Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Egypt: Video from Abu Simbel

Inside King Ramses II's temple at Abu Simbel (shhhh!)

Egypt: Aboard the M.S. Sherry Boat

The best way to see the temples and sites in Southern "Upper" Egypt is on a cruise ship from the Nile.  We booked our Nile cruise with “Thomas Cook” at the advice of our friends Laura and Joe who live in Cairo. Unknowingly we had made reservations with one of the first travel agents ever established in Egypt. Established in the 1880’s Cook Ltd. can be credited with establishing the first commercial infrastructure for Nile cruises.

Ten Films Set in Egypt

List taken from Eyewitness Travel “Top 10 Cairo & The Nile”

Have you seen/read any of these?

1. The Spy Who Loved Me
In this 1977 James Bond adventure the requisite foreign exoticism appears in the scenes at the Pyramids and Karnak temple. The magnificent temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel becomes the fictional field headquarters of M16 containing M’s office, conference rooms, and Q’s laboratory.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Egypt: Dahab

I can see Saudi Arabia from my lounge chair at the hotel pool!  Insane.

That is Saudi Arabia, across the Red Sea from the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt

It is a bit surreal to be here, so near to where all of the fighting and turmoil is.  However, I do feel like I can understand Arab people and culture a little better by being here, seeing the mountains and the desert that they come from.  Everything here in Egypt is so interesting....the juxtaposition between ancient Egyptian history, Biblical history, and current events is blowing my little mind.

I do feel weird and guilty for being at a "resort" on the beach, while there is so much poverty and trash abundant.

Laura and Susannah lounging poolside

Dahab is known for being a world-class snorkeling/diving destination, and it is a welcome divergence to be able to get in the water and cool off, and to not have to be so covered up from the sun and heat.  We went snorkeling today and saw giant clams, lion fish, and amazing coral!

The Red Sea

Monday, June 28, 2010

Egypt: A Brief History of the Pyramids

Starting around the First Dynasty, Egyptians buried their dead in an undeground chamber, and covered it with a mastaba.  A mastaba is a low structure, rectangular in plan, with inward-sloping walls and a flat roof.

a mastaba, source

A Northumberland Wedding

When we found out that our good friend from Hawaii would be getting married in England this summer, we figured we would swing by since we’d be “in the area.” (“in the area” meaning on that side of the pond.) After the stag party shenanigans in Manchester, we set off driving north through rolling farmland and sheep country. We arrived at the Northumberland coast to balmy weather, rocky coasts, castles, and cute little fishing villages.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Manchester “Stag” Party

Just like afternoon tea and driving on the left side of the road, attending a British “stag” party is a cultural experience not to be missed! Luckily our host’s good friend was going to be getting married mere weeks after we were there, and the entire crew came south for a rowdy weekend in Manchester to celebrate. The blokes were nice enough to let Ethan and I tag along… (yes, they let a girl come along on a boy’s night... I promised not to post any pics that would get anyone in trouble).

Three things America needs to adopt from the Brits:

1. The word ‘Fantastic.”

2. Roundabouts. No joke! They take some (okay, a lot) getting used to, but they are so much more efficient than traffic lights. No waiting on long lights, plus the center roundabout can be planted with greenery and trees. Bonus for the planet and beautification!

3. Afternoon tea. I don’t care who you are, everyone needs a pick-me-up in the mid afternoon. Why not celebrate it and make it a social event?! With biscuits!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ft. Lauderdale - a little history with a Tennessee connection

So... Andrew Jackson really had an issue with the Native Americans (yes he was a little judgemental back in the day).  The Seminole tribe were concentrated in the area of present-day Ft. Lauderdale and Gen. Jackson wanted them gone.  He decided to call on his trusted friend, Captain William Lauderdale from Sumner County, TN, to come take care of the issue.

Captain Lauderdale and 400 mounted horsemen rode down from Tennessee and fought the Native Americans for the land. They built a small fort in the area.  The fort not only survived later wars, but the area around it began to grow and flourish and came to be known as the town of Ft. Lauderdale.

