Posts Tagged With: Bus

Romans and Roaming Camels

Jan 7 2009
Wake up was at 6:15am. It was awful! I went back to bed. I timed it close and ate my breakfast in the room. I only went downstairs for a glass of water. I dropped my bag off in the lobby and we all waited outside the hotel a while. We found out that something was wrong with our bus. We said bye to Hilla and took some pictures with her. I wish she could have stayed longer so I could have gotten to know her better. I went back to our room one more time to make sure we had everything and then I handed our key in.

We found out that we were going to be delayed in Tiberias for awhile because of the bus situation. Shabat had us walk back in to the hotel and use the 2nd floor bridge to cross over to the area by the water. We sat on the rocks as Shabat talked to use about the Sea of Galilee. After a while Anna took out her banjo and started playing and singing. When I was looking around I noticed a sign that said “Go in Peace” and next to it were our two armed guards. Nice contrast. I wasn’t really paying attention to the other members in our group, but all of a sudden I saw Sarit was bent over with her hands on her face. Then she started crying. Anna screamed for Lior, but he didn’t hear her. I screamed for him as well and he finally looked up. It turns out Sarit got hit in the face with a rock. Staci, Lior, Keren, and Guy took her to the hotel.

Not too long after that Shabat told us the bus was fixed and it was time to leave. Ali and I ran to the bus and threw our stuff in. We also reserved seats. We ran to the 2nd floor to use the restroom before our long ride. It took awhile to load the bus and other people had the same restroom idea. Plus others went to the “restaurant” in the hotel to get some eggs to snack on. I was upset we got up at the crack of dawn only to leave at 11:30am. I could have slept another 3 hours.

I enjoyed looking at Tiberias as we left. It made me wish that we could have had more of an opportunity to walk around.

We drove for a bit and then came to a pit stop. Shabat gave us no warning as to what we were about to see. The sign said Bet Shean National Park. Once we got through the gates I was amazed at what I was seeing. It was like stepping back in time and it reminded me of my trip to Athens. Needless to say I was on cloud 9! I noticed an awesome gift shop, but I had a feeling Shabat wouldn’t let us stop there.

As we followed Shabat all I saw were rows of columns. We finally turned a corner and entered into an intact amphitheater. It honestly took my breath away. It was 10 times better than the one I saw in Athens. How did I not know this place existed? Shabat had us sit in the theater and took out his map. He draped it across Anna’s head and body, which was hilarious. He explained that the Romans had left this place after they had taken over Judea. So it wasn’t Greek, but then again the Romans stole their architecture from the Greeks, so of course it looked extremely similar. Shabat gave us a history lesson and I had to jump in at a point. How could I resist not talking about the ancient civilizations? We then forced Julie to go down to the stage and test the acoustics. They worked!!!

Then we walked around the rest of the ruins, which was mainly bath houses and columns. Then Shabat said we had a couple of minutes to use the restrooms before getting back on the bus. My plan was to use the restroom and shop in the amount of time given. So I ran to the restrooms and was first. Then I went straight into the gift shop. It was so big and there was so much to see. I wound up buying a mini replica of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some pens, and some postcards. While I was paying Shabat walked in to rush us to the bus. We got back on our bus and continued our drive to the Bedouin area.

Then we started Bus 804 Karaoke. It was very entertaining. Dror and Roi sang a lot. Then it switched to funny jokes. Ricky told a great one and Lior did as well. I don’t remember the whole thing, but it had something to do with stepping on bunnies, being ugly, and being chained to someone. Shabat told a sexual joke, which surprised a lot of people. He even had this guy sitting on a toilet picture and you had to use your fingers to make him a butt. Then he talked to us about the Judea Desert and the Dead Sea Scrolls. I took a lot of desert shots as we drove.

We stopped for lunch at Beit Haarava, which is the lowest place in the world. It’s 394 meters below sea level. The two options for lunch didn’t look very good or very clean. They were fast foody. Jen didn’t want to buy anything, but Lior convinced her to buy a falafel. I ate my own food and took a bite of Jen’s when she didn’t want anymore. I had promised my NYC falafel guy that I would try some in Israel and compare. The Israeli guys in NYC have better. I liked watching the strange contrasts as we sat there. There were camels, our big tour bus, and a military vehicle.

