Location: Box Hill, Australia
we are happy to say that we are back in Melbourne and have surprised all our family for christmas. Now we are slowly getting back to the real world and look forward to catching up with everyone
love Al and Marty xx
we made it safely out of Dubai and are now freezing. don't have internet access easily here but will work something out for christmas day. Family let us know what your plans are, when you'll be home for a call/skype (see what we can organise)
Having fun with our friends love to everyone Al and Marty xx
Location: Luxor, Egypt
Well I know its been ages since weve updated you all so Im going to try to fill you in on the main things (that I can remember lol) at the moment we are sailing the Nile on a felucca between Aswan and Luxor and are probably the most relaxed that we have been since arriving in Egypt. I now know what people mean when they say that you only need a week here. Everything is hard work and you have work out the price before you eat or drink anything as nothing has a price written on it and it is always really expensive for tourists until you bargain them down, then it is still expensive but not as much so.
We arrived in Cairo on the 18th at 2am and went to our hostel where we slept in the next morning and chilled in the common room deciding what to do. We met an American couple Leslie and Guevara who had already been in Egypt for a week and were talking about going down to Ethiopia so we swapped stories and then went to visit the hanging church together and the Coptic area. That night we went to see the Sufi dancers which are like the whirling dervishes of Turkey, it was amazing they just spin and spin and spin and then stop and dont even wobble. We were met out the front by a friend of L and Gs who took us all back to his shop for tea and shisha it was and interesting experience, when we were leaving we went to his friends shop/ chemist and went out the back where he had all these oils and powders very creepy but cool at the same time, Martin brought some aftershave.
The next day we had a quiet day, called home and got to see mum and dad on skype, then we went for koshery with L & G its an Egyptian meal of mixed pastas and noodles with tomato sauce and fried onions and lentils very filling and cheap. After our meal we wandered around for a while and got invited into a bar which was cool it was only older men sitting around drinking mainly brandy on ice. We were talking to the locals with words and gestures and they were passing us nuts and beans and olives and all having a fun evening, we got talking to two men in particular and they took us to a disco where we almost got in a fight with a local it was a crazy evening in Cairo. We went back to the hostel and then played dominos and drank tea.
The Next day we went to Alexandria with L & G on the train it was nice to be on the move again and be away from the hassle of the locals. We got to see lots of countryside and arrived in Alex about 3pm first we needed lunch then we were sitting in the lobby deciding what to do when a New Zealand traveller came in and they tried to charge him 200 EP for a room we got chatting to him and offered him a bed in our room which was only 24EP so he bunked in with us and then we all went to walk around town and instead got suckered in to going on a horse and carriage ride which was really good we got to see a lot of the city and didnt get hassled by people on the street. After the ride we had dinner and went back to the hotel for some drinks and a game of cards then pool it was a good night.
On our 2nd Day in Alex we went to the Library of Alexandria which was amazing it was built in the last 5-10 years and is the biggest library in the world but doesnt hold us many books as the Library of Congress in DC. They have an amazing website also where you can read books actually turning the pages online these were from Napoleons day. (cant remember the site but have a google) they also had a printing machine that could print and bind a book from cover to cover in 20 mins so so so fast and a bunch of old printing machines that were the first in Egypt.
The next day we went to see Pompeiis pillar and the catacombs they were both ok we didnt pay to get into the catacombs and nearly got into trouble when we were trying to sneak out but we walked really fast and just ignored the guard asking to see our tickets. We then went to see a really big mosque and then it was time to get our train back to Cairo.
We arrived in Cairo and tried to get a ticket to Aswan but they were all sold out so we got a taxi to the airport and got a flight for $150 Aus each which was alright. We were waiting in the airport for our Friend Paula to met us from Scotland and got talking to the Airport Authority man and the manager of the terminal so they organised for a man to met Paula when she go off the plane and bring her to us. Unfortunately her bag was lost and she had to fill in forms and we had to get our flight so we left and she met us in Aswan, but it was a very strange night. We waited for Paula at the airport and she got there about 1pm and then we all went to our hotel and showered and ate and had an easy afternoon.
In Aswan we walked through the markets, went to Abu Simbel, The High Dam, the tombs of the nobles and the Philae temple in 3 days then we caught the felucca up to Luxor which is a brilliant thing to do.