Today Ft. Lauderdale and Davie, FL look like this:

Ethan and Rob throwing the disc

Nice beaches, no evidence of any wars.  And the town of Ft. Lauderdale still bears a Tennesseean's name!  Woot woot!

Ft. Lauderdale - Bonnet House

Having an afternoon to kill, we decided to check out one of Fort Lauderdale's Historic Places: The Bonnet House.  This turned out to be an awesome lesson in history, architecture, and Florida coastal development patterns.  I think I read about it on a blog glad that I have wasted so many hours reading blogs!

...and Bagels

Breakfast in Boca (or anywhere in South Florida) consist of: smoked fish, dried fish, kippered fish and…bagels! The Jewish delis have the familiar vibe of your corner mom & pop diner, with a distinctly different menu. You won’t find bacon and eggs here! Once you can accept the idea of fish for breakfast, it really is pretty awesome!

Boca, Bar Mitzvahs...

To understand a Bar Mitzvah in Boca Raton, one has to first understand the familial bond forged when a culture is transplanted. My dad grew up in a tight-knit Jewish community in Brooklyn, NY. On his block and in his small apartment building, he grew up surrounded by family and friends; most of whom had recently emigrated from Eastern Europe. Like so many other families like mine, these relationships stood the test of time and, of course, the move to Florida.

I don’t know what number or how many times removed Michael and I are, but that technicality is moot. Put a bunch of Jews in a room and we are all family!

Arlene and Stacey

Let me set the stage for this experience: Imagine generations of strong traditionalism crossed with the flash of south Florida panache ala Will Smith’s “Welcome to Miami” video. . .

The brothers Levine

Jews + Hip Hop = “White Hot”

This was the theme of the Bar Mitzvah party thrown by our hosts, my cousins, the Myers! The party in the evening was awesome, to say the least. I vaguely remember having a Bar Mitzvah of my own, but I can tell you with absolutely clarity that I didn’t have simulcast video projections of the dance floor, I didn’t have fly girls, and I didn’t have a pimp ass white suit!

The Bar Mitzvah makes his paparazzi entrance!

Ethan and Steph gettin' down
Attention to detail is an understatement. I mean, my cousin has a white hot art deco inspired Logo! If Michael wanted to launch his own men’s clothing line or fragrance, his brand has been established!

Even though the party was awesome, let’s not forget that we were celebrating a coming of age (actually called “becoming a Bar Mitzvah”). Diligent study of the Torah and a personal commitment to tradition are a necessary step towards becoming a Bar Mitzvah. The party is the icing on the cake.

Friday, June 11, 2010

PKWA Aloha Party

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you before, but the people I work with at Philip White Architects are awesome. Seriously. If I were to write a manual about how to run a respectful, successful, fun-yet- hard-working architectural practice, I would be writing about the folks at PKWA. I can’t say enough good about Pip, Terine, Laura, Michelle, Craig, Jane, and Cheryl.

They threw the nicest party ever. I am so grateful for the love and support…and for all that I learned along the way…and the knowledge that I have a lifetime of learning yet to come. I miss you guys!

THANK YOU to the PKWA crew. And here, a bit of the shenanigans that the “Aloha Party” included:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Week in the life – Honolulu

Our last week in Honolulu before departing for the trip was bittersweet…and busy! Who knew wrapping and putting your life on hold was so involved! I had envisioned a week of hanging with friends, hiking, and soaking up the sun. Instead we were wrapping up work projects, selling our things, packing our things, giving away our things, and packing some more. It makes me feel gross thinking about how much crap we had crammed in to a one bedroom apartment. BIG MAHALOS to our friends who helped us out, and brought us beer while we were packing.

Here is a week in the life – in pictures:

the pre-7 am view down the corridor in my office on the last day of work

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sorry For the Delay

Sorry for the delay in getting the blog up and running...we have been dealing with lingering jet-lag (due in part to a few late nights out), spotty internet connection, the desire to be out exploring rather than sitting at the laptop, and a power issue that was only recently solved with this creative and sculptural solution:

Let’s hope we calculated the voltage conversions correctly (thank you, MEP exam!) and don’t blow ourselves up.