Friday, December 5, 2014

Traveling With Your Dog

Just because you have a dog doesn’t mean you have to stay home all the time.  If you plan ahead and take a little care, it is easy and fun to travel with your dog.

Here are some tips to make the trip easier on both you and your pet:

1. Get your dog used to riding in the car by taking him on short trips.  Go to fun places like the dog park, the fast food drive through (where you can feed him bits of meat from your burger), or to visit friends.  You want him to think that trips in the car are fun.  You don’t want your dog to think that all car trips end up at the vet’s office.

2. If your dog tends to get carsick, don’t feed him the morning of the trip.  Having your dog travel with an empty stomach will help to prevent any car sickness.

3. Bring plenty of water and a water dish along.  You will need to give your dog periodic drinks of water when you stop for a rest.  It will be easier to get your dog to drink if it is familiar water from home.  Water in different places often smells or tastes differently, and your dog may not want to drink it.

4. Be sure to pack your dog’s food, treats, favorite bed, toys, and leash.

5. If your dog uses a crate, bring that along too.  If you don’t have a large vehicle, you can buy crates that fold up.  When you get to your destination, you can put your dog in his crate while you go somewhere that you can’t bring him along.

6. How should your dog travel in the car?  Some dogs like to sit or lay on the seat, so bring a blanket to protect the upholstery.  Other dogs may need to be kept in a crate in the car.  Be sure the crate can’t slide around and scare the dog while you’re driving.   You can also purchase dog seat belts to keep your dog safe while sitting in the car.

7. Make a stop every few hours to walk your dog and give him some water.  Some dogs are frightened by the noisy trucks driving by, so try to walk in a quiet area.  Be a good citizen and bring plastic bags along to pick up the mess.

8. If your dog is anxious about staying in a hotel or strange house at your destination, he might not eat or drink.  You don’t want him to get dehydrated, so be sure to get him to drink, at least.  You can mix chicken broth or gravy into the dog’s water.  That will usually get him to lap it right up.  You can mix chicken broth or gravy into the food too.

The first trip will be the hardest, because your dog will not realize that you are coming back.  With the first trip behind you, if you have taken the time to make sure it is pleasant for your dog, future traveling with your dog should be a breeze.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My trip to Paris, France

New website for travel tips and country rewiev please visit

Let me start this post by stating that before I left, I had some preconceived notions on what Paris and the trip overall would be like. I was wrong.

It was far better that anything I could’ve ever imagined! 
Somehow, I still can’t believe I wasn’t dreaming and that I have actually visited the city I’ve dreamed of visiting ever since, as a child, I could pronounce the name “Eiffel Tower”.

Walking in Paris is amazing, and I spent almost the whole time doing so during the two and a half days spent there. 
The city is swarming with tourists, the food is great, the sights are all worth waiting in (the long) lines for, there are in fact streets so small they appear on no map.

Noticing the little things – some of the pedestrian signs cracked me up as never in my life have I seen a man on a pedestrian sign wait with his hands on his hips. 
The city is so stylish that their McDonalds “M” on Champs-Élysées is white instead of yellow (apparently the yellow sign was considered tacky so even McDonalds plays dress up in Paris). 
While you may state my mind is in the gutter I’ll just go ahead and say it anyway – some of the statues seem pretty inappropriate for public display from specific angles. 
And you know how you sometimes wish you could just pull over at the corner? Well people here actually do it, so you need to watch out for cars when crossing the road because you might not see the oncoming traffic on account of the awkwardly parked cars on street corners.

And as opposed to everything I’ve heard about their resentment towards tourists all the locals I spoke to were very sweet and willing to help. 
One lady even confused me for a local (within 2 hours of my arrival) when I asked about a street (apparently I pronounced the name oh-so-correctly in French) until she realized the confused stare came from my not understanding a word she’d just said (plus she talked sooo fast).

To sum it all up: I’ve had the time of my life, many new firsts (there may be a list in an upcoming blog post) and I don’t regret one second of… any of it!

