discovered this show in the summer, still haven't seen all of them but I noticed that similar vibe in season 3, what I've seen of it anyway. Justin kind of seems like he's pining for home the entire series here & there, but especially in the last season. I'm amazed Scott was able to keep the same girlfriend for the entire duration of the series.
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:29 PM   #20
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Wow, some of those waterfront pictures of Lebanon and Jordan are amazing!

Thanks for sharing man, helps us see a different part of the world.
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