We got back on our bus and continued our drive. We had to stop at a military/police checkpoint. We drove through lots of desert before we spotted a group of trees in the distance. The trees were where our Bedouin tents were. I was excited and nervous. We really were in the middle of nowhere.

We got our day packs off the bus and went into the giant tent we were directed towards. It was extremely hard to get into the tent. You had to lift this heavy carpet material off the ground and then scoot in under it. For tall people this was a problem especially with having a bag. I placed my stuff near one of the metal poles.

Then we were given an opportunity to shop at the little Bedouin store. A lot of the girls bought hand knit scarves. Ben bought a shirt/jacket/hoodie thing that officially made him look like Moses. I bought a bag for Gayla. We dropped off our purchases and then went to the camel area.

There weren’t enough camels for everyone. So a little less than half the group could ride into the desert on a camel. The rest would have to be on donkeys. I didn’t want to ride on a donkey so I walked along with a couple of others. I’m glad I didn’t choose a donkey because they were low to the ground so the feet of the people riding them hit a lot of rocks and donkey poop. We got halfway into the desert and it was time to switch. I walked over to the 1st camel and waited for a partner. Ricky joined me. I was in the front of the camel and Ricky was in the back. It was a lot of fun!! Who would have ever thought that I would be riding a camel through the desert as the sun was setting?! The camels had extreme personalities. They made this loud screaming kind of noise and one even tried to eat Jordi’s hair.

After the camels we went to a tent all the way in the back of the village. They made the vegetarians and the meat eaters divide up. I was of course in the veggie group. They gave us this huge elevated tray for our group. It contained rice, bread, water, and vegetable skewers. I stuck to bread, rice, and the water. I had some cookies that I brought for dessert and I gave some to Anna as well.

After that we went into the main tent to listen to some music. It was a lot of fun and very entertaining. It was called a drum circle and pretty much was one big exotic jam session.

After the drum circle we went back to our sleeping tent. The Israelis were in a group talking. They all had dark sunglasses on. We knew something was up. Then they yelled at us to stand in straight lines in rows. They taught us how to salute properly and how to respond to commands/orders. Anyone who laughed or messed up had to do push-up’s. They were showing us what it was like to be in the IDF.

Afterwards we went for a walk in the desert. We sat and laid back in the sand while looking up at the sky. We talked for a while. When we went back to the tents a couple of us hung out at the bonfire outside our tent. I stayed only for a little bit. I preferred to get some sleep.

I waited on a long line for the bathroom area to change and wash. Then I went to bed. There were only a couple of us that chose to go to bed “early.” I slept on the mat and blanket they gave us. I used my coat and scarf for a pillow. Surprisingly, I slept.

Categories: Asia, Food, History, Israel, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watching the Sun Set as we Head to Cairo

8/5/11

We stopped at a grocery store so we could stock up on items for our 5-6hr bus ride. I didn’t get off the bus. Paul, Michael, Sonia, and I played hangman and created a story for a bit. Then I watched movies on my iPod. We made a rest stop in Zafarana where we bought a ticket for the bathroom. There was also food at the restroom stop, but none of us got anything. The place really didn’t seem that clean. I wanted to buy Red Sea postcards from them, but they were dirty.

We got back on the bus and Sherif put on Evan Almighty for us to watch. I wanted to see the Prince of Egypt instead. O well. We watched the sun go down as we drove. The drivers and Sherif ate their meal at the front of the bus. Sherif told me that his Swiss Army knife was taken from him when they had to unexpectedly fly to Aswan during the train strike. He peeled some fruit for the sick kids to eat.

We headed back to the Victoria Hotel in Cairo. I got stuck in the elevator with the porter and he had to carry my bag to my room. I had no money to tip him. It was also his fault we got stuck in the first place. I had the same room as the last time I was here. I went to the goodbye dinner, but didn’t eat anything. We filled out our surveys. I gave Sherif his tip. I wound up giving him more than the $36 I expected. I think I wound up giving him $50 or $60. Well worth the money. I took a picture with Sherif and realized I forgot his gift in my room. It was too late. He had to leave for Alexandria. It was sad to say goodbye.