Day trips from Paris: Versailles
Palace of Versailles makes a great day trip

 Monet's garden and inspirationThe 

Friday, December 21, 2012

My trip to Greece

After the stop-over at Zurich (Switzerland/Schweiz) from Nuremberg (Germany), we took the flight to Athens (Greece), which flew over a bit of Italy, Croatia, Macedonia, et al and it took around 2 hours to reach that place. Greece is usually very hot in the summer and mild in the winter. At this time of the year, it is usually mild (or a bit hot), but we were anyways worried because, the last week, there was a surprise for Greek folks as it snowed and disrupted the normal life. It usually doesnt snow in Greece. So, it was surprising or a bit shocking news. I always wondered how countries with certain climatic conditions will cope up (in terms of infrastructure and other normal activities) when the nature shows its fury or the climatic conditions show abrupt change. So, this was an example, apart from the similar kind of thing that happened in China, recently.

The trip to Greece was for a couple of days and so, I had no plans for rushing up and looking around places. By the way, Greece is also under the 'European Union' and has 'Euro' as its currecy (although the cost of living is different from Germany or any other countries with good economy). Here are some pics that I took when the flight was about to land at Athens

Greece is bordered by 'Aegean Sea' on the East, 'Sea Of Crete' on the South and 'Ionian Sea' on the West. The rest of the boundary is shared by Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. In the above pics, I guess the sea that you see in the pics, is the 'Aegean Sea'. 

The trip to Greece was particularly special because, the memories came flooding back from the childhood (when I was in school)..specially the history classes and all the names of famous Greek people like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, et al. Also, not to forget 'Troy', the famous 'Trojan War', Achilles, Paris and sundry other characters. The history of 'Troy' and 'Trojan War' belong to Greece although the location of Troy is said to be in Turkey (at the Greek border), in the present day. As for the history classes, I was always interested in reading history stuff, but not studying and remembering all those dates pertaining each and everything. But after travelling enough around Europe, I feel like stuffing a lot more info on all these things, as its interesting and a learning experience. Greece is also said to be the place, where the European history began (being one of the oldest civilizations).

Coming back to my trip details, we landed at Athens airport (which is nothing special) and took the metro to the main train station in Athens, which took us an hour, because the aiport is located outside the city (but in the Athens metropolitan region). After that, we checked into our respective rooms in the hotel and since I was tired and it was late anyways, I dozed off, looking forward for the next day.

The next day, we took the metro train from the nearest station to some old parts of Athens and walked around that place. There are some typical markets and shopping centres in/around some old parts of Athens. These markets somehow have some kind of aura (or maybe because its totally new and different for me) and was interesting to look at some souvenir shops, musical instruments, etc stuff. Also, with the narrow lanes and typical music, it somehow resembled a bit Arabic in style. Infact, there's a bit of influence from Arabic and African stuff, because its close to Arabic countries and Africa. Also, because of a lot of immigrants (legal and illegal) from those places. I also got to know that there are a lot of immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh (many of 'em being illegal immigrants, who came for greener pastures). After a bit of window-shopping and looking around, I bought a chess board with old Greek characters as players (So, Alexander's gonna be my Horse..haha). Here are some pics from that place:


Monday, November 5, 2012

Aloha Hawai

his is a rather long blow by blow of my recent trip to Hawaii. This is the first trip I’ve really ever taken with someone else. It was a blast, and Hawaii is such a great place. I ate great food, swam with sea turtles (twice), had a little too much to drink, saw a friend I haven’t seen in years, saw a whale, and saw some of the best scenery in the world. It was amazing.
FYI, there are several small images behind the cut. I will be posting several high resolution images to my Flickr account in the near future. The photos I add to Flickr can be seen in a slide show at the bottom of this page..
Day 1: Wednesday
We were supposed to arrive by 11:00 AM, but United pushed both of our flights back, so we spent most of our time at the airport. We finally arrived in Hawaii at 4:00 PM. We were picked up by from the gate by our driver, who was standing there with one of those cards with my name on it. (I wasn’t expecting that, and thought it was pretty cool.) After giving us both leis, he took us to our hotel.
Since it was so late, we went for happy hour at a nearby restaurant called Rumfire (which was one of several places recommend by my friend Rhoda). Rumfire offered Happy Hour food and drink specials, a view of the ocean, and the spectacular sunset.
Day 2: Thursday
We went to breakfast at a great little restaurant called Cream Pot, which was another of Rhoda’s recommendations.After breakfast we went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay.I had picked up a cheap underwater camera right before leaving, to take pictures during our snorkeling trips. The fish are used to a lot of visitors, so they mostly let us get really close to them.

