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Klaus & Karen's Trip to Africa

....otherwise known as "travelling with the Bickerson's".

Welcome to Klaus & Karen's Travel Page. Here is where we will be keeping a record of our travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for us. In between discovering new places and meeting new people I will do my best to reply to them! We will be leaving Canada on Oct 29.

Diary Entries

Monday, 27 November 2006

Location: Heading Home, Egypt


We have travelled by plane, car, bus, train, boat, dokey, horse and Carriage, jeeps, shanks pony (feet), climbed 10375 steps, felluca, water ferry, metro, opportunity to go camel, but passed on that.

We have met many different colors, creeds and races. All with different personalities, but all with smiles on their faces and always welcoming us. The children we have met in the 3 different countries makes us think that the future is good for Africa as they seem to be so keen on learning and communicating with the rest of the world.

I now realize that when you come to a country, you must have enough time to get to know the culture and the people to appreciate them.

It will take us many days of revisiting our pictures and stories to remember just all what we did.

I know we will have more to add to our travel journal when we have time to recap, so please check back at a later date to get the updates as well as more pictures. We welcome any comments you may have to share with us.

Klaus and Karen

Monday, 27 November 2006

Location: Cairo, Egypt

It is our last day here and we made the most of it, after our breakfast, we headed out with a few from our group and rented a driver for the day. He took us first to the Citadel, which is like a fort with a couple of mosques and museums and palace in it. It was most interesting, we visited the oldest and teaching mosque in Egypt. It was a fun day as all the school children were there and they had alot of fun with us. They wanted to practice their English and had lots of laughs with us as well I am sure laughing at us, but it certainly made our day.

We then drove through the City of the Dead where the family mosoleums are built and now some of the families have moved into or built on top and are keepers of the moseleums, but mostly because they are so poor they can't afford to live anywhere else. We heard it is very active and poor, but we were ther ein the morning and was quite quiet, but a bit eerie.

We then drove to the Khan el Khalili market, the largest in Egypt. It was most interesting, we went for smething to eat and of course being Egyptian time, it took forever, but it was delicious. We then went through the market and it consists of very small and crowded shops interwined between streets, nost colorful, crowded, sites and smells very interesting, men trying to get you to just come into their stores, no hassle, haha. We proceeded to do a few more purchases and did quite well using my new found Egyptian skills, I wonder what Kelowna shopkeepers are going to say when I try these skills on them!! I have quite got the technique down as well as figured out my prices, we had 25 minutes before we had to meet the driver, when we came upon a carpet store..Klaus thought we were going to make it out of Egypt without buying a carpet...they were jut waiting for us, so we went in and did some very heavy bargaining and came out with a couple of carpets. I think we got a good bargain, but by the smile on the shopkeepers face, he also got a good bargain. it was a good way to end our days in Cairo. This morning I was ready to come home, but I know have my energy back and could stay a few more days and get into Egyptian life.

We decided to go out for a pastry and cappaccino tonight for a farewell, just back and going for a 4 hour sleep, then wakeup at 11 p.m. for a 4:30 a.m. flight back to Amsterdam.

Arriving in Kelowna at 8:45 or there about on Nov 29, so you all in a few days.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Location: Egypt

W are now back t the Santana HOtel, have quite a nice room, which is great way to end the trip. Klaus and I slept for about 4 hrs, then went with a few others by taxi to a little coffee shop L'Amour for latte and chicken caesar salad. Nice afteroon.

We are getting quite good on dealing with the Egyptians, I must say I have changed my opinion on them as they are very friendly and helpful and even though they want to make money, they want you to have a positive experience...if that is not true, they certainly come across as such.

Tomorrow is last say site seeing and we are coming home. OUr bved, home cooking, cleanlines is very welcoming but will also miss the friendly faces.