I used the internet to check my email and deal with my flight. They changed my seats and I was not happy. I went back to my room and unpacked everything so I could repack properly. I stopped by Sonja and Lexi’s room to say goodbye, give them extra food, and drop off Paul’s burn gel. They had my Isis Nefertari painting in their room. It was almost 1am. Time to sleep. Last time in Egypt.

Categories: Africa, Egypt, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stepping Back in Time with the Roedde Family

6/11/13
We had breakfast in the room with the food from Regency Club. We organized our stuff and made sure we were all packed.

We headed out to the Roedde House. I was excited to see it. My mom and I love to visit old historic homes. We passed the Abbott House as we walked. This is another old home but is privately owned. We found Roedde House and rang the bell. Nobody answered. We tried again. Still nobody. I walked around the house and saw that there were lights on. We rang again. Nothing. I was getting nervous. I really wanted to do this. I decided to knock and ring. That finally brought somebody to the door. Thank goodness! She was on the phone, but ushered us in.

Right away I knew I was going to love the house. It was so charming. My mom was already smiling. The young lady got off the phone and apologized. She was the only one there. I showed her my Foursquare deal where you get two admissions for the price of one. $5 for two people was a good deal. She said she was new and didn’t know anything about it, but took it anyway. I was worried that new meant she was going to be a horrible tour guide. She offered to give us a tour and since we were the only people there it was a private tour.

The house is late-Victorian and was built in the Queen Anne revival style. Gustav Roedde, the city’s first bookbinder, had the house built for his family in 1893. There are 11 rooms that you can see. We saw the parlor, living room, kitchen, pantry, master bedroom, boys’ bedroom, girls’ bedroom, bathroom, two work areas, and a servants area that leads to the backstairs. There were many original artifacts that belonged to the family and the other artifacts were from the right time period, but didn’t belong to the family. Gustav’s wife, Matilda, was very short and you can see everything has been adjusted for her height throughout the house. This house also had built in closets which is unusual for the time period. Our tour guide told us that house’s design is generally attributed to the architect, Francis Rattenbury, notable for the Legislative Buildings and Empress Hotel in Victoria. Overall the tour was great! Our tour guide was extremely informative despite being new. She had a great speaking style.

After Roedde House we looked at the outside of Barclay Manor, which is next door and is now an old age home. We decided to do Robson St. We window shopped and stopped in a vintage shop and a cupcake place. The vintage shop was too expensive, but had amazing stuff. We bought a cupcake from the cupcake place. We went into the mall inside our hotel (Royal Centre Mall) which was anything but a mall. We spent 10 minutes walking around and headed back to the room.

We checked out of our room and spent the next two hours hanging out in the Regency Club. We split the cupcake which was just ok. We read magazines, but spent most of our time watching the Frame channel. Frame channel has cameras all around the world and switches between their cameras every 5 to 10 minutes. So you get to people watch, see the world, and learn about new places. They don’t tell you where the camera is. So my mom and I used clues to guess. We would look at the language of the signs, the architecture, the people, the bags people were carrying, the time of day, etc. It was so much fun. The channel doesn’t have typical commercials. Instead, they quickly show postcard quality images of places from around the world. I posted Egypt and Japan at the bottom of this post.

We left Regency to walk around more. We visited an old church across the street from our hotel. The stained glass and wood work were incredible. Then we walked further down to another mini mall. I found a dress in H&M and waited on line to try it on. The dressing room smelled like evil nasty feet. I bought the dress cause it was on sale, but 12% sales tax jacked the price up. We ran back to our hotel and picked up our bags. Off to Amtrak.

We got to the station and they were already boarding. My mom filled out our customs forms while we were on line. We we were assigned seats and then had to go through customs. The customs agent checked out forms and passports. He asked us questions and my mom made a joke. He didn’t find it funny. He then yelled at her for writing NY instead of New York. We had to put our stuff on scanners. Then we could finally board. We were in business class. The seats were comfy and there were a lot of foreigners in our car. My mom used our coupons for a water and cinnamon bun. The train ride went by fast because the view was amazing!! If you are taking Amtrak from Vancouver to Seattle make sure to ask for seats on the right side of the train. The sun was setting as we traveled which made the view even more spectacular. Tomorrow I will post an entry just of the pictures from the train ride. We stopped at the US border. Border agents boarded our train and took our forms. The train ride was pretty uneventful except for the man across from us peeing 7 times in 5 hours. He drank 3 large bottles of sprite and 3 cans of beer. He didn’t eat a thing. Strange.