After swimming around for a while, this guy came up to us and asked if we wanted to see a shark. We agreed to go take a look, and were shocked to find a 4 foot reef shark hanging out beneath the coral reef. We tried taking pictures, but I was too afraid to use the flash, so none of them came out. After that we decided to go back to shore and eat some of the snacks we had brought with us. When we got back to the beach, we noticed that something was wrong. Our bag of food had been rummaged through by something. Turns out there was a mongoose in the area, and he had tried to steal our beef jerky. I took a quick picture of him with the underwater camera, and took our jerky back from him.
Day 3: Friday
On Friday my friend Rhoda came to the hotel to pick us up. We took her to work, and she let us use her car for the day. (Which is just the coolest thing ever. I owe her so big when she comes back to Tucson!) First we went to Dole Plantation. We wanted to try our luck at the world’s largest hedge maze, but it was closed because of the early mornings rains (which had happened every morning of our trip). We licked our wounds over a bowl of freshly made pineapple ice cream, and continued our trek up north.

We never made it to the shrimp trucks on the north shore, because we spent so much time at Laniakea Beach. Eventually we had to head back into the city to return Rhoda her car. We were late getting back because of some heavy traffic and a missed turn, but Rhoda was very accommodating. When we finally got to downtown Honolulu, she invited us out clubbing. Sadly we were pretty tired from our time at the beaches and just wanted to go rest for the next day.
Day 4: Saturday
We had made plans to check out the Great Hawaii Lunch Wagon Festival at Kakaako Beach Park on Saturday. We had a ton of different food from almost every truck. We would get a few plates, and then go sit under a tree overlooking the ocean. Seemed like a pretty nice place to eat some pretty good food. 
After eating our fill, we decided to jump in the water and work up another appetite. We found this rocky outcrop that jutted into the water. Upon closer inspection it was covered in crabs. They would run and hide if you got too close, but I was able to snap a picture with a little help from the underwater camera.
After playing around, we went back for some more food truck goodness. We ate more, watched the sun set, and played around in the water a bit before heading back to the hotel. On the way back we stopped at Kua’aina Sandwiches. I had eaten at their California and Tokyo branches in the past, and wanted to try the Hawaiian side. (They only exist in Japan and Hawaii now, since the store in California closed.) It wasn’t as good as I remembered, but it was kind of neat to have eaten at all three locations.
When we got back to Waikiki, we wandered around some more, and stumbled upon this small teahouse (Cha-No-Ma Teahouse). It was really good. We had tea, dumplings, and these charcoal snacks the owner invented. (They are actually really good. I even liked the macadamia nut treats, and I usually don’t like macadamia nuts.) It was still nice to sit back, relax, and drink tea for a bit. 
Day 5: Sunday
I had found this snorkeling deal on Groupon for half off, and our reservation was for Sunday morning. The trip took us out to a place in the open water called Turtle Canyon. While the boat’s crew were disappointing, the trip itself was quite worth the discounted price.
Aside from underwater fishes and flying fish, we also saw some sea turtles being cleaned, and a whale! I managed to get a picture of the whale’s tail the one time it came above water too! It was a pretty exciting bonus which helped make up for the poor service of the ship’s crew.
After this snorkeling trip we went wandering around Waikiki again, and saw something we didn’t expect… penguins. Apparently the Hilton Village in Waikiki has an avian zoo setup, where many species of birds can walk around freely. It was kind of nice, and very unexpected.
Eventually we walked all the way to Honolulu, and to the floating Pagoda restaurant. This was really disappointing actually, and expensive to boot. Aside from not having a very big selection, the restaurant tilted every time too many people went to the buffet. But I got a good deal on the price from Groupon, so we ate up and walked back to Waikiki and caught another Happy Hour at the Yardhouse (yet another of Rhoda’s recommendations). This place was great. Rhoda described them as having big food and big drinks, and she was not lying. They have the best Happy Hour I’ve ever seen. Apparently there are a few throughout the US. I highly recommend checking them out if you live near one.
Day 6: Monday
Sadly, Monday was our last day. We had to check out by noon, but the hotel was gracious enough to let us leave our stuff there, and even provided us with a complimentary room to use later that evening. I’ve never heard of a hotel letting guests who have checked out have use of a free room, but the Ohana Waikiki Malia let us use a room to shower after playing at the beach! But before we could hit the beach, we needed to eat. We hit up the Wailana Coffee House, for some delicious breakfast foods. (Coconut syrup is my new favorite!) Then it was off to the beach.