Will send one more message tomorrow,

Saturday, 25 November 2006

Location: Aswan, Egypt

The rest of the tour is either driving 3 hrs to Abul Simbel or flying to see the temple. This temple was moved because they would have been flooded by Lake Nasser. We decided we had enbough temples and opted out (that is the benefit of can choose to do what you want!!). Everything is squeezed into 6 hrs. So 3 of us tayed back, slept in had a delicious breakfast, then took a taxi to the Nubian museum, which is a 10 out of 10. It displayed the full Nile River and all the mummies, tombs , how they were moved, they carved momuments out of the mountain and moved them to high ground. It also depicted the numbian life throughout the dynaties an dhow the Nubians were Coptic Christian and were later converted into Islam. This museum is compariable to the Terrell museum in Alberta.

Our driver took us to his church, Coptic Church and had a tour. We learned 20% of Egypt is Chritain which was a surprise to us.

We were then taken to the market for lat minute shopping 94 scarfs later) and of course driven to the driver's cousin "just look no hazzle".

That afternoon Amanada arranged a faluka ride and lunch. It was a beautiful afternoon, we sailed and at lunch on a huge mat on abou5t a 30 ft sail bot. Beautiful scenery. Couldn's Spot Lawrence yet, so guess he just usn't going to show!

We said our good byes to the Melodie and her crew. They truly were a fabulous and fun crew, headed to the train station, settled in, had dinner and got ready for bed, then the rocking and bumping began. It was the roughest train ride, we think the cuplings between our car and next were not set right, when he slowed down or stopped we banged into the next car and all went flying. This went on all was a great relief to see Gisa station.

Friday, 24 November 2006

Location: Aswan, Egypt

Aswan is a major trading centre and the end of where the cruise ships go. Very busy and has the 2nd largest bazaar. Went for a walk thru the bazaar, made a few more purchaes, then a water ferry picked us up off our boat (now that is service) and took us along the Elephantine island to a Nubian village, where we visited a school,l then wen for a cold ddrink and hybiscus tea with a family. They have managed to keep their culture, they have more African features, curly hair and quite dark,. The family lives together and simply grows thru marriage and children. Most of the families were further down the Nile and had to be displaced due to the flooding of the dam, half went to Sudan and the rest to Aswan area. They are educated until Gr 6 then go to Aswan, they marry within their village, very little furniture, mainly mats to sit on. They have only 47 students in a fairly large school. AFter we saw a school smaller in Ethiopia with 1800 children. The women made beads and nubian hats to sell. The scenery is spectacular. Fairly wealthy throughout the world are buying land from the Nubians, high on ridges a\overlooking the Nile and building homes. The city has approx 200K people. Aswan came alive at night. We counted 110 ships from our area nad that less than half, so we figure over 300 ships are in at one time.

The Nile was full of water taxies abnd fulookas touring people around.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Location: On the Nile, Egypt

.6:14 a.m. wake up call, it is Klaus' birthday, he seems to be on these exotic trips for his birthday.
In early Egyptain times the pharoahs believed the sun rose to the East for the living and they pass to the West with the sunset for death. I have pased from the West to the East today as i have been sick for the pat 2 days, but I am back..

We went to the Edfu temple this morning and back to the boat by 9 a.m. for breakie. This temple was the best preserved. In side once the Coptic Christians took over the temple, they defaced the hyroglyphics. It tells an excellent hitorical tory. In the main hall the roof is blackened where the Coptic Christians did their cooking.

We saw a strong similarity with India how the mogals changed the Hindus beautiful workmanship by plasturing over the jewels.

There appears to be a fin dust in the air today and the desert comes right uyp to the edge of the Nile. Lawrence has still not appeared on his camel.

Along the river are sandbars with grass and cows grazing. They bring the cattle over by pulling them behind the small boats

We had several hours of cruising down the Nile, getting reenergized, lunch on the outdoor cafe, french fries...I had to go back for 2nds. I do have to say the food is not that great here in Egypt, same thing each meal, but our crew makes up for it, very friendly and fun. ... Kimberly we have found you a potential Egyptian husband, Meheb, he works on the cruise ship and wants to move to America. We thought hwas quite nerdy but have come to enjoy his sense of humqan and he can really dance!!!

We went to another temple, The temple was very interesting. The best part was outside of the temple was an outdoor bar and we all ordoered ice cream and smokled sheesha. Lots of laughs, Klaus and I ordered banana sheesha. AFter that we went bartering again. I have enough scarfs to go into business.
It is Galibahya party night tonight on the boat. While we were shopping we dressed one of the single guys in a belly dancing outfit! Everyone went back to the boat and dressed for the evening. Thanks Jean and Dale for lending us your outfits you used a few weeks previously. Dean and the other tour director dressed in drag and it was quite humorous.

