Thursday, May 8, 2008

Family Pictures

I stole these pictures off my sister's (Elizabeth's) blog. She got some great family pictures.

I'm sure all of you know what a pain it can be trying to get the whole family together and getting everyone to cooperate (wearing matching outfits, etc), but after seeing these pictures it was totally worth it. The pictures were taken a few weeks ago when we had the whole family together.

Thanks Lizzie!










Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Videos

These are the videos that I wasn't able to upload during the tour.



Listening to All Creatures of Our God and King in the Jerusalem Center



Singing Come Come Ye Saints at Saint Anne's Church in Jerusalem



Singing Master the Tempest is Raging on the Sea of Galilee


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A Nubian guy singing Nubian songs in a Nubian restaurant in Aswan, Egypt


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Dancing to Hava Nagila with Aunt Danette on a boat on the Sea of Galilee


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Singing "Zoom Gali" on the bus


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Dad doing a Hebrew chant in Saint Anne's Church in Jerusalem


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I challenged Jarem to a one-legged race at the Dead Sea. I lost.

Egypt

Egypt was a different cookie. This was a trial run for the tour company we were with. They wanted to see if they could see everything in four days......and we did, but I don't recommend doing it like that.

Thursday night we didn't get much sleep. We had to be up and moving at 1:00am on Friday to catch our early morning flight from Tel Aviv to Cairo. When we arrived in Cairo we immediately started our day by going to the pyramids and the sphinx. We ate lunch and then visited the Egyptian museum of antiquities. Jarem and I weren't too excited about listening to our guide talk about hieroglyphics and mummies for two hours so we wandered around on our own.

The last thing we visited was the Khan el Khalili bazaar. All I can say is that I kept seeing the husbands in our group standing and waiting for their wives to shop. Way to go men! Sacrifice for your wives.

One guy tried to sell me a "Rolex" watch for $40. I never buy the junk they sell at those markets. I bargained with him just to see how low he would go. I got him down to $10 and then I told him that $10 was too much for me. He probably would have gone lower, but I moved on.

We had "lunch" that day at 6:00pm, 15 hours after breakfast.

Our guide had a favorite phrase he used way too much. "Ladies and Gentlemen", he would say. One of his typical sentences would be something like, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we will now go to eat lunch and I think you will very much enjoy the food.......ladies and gentlemen." We tried to get him to say "Brothers and Sisters", but it didn't stick. He would do it for a few minutes and then forget. He was a funny guy and very good at being a guide; maybe even too good. He loved to talk.

Saturday morning we woke up around 3:00a.m. and jumped on a flight down to the Abu Simbel temple complex of Ramses II. That was amazing! And what is just as amazing is that they were able to move that huge thing from it's original location to save it from the flood waters of the Nile. And they moved the thing in the 1960's!

After visiting the temple complex we got on another short flight back up to Aswan and stayed there at the Aswan Isis Island Hotel in the middle of the Nile River. After lunch the same day we had Sacrament Meeting at the Temple of Philae - an island on the Nile. That's why I'm wearing a white shirt and tie in many of the pictures, because we didn't have time to change. We also visited the unfinished obelisk that would have been the largest ever made had it not cracked. We drove by the High Dam as well.

Hey Sumaia, we took a boat out into the middle of the Nile and ate lunch at a Nubian restaurant! It was great food and a fun atmosphere.

Early Sunday morning we took a train to Luxor. That was an experience. You're not supposed to use the toilet while the train is stopped because when you flush it all goes onto the train tracks. The other half of our group was in the cabin next to ours and they had fun with a rat they named Nubi (since we were in Nubian country). We visited the Valley of the Kings, but since it was really hot outside and they don't allow you to take pictures inside the tombs, I wasn't too impressed. The hieroglyphics get old after a while. We saw Queen Hatshepsut's temple and the Colossi of Memnon. After lunch we went to the Karnak and Luxor temples, although most of us skipped the Luxor temple because we were exhausted. The Karnak Temple was very impressive.