Before Egypt there was Ethiopia
We spent a lovely relaxed week in Addis Ababa , where we met Emily from Alaska and Francois from Québec , we wandered through the market which is meant to be the first and biggest market in Africa, we tasted spices and learned about the local food Injera which is a very yeasty dough/bread that is used like a spoon to eat the meat and veggie paste that they eat, we sampled some at a local restaurant. We went to a bar where Emily and I were the only girls in there that werent working girls interesting! We met a couple from Canada who where there on a church trip and had Full for breakfast with them which is a bean and tomato paste eaten with bread yum. Then we went with them to a different market where we brought a bag as we have both our packs full of souvenirs and needed room for our clothes. We went to a museum and tried to go to the National Museum but it was closed for the time we were there but we learnt that the main exhibit Lucy a 32 million year old woman was in America on tour so it was ok. We did a lot of shopping as they had beautiful scarves and baskets and so cheap, and coffee martin had a lot of coffee as Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee.
Before we got to Ethiopia we were in Kenya and Uganda on the last leg of our overland expedition. We changed trucks and crew for the last bit and hit a lot of rough roads, which was tough going for a few days but worth it to see the Gorillas. After the gorillas we went to Lake Nakuru NP where we got to see flamingos and rhinos up close so that finished the big five sightings for us. We made our way back to Nairobi and spent a few days there relaxing after our tour had finished, we went to see the giraffe sanctuary where Martin and Sarah both kissed giraffes and then the baby elephant sanctuary and the Nairobi park which was like a zoo, we got to see a Bongo which is a deer like creature that they used to make bongo drums from.
All in all we have been busy seeing what we can see, this morning we had a balloon flight over the fields in Luxor which was amazing so calm and quiet, the flame of the gas to lift the balloon was so hot you had to turn away from it. We have another 2 nights in Luxor before we head back to Cairo for 3 nights then onto Dubai for a relaxing 4 nights.
Hope all is well back home and with our friends around the world.
Alice and Martin xxxxx
Location: Cairo, Egypt
we made it to Cairo and have reletivly fast internet yay
about to sart exploring
love you xx
HI Guys we are flying to Cairo tonight with a stop over in Sudan pretty cool!!!
Had a great time in Adis meet lots of lovely people and got to see alot of the city.
Hope everyone at home is good.
Love Al and Marty
P.S. We have been trying to contact Hannah and Damo are you ok?
Location: Adis Ababa, Ethiopia
Hi everyone we made it safely to Ethiopia had a great dinner on the plane and then arrived at our hotel to find it a bit less that what we thought it would be but had a good nights sleep and now are heading into the centre to find out more love to all xx
Location: Narobi, Kenya
Hi to all,
We are of to Ethiopia tonight and are flying with Ethiopia air at 6.15pm so wish us luck we have a place to stay and also will be picked up from the air port. Will update soon with our time in Ethiopia.
Love to you all at home
Alice & Martin xoxoxo
Location: Kampala, Uganda
Hi everyone, Im writing this in the hope that I can upload this in town later today as it has been along time since we updated you properly. We are currently in Uganda and have 8 days left of our African tour adventure. We went to track the Gorillas yesterday and it was amazing we walked through the Ugandan rain forest for a couple of hours until we found where the gorilla family were sitting and then we got to spend an hour with them it was amazing. There were 3 silver backs, 3 adolescents and a mother and baby who is a week off being 4 months old so cute. I didnt realise how big gorillas are for one thing and how huge their bellies are for another, we got to watch some of the adolescents play fight and try to intimidate us with growls and chest beatings it was really cool. The gorillas have a very pungent odour and are grade-A farters they are loud and stinky and just let rip with no worries it was funny to watch. When I was filming one of the adolescents came and sat right in front of me at arms length and was watching me it was a crazy experience then he wanted to take my camera so one of the trackers had to scare him off by waving a branch. At one time the big silver back tried to intimidate us with a really loud noise like a grunting growling scream and the boys in our group almost messed themselves. We came back to camp exhausted and thrilled to discover that we didnt have enough permits for everyone to see the Gorillas in the time we were meant to spend here so we are going to be stuck here for a couple of extra days and miss out on things down the line which got everyone abit riled up, were lucky we have had 2 months in Africa and got to see the Gorillas first so we wont miss out on to much. Today we did lots of hand washing just about everything in our packs and then just had to run out and bring it inside as it started to rain by the time we had re-rigged all the ropes in our room the rain had stopped Murphys law hey!