We all arrived outside the idning room to loud Egyptian music and everyone was dancing with the staff, Egyptian style, then went in for dinner. AFter dinner the staff turned out the lights and banged on pots and brought a cake fo rKlaus, they go thim up and carried him around the room, then go tme up and made a big deal out of the birthday. lots of fun. I am not sure how t top this brithday next year...better yet how does Klaus top mine!!!

After we had dancing, but had another early night. Too much acitvity in the day time. We set sail while everyonwas sleeping, headed fo rour final destination Aswan.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Location: Luxor, Egypt

Up at 6 a.m. to get ready for our donkey ride...yes we are riding donkeys. would be proud of us!!

We got on our donkey, hoping to balance all the way to the Valley of the Kings. We both made it without falling off. It was about 1.5 hrs and our legs and butts were very sore. Riding a donkey is like driving in Cairo without a horn, the donkey knows where it is going, but the driver doesn't and they don't follow any lane, if he wants to take the lead, he takes it whether you want him to or not!!

The Valley of the Kings is most interesting, it is the tombs where the Kings were buried. It was discovered by a British fellow in 1917 and they are still finding more King. We were able to go into 3 of them, the hyroglyphics is very tunning and we had a tory about each King. Our tour guide was actually an actor for a movie "Death of the Nile" very dignified , colorful and knokwledgable. He made us feel like like were part of the history.

Klaus and a few others then climbed over the mountain and crossed a plateau and came down to join us (we took a taxi) to the artist tombs and homes. These tombs were very steep and deep inside the mountain, rough steps and more primitive, but the artwork was beautiful.
We returned to our boat and set sail immediately.

I am now sitting on the sundeck, writing and looking out at the banks of the Nile, waving at the passing this is the life "Cruising the Nile", beautiful lush and Palm tress along the bank with the desert behind. It is like being in the palm Springs valley with Sanata Ana mountains behind.
Klaus is going to interview and film the Captain this afternoon.

Going to High Tea now, will join you again later.

We arrived at the locks just before dusk, we had to wait about an hour for our turn. About 20 small row boats quickly attacked our boat along the sides and started throwing clothing, scarfs up to the top floor, we checked them over and if we were interested we would start bargaining. I quickly bought a thorw for what I thought was a goo dprice, then discovered someone go tit for 1/3 of what I paid, that brough the bargainer out in me and we had a great time from then on. I managed by the time it was dark to see the boat, to buy another throw for a great price, averaging down flet better.

It was then our turn to go thru the locks, I couldn't find Klaus only to discover he was at the front wit the captain. I was invited to join them, when I went into the small helm, there were 4 crew intently looking forward, I thought they were watching the locks, only to turn and see they were all watching a soal opera on a small egyptian tv. We chatted with the Captain , dress in a galbahya (men's long robe).

It was most beautiful going thru the locks, then going thru the gates heading to the source of the Nile.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Location: Luxor, Egypt

We arrived at our boat, a mid size boat, holds about 80, another group is joining us in a day or two,so will have a total of 29 people. The boat definitely needs upgrading, it was suppose to have been done 4 years ago, I think they added fire extinguishers.

We went by horse and carriage to the Karnak Temple of Amun. This has beenb the highlight of the trip. It is made up of 134 gigantic columns iwth granite tatus of Ramses II. It was built in 2000 BC. It is beyond our comprehension how old everything is.

Klaus and I decided to go off on our own for the afternoon and went to visit the Luxor temple, again truly mangificant. We did some quick bargaining for scarfs, went to a jewely store and did our purchaes. Everyone is trying to sell you something and you have to drink tea in their shop to begin negotiations and above all you must smile. It actually makes it a very pleasant experience. We had an early night as it is early rising.

Getting to know our group and truly enjoying them, right size and right mix of people, lots of laughs.