Monday morning we flew back to Cairo and went to Memphis and Sakkara. We stopped at a place where they make papyrus and that's where I bought my souvenir for the trip. I couldn't resist a large painting of King Tut and his romance with his wife Ankhesenbaammon.......or something like that. We also stopped by a carpet-making school where they showed us all the steps they go through to make their beautiful carpets. The kids work two hours a day (at least that's what the adults told us) and then go to regular schools too. When they get older they have the option to stay at the school and teach the younger kids, or move on to something else. Some of the larger carpets can take years to finish and a whole family might work on one carpet. They grow their own silk. The whole process is absolutely amazing.

Some of the group took a Felucca ride in the evening and the rest of us went back to the hotel early.

All in all it was a great two-week tour. I suggest taking more time in Egypt in order to enjoy the vacation more, but hey, we saw a lot of things in a short amount of time.

About half of the people in our group got sick at one time or another during the trip. I managed to avoid the sickness, probably because my stomach is already rotted out after living overseas for so many years.

I'm so happy to be back in Utah. The flights back to the States went very smooth, but even after taking a strong sleeping pill I couldn't sleep because of crying babies, loud Frenchmen (we flew Air France until we reached New York), and being in a chair for so many hours. No more travel for a while!


Nubian restaurant in Aswan

At the pyramids with John, Ryan, and Jarem

At the pyramids with Mom and Dad

Sacrament Meeting on the island of the Temple of Philae on the Nile River in Aswan

I decided to try something since the vendors can be really annoying. In Jerusalem a guy named Baghdadi gave me this camel made out of olive wood because he said he loves my Dad and the BYU students (he even had a picture of Elder Oaks on his wall). So I took the camel with me to Egypt and every time (at the pyramids) one of those vendors came up to us to sell something, I tried to sell my camel to them. I guess they don't have olive wood in Egypt because they all thought it was pretty cool, but they got annoyed with me when I pestered them to buy the thing. It didn't take long for them to move on to someone else. It worked! :)

Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple

Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

My Egyptian Brother



Nubian food in Aswan

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel with John Groneman

Abu Simbel with Mom and Dad

Mom at the Colossi of Memnon

Thursday

Today we visited the BYU Jerusalem Center, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden Tomb. Mom, Dad, Jarem and I broke off from the group at lunch time to take a trip down memory lane and visit the old home where I grew up.


Outside the Jerusalem Center

Most of our group watching the Jerusalem Center DVD they show to all the visitors

Jerusalem Center hallway with Brother and Sister Baxter. Going back to Israel 18 years after I left, I realized something funny. Everything seems so much smaller. I remember running through this hallway as a child and I thought it was much bigger than it actually is.


This is the fountain at the Jerusalem Center


With Mom and Dad outside the Center

Flowers at the Center

Overlooking the Old City

I learned how to ride a bike on this patio of our old home in Jerusalem. I remember it being so much bigger. :)




My childhood home in Jerusalem

Anglican School - Where I went to school during my elementary school years.




Jarem coming out of the Garden Tomb

Dad on the street leading to the Garden Tomb

Our whole group listening to Dad talk outside the Garden Tomb

Singing at the Garden of Gethsemane

Wednesday

Today we visited the Western Wall, Pools of Bethesda, Sisters of Sion (Lithostrotos), Dome of the Rock, Old City, Pools of Siloam, and Hezekiah's Tunnel.


Small Jerusalem flower

Someone's car died outside the Old City so we helped him push it up the hill and out of the way. That road wasn't much more than one lane, so you can imagine how much traffic the car was blocking.



I had to get a picture with some Orthodox Jews. I caught these kids after they finished their prayers at the Western Wall. They were hesitant at first to take a picture with me, but they finally agreed.......for a price.


Singing some hymns at Shephards Fields. This was right after we waded through Hezekiah's Tunnel, so I hadn't changed out of my swimming suit and crocks yet.

Buying the bread and za'tar that I loved to eat as a child
I can't remember if this picture was a "Wednesday" picture, but in any case we ate St. Peter's fish at one of the restaurants we went to.

Jarem taking a picture of a Russian-style church in Jerusalem

At the Dome of the Rock with Mom and Dad


We stopped at a place in Bethlehem where they make lots of things out of olive wood, but I thought playing soccer with some Palestinian kids would be a little more exciting.