We pulled into Seattle after 10pm and despite having directions we were utterly lost. A nice man pointed us in the right direction. Many buses in Seattle are underground! Crazy I know. We found our bus, yelled at people to get our of our way, ran for the bus, and made it. The bus dropped us off 3 blocks from our hotel.

The Hyatt was sold out. The Houston Astros were at our hotel. We got to our room and immediately saw a huge welcome basket filled with food and drinks. Nice! Then I looked up and noticed our view. We had a view of the Space Needle. It was so beautiful! We took a bunch of photos and settled in. We were exhausted.


Categories: Canada, Family Vacation, History, Seattle, Travel, USA, Vancouver | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things Get Steamy in Gastown

6/10/13

We headed out to the visitors’ centre to see if there were any special discounts. The centre was being remodeled so it was moved to the Convention Centre across the street. There was a science convention going on. The visitor centre was just a couple of brochures and some free postcards. We left and stood outside admiring the view of the water and mountains.

We went next door to Canada Place. The Disney Wonder cruise ship was docked there. I became obsessed with it. I had never seen one up close before. It was beyond massive!!! I could not believe something so big could float. We went to the 1812 exhibit which said it was closed. I was really upset. I really wanted to do it. We continued walking around Canada Place and examined the other cruise ship that was docked there. We swung back around and saw that the 1812 exhibit was open. Yeah!!!

The exhibit was free. It started with a movie and some special effects (smoke and loud noises). The exhibit was super small. It was the size of a bathroom. There were some interactive screens and some reproductions of uniforms and guns. There were a couple of original artifacts. The exhibit had free postcards, stickers, and magnets. It also had a machine where you could take a picture of yourself as a historic figure from the exhibit and send it to yourself as a postcard. My small head didn’t work well with it, but it was still fun.

Next we went in search of a place that had these special buns but couldn’t find it so we gave up. We walked to Gastown which is supposed to be sketchy. Aside from a handful of homeless it wasn’t so bad. I wanted to go straight to the clock to catch the 1pm whistles, but my mom wanted to go to the dollar store. We argued and she won. We bought some candy and I bought some chocolates to give to UGA staff and my Au Bon Pain friends. I bought Disney Kinder which the 5 year old girl inside of me fell in love with. Each chocolate has a Disney princess inside. I bought 3 hoping for Jasmine. I got Rapunzel, Belle, and Aurora. No Jasmine :-(.

We headed to the steam clock, which really was steaming. We waited for the whistles but there was nothing. We took pictures and went into nearby souvenir stores to shop. In the store we heard the whistle. We missed it! The lady in the store told us that it is better on the hour. I knew we should have gone at 1pm. Now we had to wait until 2pm. We shopped until 2 and caught it whistling. See the video below:

We then headed to Gassy Jack. We took pictures and went to Deluxe Junk Co. which wound up being out of business. We needed to head to the Museum of Anthropology. We wanted to use the restroom and buy tickets first. We walked to the Fairmont Hotel and used their super fancy restroom. We bought four bus tickets and walked to the bus.

Our bus driver was beyond slow!!! He was driving me nuts. He gets on the phone and calls his boss and says he’s running late. Hmmm I wonder why. He boss tells him to dump us all at the next stop. I’m pissed my directions are for the bus we are on not for this other bus. Without Internet we will be lost. We get on the new bus and are left off at the University of BC. The driver informs my mom and I that we have a mile to walk to get to the museum. Super fun! We run the mile because the museum is closing soon.

I get to the museum and only have 45 mins. I figured they would discount it. Many museums don’t charge in the last hour. Nope, full price. I grab my mom’s tablet and take pictures of almost every item. The museum isn’t really my taste. I like Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and Japan. This museum focuses on Native Americans and South America. There were some Chinese, Japanese and Greek pieces, but nothing big or spectacular. I still enjoyed looking at the masks and some of the Shinto pieces. I rushed and was done in about 35 mins. My mom bought me two postcards while I was in the museum.