Monday, 20 November 2006

Location: Cairo, Egypt

(Nov 26 - we just arrived back from Nile trip so will update you on our trip from NOv 20 - today)

We met the other tour members and seem like a good group. Five singles plus tour leaer, 5 couples, several people from Australia. Went out fo ran authentic Egyptian meal, nnodes, rice with chick peas, fried onions pour tomato sauce over top, actually quite good (I say that now, but after having a few times, it is like having hamburgers every day!!)

We were up early in the morning and off to the Ciaro museum, most interesting. So much to absorb. The Rosetta stone, the key to unlocking the history of Egypt was the only items not original. It was written in hyrogliphics and told the story of Egypte. Saw the King Tut display. Artifacts went back to over 3100 BC up to 30 BC, the last dynasty, many mummies and caskets. Every pharough spent his life building a place to die, large statues as to how they wanted to look, they lkeft jewels, food and inside th tomb were hyrogliphics depicting his life.
Every site we saw was even more unbelievable. We left and headed to th epyramids. I had to pinch myself that we were actually there. Unfoprtunately there are so many tourists and it is so commerical it takes away the magnificance of it, but I was able to take myself away into imagination land and looked for Lawrence riding on a camel coming over the sand dunes!!! He never appeared, but alot of egyptians trying to get you to take a camel ride appeared, not quite the same image.

It truly is amazing at the size of th epyramids. We didn't go inside as we were told there is nothing inside and you have to bend down to get through. We then drove over to see the Sphinx and it as magnificant as the pictures.

We headed back to our hotel, got ready to go o our next adventure...the TRAIN for Luxor, 7 p.m. we departed, just use your imagination of what a train station in Egypt would be like and it is probably twice as hectic. We hung around for a n hour and watched several trains pull thru. I was a bit concerned they were our train. There were actually many tourists doing the same as us. Klaus found a few new friends (German) while waiting. Finally our train arrived. 1 hr late (getting to understand Egyptian time) in the second car is a guy with his head hangout out holding a gun, gave me a lot of confidence... As I was standing there, I could only one will believe we are doing this and why we are doing this!! We rushed onb and found our roms. We had our own car. The rooms were quite nice, the beds came down and we had a little sink, towels, etc. We were served our dinner, again quite good or maybe we ere just hungry. Then bedtime, I slept great, smooth ride, next thing I knew a knock came waking us up for morning, had breakfast then time to get off the trian.

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Recent Messages

From Shirley McIntyre
I have so enjoyed reading about your African adventures and it's taken me back to our time there - it is indeed a country of differences and you have experienced an amazing amount of the culture and the challenges. Thanks for giving everyone the opportunity of travelling vicariously! Take care .....
Response: Thanks Shirley, I knew you would enjoy the travels
From honya
Again, what an amazing trip. I talked to someone who had said when they visited the pyramids that there were armed guards everywhere, whereas I don't see you mention anything like that. Some former parents from College Park are living in Cairo. Their names are Michael and Leeza Milo. They told me to give you their cell number if you need anything. They would love to meet you but I think you are in Aswan now and leaving soon. Their cell number is 010 236 9251. I wish I had got it to you sooner. So glad all has gone so well! Happy birthday to Klaus!

Response: Thanks Honya, I guess there were some armed guards around the pyramids, but it was so common in Egypt, we didn't think about it, sorry we missed your friends, would have enjoyed talking to them
From Kim
What a birthday...I was excited about having a kareoke party this weekend for it sounds kinda lame...maybe you can invite Meheb so I can see if he sings as well as he dances! ;) Sounds so amazing there!! Wish I could be there. Can't wait to talk to you when you get back...see you in less than a month! Miss you tons. xoxo
Response: We will be home the day before your birthday and will call you on your birthday. Hope you have a good time, we leave in a few hours
From Bob & Brenda
This is very cool Karen. What an adventure you guys are having. Take care ... see you when you're back.
Response: See you in a few days
From Margie
Had to put away the golf clubs today about 4inches of snow and still snowing!
Response: ok, please put a stop before we get home...but won't be long and we will both be enjoying Palm Springs
From Kyle & Cork
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KLAUS!!!! We just wanted to let you know we are thinking of you on your birthday. This is the second year in a row that you have celebrated your Birthday overseas. Take a look at your email when you have a chance.