We played around for a bit, I even went pier diving a few times. (Sadly, when Anna tried, someone from the nearby hotel came and told her she couldn’t do that.) After playing in the water for a while, we went back to the Yardhouse for another one of their Happy Hours (which really should be called Happy Days).
After that, it was back to the hotel, to shower off in the complimentary room, and another VIP trip to the airport. (I wasn’t expecting either of the arranged transportation services, but they were definitely nice surprises!) All in all it was a really fun trip! We both loved Hawaii, and I would go again tomorrow if I could afford it.

Italy Trip

I just returned from Italy, visiting Rome, Florence, and Venice over the course of two weeks. The trip was meant as a sort of "reward" for my mom when she started to get a bad diagnosis about her cancer last year. When she was told a year-long course of chemo was ahead for her, I promised to take her to Italy to celebrate when she was done with chemo. Unfortunately, that never happened and she died soon after, but at a family gathering around Christmas last year I told my Aunt about the trip and asked if we could maybe go anyway the following summer, as a sort of tribute to my mom. She enthusiastically said yes.
Overall, the trip was an absolute blast. I was worried about culture shock of a new language, new locations, and new food, especially with my young daughter tagging along. Oddly, my two years of high school of Spanish (and occasional use since) made the Italian language feel about 75% readable and it was easy to pick up short phrases (that were mostly tweaked spanish phrases I already knew). The food overall was very good and close to what a lot of high end Italian places serve in the states, and since it was a vacation it was pretty easy to slip into the relaxed Italian lifestyle. I can't imagine an easier non-English speaking country to visit.


We flew into and out of Rome and knew spending some time there was pretty much mandatory on your first trip to the country. They have a great deal of relics from the original Roman Empire and many other sights and famous buildings in a pretty small section of the city center. Unfortunately for us, while Rome's late Spring had been pretty mild, the day before we arrived a heat wave blew in from the Sahara and temps hovered around 90-95F the entire time we were there. It was brutally hot and tough to spend more than a couple hours out in the sun doing things before a rest in some air conditioned place was necessary (and two showers a day became the norm).
Our first night was spent in a nice hotel near the Colosseum and we spent the remainder of our time in a nice little apartment a block away. As always, having an apartment was great because we could eat whatever we wanted for breakfast and come and go as we pleased (also helped to have laundry in our unit). I have to mention while we had a small CarreFour grocery store nearby, the best fruit and eggs I've ever purchased came from a random convenience store near our apartment. The eggs we got (at the equivalent of your average 7-11 in the States) were as yellow and great tasting as my friend's organic fed chickens. The quality of basic food at small shops and stores was really something else, feeling farm fresh.
We ended up eating in a lot of nearby restaurants, and being close to the Colosseum meant a lot of bad touristy places that cater to English speakers. Friends on twitter steered me towards the iPhone app "Rome for Foodies" which is a quirky but reliably awesome hand written guide to the best food near you from an American ex-pat living in Rome as a food writer and sommelier. Our best meals were had thanks to that app and we also found some great little bakeries listed in it too. We also had the best tasting lunch of our trip by just walking into a restaurant where the waiter picked antipasto for us for lunch, no menus, which sounded like a tourist scam to drive up the bill but everything that came out was amazing.
On the advice of a friend, we hired a tour guide (from this outfit) to take us through the ancient sites (it helped that our guide was an anthropologist) and the Vatican, both to understand everything we were seeing as well as skipping long tourist lines. The ancient sites are really pretty spectacular and it was hard to even grasp the time period in regards to our own lifespans. I found it hard to make sense of looking at a building completed 1900 years ago and thinking how it survived through such massive political, social, cultural, and even atmospheric changes. And even for an atheist like me, the Vatican was pretty incredible. The art was amazing and the massive cathedral was impressive.
Overall, we had a pretty good time in Rome seeing the sites. If it was a bit cooler out, we could have seen more and walked more places and spent more time outdoors at ancient sites, but I would definitely recommend first time visitors to Italy to not miss Rome.