We headed to the Chen Center aka the 4400 Center. The area had tons of flowers which meant tons of bugs. I didn’t want to stick around. My mom struggled to take a good picture of me with the entire building. I was obsessed with the 4400 TV show so the center meant something to me.

We walked to the bus which wound up being a mile away. I was melting from all my layers. The bus finally came and our tickets were expired. We thought they were good for 90 mins from being swiped/inserted not from time of purchase. We were screwed. The bus was in the middle of nowhere. The driver let us on. There were no seats and we had to stand for 40 mins after a two mile walk in the last hour.

We went straight to Regency for cold waters and food. I had mozzarella balls and garlic bread again. There were stuffed mushrooms, but I haven’t had mushrooms since I got violently ill from them in 2010. They had chicken salad on a chip. The chicken salad looked like cat food. Seriously. With nothing else to eat I forced myself to eat some. Dessert was mini cakes. I had two minis.

At 9pm we heard the loud noise again. This time it sounded like a canon. A quick google search told me they sound a canon every night at 9pm.

Categories: Canada, Family Vacation, History, Travel, Vancouver | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plymouth

We walked over to PF Chang’s from our hotel. This was the meeting point for our bus to Plymouth. My mom and I boarded the bus and sat in the front. The driver seemed nice and told us about a great Cupcake place called Cupcake Charlie’s. We couldn’t wait to try it.

Our first stop was Plimoth Plantation. The first area was about the Native Americans. There were hollowed out canoes and wigwams. They had actors inside that were making blankets and other items. We walked further and came to the wall and entrance to the settlement. It was like immediately stepping back in time. There were all the hatched houses. There were men and women walking around in costume. There were animals wandering around. Some homes you could look around and some had actors completing chores in them. Some of the actors were building a roof for a house. Some were taking care of the animals. Others were farming. The homes were in a long row. It was informative and a lot of fun. You could even see the spot where they originally landed all the way out in the distance. We saw the meeting house and the canons on top of the meeting house. We went into a workshop where the actors were making furniture.

There’s a cafeteria and two gift shops. I did a press a penny and bought several things at the gift stores. We even bought fudge. I enjoyed the stores they were a step above many I have been to. We boarded the bus and were headed to see the Mayflower. The bus driver took us to the town of Plymouth which has the famous Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II, and a bunch of shops.

We did Cupcake Charlie’s first. Turns out they were about to be on an episode of Cupcake Wars with Duff as the guest judge. I got a cookies n cream one or something similar to that. My mom got a red velvet one. They were amazing! Some of the best cupcakes we’ve ever had. So we bought more to bring back with us. Next we headed to Plymouth Rock. We took pictures and heard a local tell us that the local teen males like to try to pee on the rock at night. Lovely. After that I bought a ticket to go on the Mayflower II. Why II? The first one disappeared and no one knows where it is. So they built a replica of it. I was able to walk around on deck and below deck. Such a tiny space for so many passengers! Glad I wasn’t a Pilgrim. After that we found first street, which is the first street in America. We also found the creek that the pilgrims used to use. We went into several tourist shops and I bought a black and white Mayflower shirt that was on super sale. There were statues commemorating the pilgrims and the Native Americans. We used the public restroom near the Mayflower and got back on the bus.

We then were brought to the National Monument to the Forefathers. It’s 81 ft tall and has the names of the pilgrims on it. It also shows an image of the Mayflower Compact. There’s a section for liberty, morality, law, and education. It was pretty interesting to look at. Once the photo opportunity was over it was back on the bus. The bus driver asked where he could drop everyone back in Boston. We told him we wanted to get off right where he picked us up since we were going to go to Maggiano’s for dinner.

The tour was great and so was dinner. We got fried zucchini and pasta to share. The restaurant wasn’t busy and the waiter offered us a free meal to go. We declined because we didn’t have a fridge at our hotel. We then went to see Make Way for Ducklings and Cheers.

Categories: Boston, Family Vacation, Food, History, Plymouth, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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