Love ya
Kyle and Cork
Response: Thanks, you will see the kind of birthday dad celebrated...difficult to top this one
From Kim
HAPPY BDAY DADDY!!! Ok I'm a day early, but it's American Thanksgiving tomorrow and I wont be near a computer to wish you Happy Bday. Hope you have a great day sailing down the Nile! Miss you both and cant wait to see you in less than a month! ;) It wont be as exciting as Africa but I have tons of places to take you while you are here!
Response: Thanks, you can see dad had a great time...looking forwad to seeing you soon
From Kim & Tracy
Hi! I left you several messages on here but for some unknown reason they do not post! I am glad you are doing well - your trip is something even my imagination can't comprehend!! Grandma is fine. We have been entertaining her and she has been feeding us!! LOL! Spent entire weekend together last wkd. She is on the same flight to Calgary with us. I cannot deal with her flight as I am not authorized on her file. We can deal with the flights when you return or even after she is there. It is the return trip anyway. Wish Klaus Happy Birthday tomorrow!!! Now... COME HOME!!!! Miss you - Love K & T
Response: Thanks Kim, not sure why we didn't get the messages, glad all is well I knew you and Tracy would look after Grm. I ws worried the flight was for her departure, so no worries. See you soon and we are really ready to come home, went to L'Amour coffee shop today i Cairo and had a latte and Chicken Caesar...first real food in some time, just sat there for the afternoon and soaked it all up. See you in a couple days
From jean and dale
Hello you two intrepid travellers! Egypt will never be the same! We thoroughly enjoyed your comments as you navigated Cairo- quite a city, isn't it. We got home safe and sound and I THINK without fleas! Excellent flights! Enjoyed a phone visit with your Mum tonite, K. Will see Linda this week. Glad to be sleeping in our own bed again, but what an amazing experience we have been so fortunate to have together!
Hugs and happy times, J & D
Response: Hi J&D, we miss travelling with you, really enjoying the experience, but can't wait for our own bed as well....I had a lot of bites and I think some medication I took caused terrible bruising on my legs, Klaus was concerned that he would be accused of abusing me!!! Looking forward to getting together when we get back.
From Vi
This is just the most exciting trip one can ever take and it is so incredible to follow it from home. Sure wish we were doing this with you. I never imagined that Cairo would be so (annoying??) that's probably not the right word. You are amazing with your computer skills and being able to share all this with us. Can't wait to see all the pictures. Keep up the dairy. We are going for a week to Mexico this Sat. (how boring)
Response: Enjoy Mexico. Can't wait to share our trip with you. I have changed my opinion of the people and Cairo, I think it was just overwhelming and we were on our own, I have been told I make a good Egyptian woman...Klaus was offered 2 camels and a donkey for me!!! I was concerned for a few moment!!
From Kim & Tracy
Wow! Good bye Daily Courier, we look up your site every morning when we get up! Damsel in distress.... you are too funny! We cannot wait to hear how you like the pyramids! I laughed about your videoing... I can just hear you two laughing (bickering) about your skill! You crack me up! Have fun on your last week and COME HOME!!! We miss you here! Love you guys.
Response: The Bickerson's are still at it!!!, Love you too and see you soon
From pc
Fun to hear of all the adventures..what an experience. Bring on the coffee! I miss it too, tequila does not seem to cut it for me! enjoying the heat and sunshine!!! Get rid of your cold. Hugs
Response: Looking forward to sharing stories and good in Egypt isn't like in Ethiopia
From Kim
Sorry mom and dad...had a busy week.
I'm glad they don't think you are a hooker like the Danish girl....and i'm glad you didn't get thrown into egyptian jail! Wish I was there with you guys....all your adventures make my life sound so boring! ;) What are you doing next week on dad's b-day? Miss you both! xoxo
Response: Glad you reminded me!! We will be sailing down the Nile on Dad's birthday, I am sure the staff on the boat will do something. Dad always seems to be in some other country on his birthday! Miss you and looking forward to seeing you in December.
From Honya
I think I lose weight everytime I read about you walking, 2 hour hiking!!!, climbing, etc. So, are you losing tons of weight? I remember when Gary went to Africa for a month, he came home about 30 pounds lighter. You mention it not easy to get water. Do you drink bottled water in the hotels, what about bathing, etc.? Are the eggs like our eggs?