Florence was even better than Rome. We spent five days and four nights in Florence and the next time I travel this way I will make it at least a week. Food was almost always incredible, using Yelp reviews was key to finding the best options and it helped that finding great gelato was easy. We also took a side trip to the Tuscan towns Chianti and San Gimignano and both served as a wonderful relief from the heat and the crowds of Florence.
Florence was like a puzzle composed of thousands of pieces, so many streets, alleys, nooks and crannies to explore. Over the course of our time there we visited half a dozen museums and churches and there was still another dozen I wanted to see that we never got a chance to see. Every day we'd travel different paths though the city center and every day we were rewarded with new shops, chapels, and bridges to see. We spent several days exploring and had a full day guided tour on the penultimate day of our stay. We thought we'd seen most of the city center but our guide spent the day showing us streets, attractions, and places we hadn't even known existed. The food was pretty amazing no matter where we ate, reminding me of my Italian grandmother's cooking.
We stayed smack dab in the center of town, overlooking the main cathedral and the largest, most crowded city square. It was fun to be in the thick of it and close to everything, but it came at the price of nearly 24hrs of crowd noise outside our windows (ear plugs helped). We didn't plan on it, but our stay coincided with Florence's big John the Baptist celebration day which included a big procession and the opening of some doors in the church that only open once a year. That same night, we got to see the most incredible fireworks I've ever seen (it helps that the big fireworks companies are often Italian family-owned) over the Arno river. The Euro 2012 soccer series was also going on and we got to enjoy watching Italy win some key matches amid the cheering locals crowded around TVs at bars.
Our brief day trip to Tuscany made it clear why people make such a big deal about the region surrounding Florence. The landscape is amazing with views from every hilltop and the weather was really mild. San Gimignano was known as "medieval Manhattan" and even though it was kind of a cheesy tourist castle-as-city, the best chocolate ice cream I've ever eaten was there and it was a nice place to catch an afternoon Sunday concert from local players in their city square. Florence was a real gem and I would love to visit it again someday and explore the region more.