What else have we done well we went to Zanzibar in Tanzania and spent 3 nights on the spice island, beautiful white sand beaches, and we learnt about the slave trade that was on the island as well as the many herbs and spices that are grown there. We went into the village one night and ate dinner from a local shack Martin had beef stock with random meat pieces stewed inside it with lime juice to freshen it up and I had a tomato/onion sauce with cooked green bananas (they tasted abit like potato) and we had fresh squeezed tropical juice. After that meal we brought some beef skewers from another stall and they were awesome so tender yum! We also went to see the Red Columbus monkeys which are only found on Zanzibar that was pretty cool they were in the trees all around us being cheeky and playful, after that we got to feed sea turtles which was amazing they were so big and ancient, but at the same time very graceful. The Island reminded us of Bali but a lot more run down, the beach was beautiful but the hotel looked to be falling down and we had a rat in our room, which chewed into one of the girls bags, after that I was looking forward to getting back into our tent. When we got back to the main land, there were a couple of people not feeling well, which was put down to the rough seas on the crossing back but by 10pm one of them went to hospital and was thought to have dysentery/ food poisoning and by 1:30am Martin was going to the bathroom every 30 mins with vomiting and the squirts and another girl was worse than Martin. The next morning Martin and Rach were given the option to go to the Hospital and catching up with the truck ourselves but Martin was ok he said and Rach thought she would be ok so we trucked on for 15 hours and at that nights stop Rach went to hospital and Martin was feeling a bit better so he had a little dinner and an early night. He recovered well and the next day Rach came out of Hospital and we all went to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.
The Crater was awesome we got to see lots of animals close up and had lunch by a hippo pool where there was a tiny baby hippo. That afternoon we drove across to the Serengeti on one of the worst roads it was so bumpy it could have been an amusement park ride. But we made it in one piece, we got into the park and did a bit of game driving but then it started to poor with rain we quickly put the roof back on our 4WD and drove to the camp site within the park where we sat in the car for the first half hour as it was pissing down. We eventually made it out of the car and set up our tents and the rain held off for the rest of the night we had a hot dinner and went straight to bed. The next morning was not raining so we set off on a game drive and got to see more animals there were 3 lionesses just by the side of the road and a leopard walked by our truck and I saw my first Hippo out of the water, I could just see it's backside but it was cool. We headed back to camp that afternoon and went to a Masai Market they had lots of Masai shoes for sale which are like sandals made from old car tyres they were pretty cool.
We have also been to the Masai Mara where we got to do some awesome game drives and talk to some of the Masai people, we also got to see lots of hippos and the wildebeest migration from the Serengeti to the Mara. The river we were sitting at was full of dead wilder beast that had tried to cross the river and been trampled and drowned, there was a croc floating around that was too full to eat but would swim up to a carcass and give it a half hearted bite.
Thats about it for the high light reel we will have to keep some news for when we finally get home to tell you all in person.
Love A and M xx
P.S We have just had a really loud stay in this campsite due to the American elections who knew that Africans cared so much about american politics?
P.P.S Martin and some of the boys have started Movember so look out for some porn star mo's
Location: Kampala, Uganda
we are safe just got into Uganda today and are on our way to see the Gorillas the roads here are very rough and bumpy but i haven't been motion sick yet!!
We do have electricity here (lol) and even got a warn shower today, we have upgraded for the first time on our trip and are in a dorm tonight not tents so looking forward to a good nights sleep hopefully.
Congrats to Tasha and Dallas on their Son Walker and Rach and Rhys on their daughter Lilly.
Congrats to Sharna and Martin on their Engagement
on a sad note Fiona's Grand father who we stayed with in Scotland just passed away at the start of the month so our thoughts are with them all at this time.
love to all at home and around the world
al and marty xxx oooo
Hi guys we are well just got back from the Serengeti it was amazing to see the animals and we are on our way to Kenya this Arvo hope all is well back home and with our friends around the world love Al and Marty xx