Looking forward to hearing about your perceptions about Egypt.

Again, safe travel for you all.

Response: We drink bottled water, but because of the bathroom situation we aren'et really drinking what we should. The eggs are actually quite good and we get our protein for the day!!! Not sure if we lost anyweight yet as bread seems to be the staple food. Read on about Egypt, verdict is still out, Cairo is very busy
From loretta and bob
we are so enjoying reading about your adventures - sounds like you have experienced the gamut of emotions from wonder to despair - but that's what life is all about, isn't it?
-your descriptions of kenya remind us of the messages we received from sarah and jesse when they were there - they ended their safari at carnivores too!
-i'm sure you will be ready to rest and absorb all that you have seen and felt - are you still thinking of going south in january? i have a lead on a possible timeshare in palm springs - we would love to see you, either in kelowna or down south if it works out.
-look forward to hearing about your adventures in egypt - keep well and we will be thinking of you --loretta and bob
Response: Yes it has been wonder to despair, neverending..we are off to Egypt now. We will be in palm springs Jan/Feb will send your our info when we et back. Would love to see you.
From Deb
To the Bickerson's

I finally got a chance to read about your travels. As Karen Jr says the armchair travelling is great.
I am going to Lethbridge this weekend and will let you know about that!!!! Just doesn't have the same impact for some reason!
An amazing trip so far and I will continue to keep up with your diaries.
Karen, I really need to know if you took the proper clothes!!!!!
Take care and Klaus I will be coming to see your movies.

Response: Thanks Deb...yes I brough the proper clothes, but now can go "shopping" in Egypt for some light clothing!!! and jewels!!
From Velma
How interesting - sounds very emotional - just saw an Imax presentation on the Blue Nile originating in Ethiopia and the scenery was fabulous - hope you're feeling better - take care and continue to enjoy
Response: You would really enjoy the scenery, it truly is breathtaking.
From Honya
Hi Karen and Klaus;

Amazing adventures! I am so glad you are keeping such a complete journal. It really makes you feel like you are "along for the ride". Can't wait to see your pictures. Will keep checking in to stay in the loop. Safe journey to you all.

Response: Thanks Honya, will have more pictures when we get a faster connection. If you come and visit we will keep you entertained for days!!!! Ron will enjoy our safari pictures
From joan and pete
Well - I must say I am truly amazed at the amount of things you have experienced! It truly sounds like the adventure of your life. Good on you for helping the girl with her schooling. Am excited to continue reading
Response: Miss you all, having difficulties in getting my book read, when my head hits the pillow I am out!!!
From Margie
Karen these are text books for elementary to high scholl and fairly current
Response: thansk margie, will look into seeing what we can do
You think you have seen wildlife! Here in Edmonton while I was driving to work, I spotted the rare 2 legged Snow Cougar stalking her prey.

We enjoy hearing about your trip.

Response: lol, I know this is not your game, but glad you are enjoying our adventure. We will be ready for a leisure trip after this
From PC
Just got Mon up to date with your facinating journal entries for 10/11/06 .Can hardly to see the 'award winning documentry', and the star participants! We miss you!! Keep the entries coming..better than a book!
Response: You will soon be off on your own, safe flight and will keep in touch
From Margie
Group from KSS would like to send books to Ethiopia any suggestions of who to contact
Response: will get info for you. Text books...pleaes clarify
From Fay
Sounds like you are having a wonderful time! A trip of a lifetime, I think. We can share stories and pictures I hope when you are back. Think of you often and know how much you must be enjoying it Karen - your love of travel and adventure! Take care as I know what those "roads?" are like.
Response: Thanks Fay, we will get together and share stories
From Kim
Sounds like you are having a wonderful trip! And of course you got sick mom...any trip you take you get sick! ;) I was shocked when you said dad DIDN'T take any photo' he learning to talk in clicks yet? Miss ya! Post more pics soon!
Response: love ya!!