Almost every American I talked to before the trip said we should see Venice but warned us that it would disappoint. Too crowded, too dirty, and too touristy most said. I have to admit the first couple hours in the city weren't that great. It was very hot, we paid too much for a water taxi, and we ended up lost for 40 minutes trying to find our hotel amid the alleyways. When we finally found it and dropped our bags, our first experience at St. Marks square was being around 10,000 cruise line attendes clamoring for souvenirs.
But every moment after those first couple hours was pure bliss. It was our first relief from the heat wave we'd endured in Rome and Florence. After Florence I had gotten used to the serendipity of wandering back alley paths and Venice was a city that definitely rewarded those that went with it. I found stores, restaurants, and coffee shops I never could find again. When we had to cut across the island to save time we'd see a new museum or specialty shop we loved. The water "bus" system was easy, economical, and fun to use, letting us get from anywhere to almost anywhere else in Venice. We avoided the crowded St. Marks Square for the most part and enjoyed quiet art museums and galleries as well as gardens.
Visiting the San Giorgio tower and getting to see the city from up high was one of the best experiences. It let you see just how fragile the whole city was, this collection of tiny islands with thousands of people in buildings that were nearly a thousand years old, the whole place felt more special and precarious. I have no idea how electricity and fresh water get to the islands, and we frequently saw supplies still delivered by hand cart and construction done via boat.
Our hotel was nice, food was pretty good (Yelp use here is minimal, so I instead switched to the more popular Trip Advisor), but by the end of our time in Venice I think I loved it most of all the places we visited in Italy because it was so relaxing, laid back, and the weather was so mild being on the water. I would highly recommend not only visiting if you get the chance, but spending more than the standard overnight trip (we spent four days/three nights and I could have stayed more).

Some general travel tips

Rome: buying an unlimited Metro pass for the number of days of your stay is a good deal. We found we could get from our apartment to almost anywhere we needed to be in the city using the network of buses and trains. Keep in mind the core area of most attractions in downtown Rome is only a couple miles from end to end so if the weather isn't too bad and you're reasonably fit you could walk almost everywhere. The main international airport (FCO) is fairly far out of town and is about 50 euro to taxi into the center of Rome. Yelp was useful and reliable for reviews of restaurants. During siesta time (about 1-4pm) most businesses closed up shop and didn't post hours. In the heat, we just got used to either resting during this time or visiting a museum.
Florence: there is a plethora of museums and I would highly recommend picking just a handful out and making reservations well in advance if you want to see the original David statue at the Academy Gallery). A tour guide came in handy here to see lots of small things we hadn't spotted before. Everything we did was walking distance except for our trip to Tuscany, and our tour guide/driver came in handy because I didn't want to drive in Italy.
Venice: The water bus system was great and time-based unlimited passes were worth the price. During our four day stay, a 72hr unlimited ticket covered all our needs and let us explore the entire length of the grand canal as well as some of the smaller islands. Water Taxis will take you directly where you need to go but will cost a lot (60 euro from the train terminal to St. Marks). The gondola rides are even more expensive (100 euro for 30-40min) but as a tourist you kind of have to do it once for the full experience. The art/museum pass was also a good deal and let us skip lines at the most popular spots.
Nerdery: I had good results from using a microSIM on my iPhone (that was only 20 euro and came with 10Gb of bandwidth), but there was about a 12hr delay until it started working. I couldn't get their data-only SIM to work in my iPad and instead got one from TIM (which worked instantly, also without a PIN on the SIM), another telephone company in Italy. There were no phone kiosks in the Rome airport, but it was pretty easy to find dedicated phone stores in Rome from Wind, TIM, and Vodafone. WiFi was generally available everywhere for either a fee or you had to ask for the password (free open WiFi was prohibited for the last decade due to anti-terror rules). My iPhone's battery ran down faster than I remember, probably because I was using Foursquare so much. I eventually dropped my connection down to Edge-only to get a full day out of my phone.
Food: The best meal in Rome was had at Da Danilo. My favorite meal in Florence was at Za Za (which is touristy and crowded but still worth it). The best meal we had in Venice was at La Zucca. Overall, food was generally great everywhere, I had some of the best risotto of the trip at the cafeteria in the Rome train station. In general, I used Yelp to find highly reviewed places near me. At first I realized it was difficult to evaluate restaurants with only Italian reviews I couldn't read until I realized they were generally better since native Italians were eating there. I used Trip Advisor only when I needed to because their reviews are generally rubbish and untrustworthy (the highest rated place in Florence on TA was almost exactly the same as the food you would honestly get at an Olive Garden in the US. Forgettable crap).
Traveling around: Rome buses were great, especially the tiny electric ones because they went down very small streets and alleys. Rome's subway was reliable and quick. The national high speed trains were great for going from one town to the next faster than a plane and very cheap considering. The best trip we had was a nonstop from Rome to Florence in a brand new train with lots of room and it was incredibly comfortable. Those trains also offer WiFi if you have a TIM sim card in your phone.

