25 March 2010

Lowest point of the year (physically if not emotionally)

Useful sign - we still had a long way down to drive

This nice man sold me some lovely flatbread - my hotel was so overpriced I decided that it would be sandwiches

Australian couple - "Take a photo and email it please" - the gent is an artist, here is his impression...

read about it at Ashleigh Manley 365

Time for me... (officially [dead] sea level is -422m)

That is Israel on the other side - will have to wait until my passport is about to expire

24 March 2010

Wadi Rum (blame that film by David Lean)

Lets off road!

Time for tea

All peaceful now...

(from the movie)

(and today)

Desert camping 2010 style - if I had known I would have asked for "rough" camping with the Bedu

23 March 2010

Petra - by night

I guess that there is a "all lit up" night visit to Petra on some company's itinerary - I did not mean to visit after dark - just that it took a very long time to walk back from the view point... (there are many competing "views" - each with increasingly desperate signs and accompanying little shop - click on the picture)

To the side the view was pretty good - but over the Jordan Valley - nope...

The very long walk back (no donkeys after twilight) did mean I had the whole place pretty much to myself - except for the Treasury Tea Shop Man and a nervous lady tourist who was waiting for someone with a flashlight to lead the way out  (me!).  During the day it gets very busy indeed

(Above, 3 seconds at F4!)

That is the moon over the "Treasury"
 The next morning

20 March 2010

Bakdash - Damascus - Best Ice Cream in the World?

125 years old - and always full to bursting

It is famous for its pistachio-covered Booza, a pounded ice cream with an elastic texture made of mastic and sahlab. It is famous around the Arab World and has become a popular touristic attraction.

You can see them making the ice cream right in front of you - a bunch of burly men pounding away with big pestles - from the rate of sale I reckon the average Booza life is about 15 minutes from making to consumption.

The shop - and there is only one - is a good place to relocate when you get lost in old Damascus.  If you are lucky you might meet visiting presidents, kings and UN cultural ambassadors...

That is Brad and Angelina staying at my hotel (October 2009)

The owner was interviewed on BBC world - no plans to expand - no wish to lose direct control over a business and product formula that has lasted 125 years, including the fall of the Ottoman Empire, WW1, The French protectorate and any number of tricky situations following.

17 March 2010

Ummayad Mosque with Mr Nassr (and a cast of 1000 school children)

The Ummayad Mosque

It might be one of the holiest sites in Islam - but it does not stop school kids having fun!


... and very keen to practise their English with the strange tourist who was happy to stop and talk... "can you count?", "of course we can!" - and the whole class shouting "one, two, three, four..." at the top of their voices

12 March 2010

Another 11 days in Wroclaw

Chris and Adrian - "This is one of our 5-a-day" .  So nice they had another couple just be extra healthy.

I decided on a fruit alternative

This is the view from the nice factory office (windows have slats - like the blast shields at Cape Canaveral launch control - to do with reducing solar gain in this case).

This is the view from my office - no windows - but we do have three holes which appeared one morning.  Sadly now used to attach hygenically various pipes to the partition.