My Review of Egypt Cairo

I went on another amazing trip to Cairo, but this time i stayed at the Fairmont Heliopolis Towers in Cario, Egypt.I was on my way to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt at the Red Sea, but stopped in Cairo to check out the Pyramids and Museums for a couple nights, as well as the amazing Fairmont Hotel. Interior of the loby in hotel was incredible. 
The pictures above hardly do justice for what it looks like in person. Who would have thought it possible to have so many full sized palm trees and wonderful flowers all growing instead the atrium!  The lights inside would change colours every now and then and they change as you walked through Heliopolis Towers into Fairmont Heliopolis, which is attached to the same building/hotel. There are lots of restaurant choices inside the hotel and they are all located within the atriums and surrounded by fauna. My favorite restaurant for dinner was called “Abu Tarek” which isn’t listed on for some reason… It was absolutely amazing if you like spicy food!  They have a scale of spiciness from 1 to 5!  I can’t imagine what the 5th level must be like… The first morning there i got my driver to take us to the Pyramids early in the morning to beat the rush and then went to the Cairo Museum from there. The Pyramids are amazing in every way except for going inside of. I do not recommend that anyone goes inside the pyramids unless you are comfortable in tight. Here in video you can see how it looks
  Dark, hot and very confined spaces. I couldn’t believe that they don’t limit the number of people in at a time because there is only one way in and the same way in is the way out! Took about 5 minutes to get inside of the King’s Chamber and about 30 minutes to try and get out! It was kind of scary if you are not nimble enough to squat down on a slope going down a wooden ramp head first with nowhere to move as you wait for the person in front of you to take a step closer to the exit at the bottom of the tunnel. The lights also went out several times which made it pitch black, but luckily some tourists brought 
flashlights inside, but you’re not allowed cameras inside! Anyway, I could go on and on about going inside the pyramids… it was an experience that’s for sure, but maybe not worth the 100 Egyptian Pounds per person. The Cairo Museum is amazing! You can actually touch a lot of the large artifacts as well, surprisingly. Not sure if I like that idea… They also don’t allow cameras inside, so you have to leave your cameras in a locker, which is free of charge, but you also risk something being stolen because people run the lockers for you. So beware. There are signs saying not to have cash in any of your bags when using the lockers. The Museum also makes you pay extra to see the mummies! I couldn’t believe it. 

Once back at the Fairmont i put on my bathing suits and hit the pools. I ended up using the pools at the Fairmont Heliopolis because they had several pools and a nice landscaped surrounding. Because the hotel is so close the Cairo Airport we could hear airplanes flying quite low often. This wasn’t that big a deal for me because i actually enjoyed watching the planes fly overhead. It is a bonus that the hotel is so close to the airport anyway because then you won’t be late to the airport to catch a flight if there is traffic in the city.
 On our last day we found out that the Fairmont Heliopolis Towers has their own pool as well!  That was ok though because the pools we went to we were given all kinds of free small drinks, yogurt parfaits, and bowls of different nuts and things! Amazing service and definitely well worth using that pool area in the end. Egyptians are extremely nice and courteous and a lot of people spoke English, so you can imagine how nice and helpful the staff at the Fairmont was!  

After Cairo we took a short flight to Sharm El Sheikh where we relaxed on the beach and did lots of snorkeling and did some scuba diving. The Red Sea has some of the best scuba and snorkeling in the world, second to Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Simply amazing fish and coral and its all protected. This was my second time coming to this great destination and it is still one of my favorite all time destinations. I have included a couple images of the fish that can be seen just off the piers using my underwater camera. We also have great video using the same camera while snorkeling. I would recommend that anyone traveling to Egypt or thinking of visiting Egypt should definitely make a stop in Sharm El Sheikh. Amazing!