Archive for July, 2009

Guest Post – Egypt!

July 20, 2009

World traveler Tanya returns with an account from her trip to Egypt a couple of years ago…

Taking a cruise up the Nile brings you a new adventure every day from the moment you step off the boat.  Whether it’s scenic sights or special transportation there is always something different to do.  You travel overnight by boat and as you dock each day you can choose from a donkey, horse and carriage, or motored vehicle (yay!) to visit the unique ancient sights including the Temple of Hatshepsut (with amazingly vivid hieroglyphics), the Valley of the Kings and Queens (full of famous tombs like King Ramsey III), the island Temple of Philae or the temple of Abu Simble on Lake Nasser on the southern border with Sudan.  The options seem endlessly exciting. Don’t leave without a a night on a felucca boat!  Select from a variety of tours  here.

Local Drugs for Local Bugs
I caught the flu.  I felt like shit beat to death.  They have a saying in Egypt “local bugs for local drugs,” so I had not bothered to pack any meds with me.  After becoming too pale for the Egyptians to look at me any longer, my tour guide suggested I go to the local pharmacy.  (FYI – Tour Guiding is rapidly becoming one of the most popular degrees in Egypt.)   So I dragged myself to the local pharmacy where I breathlessly explained my symptoms to the 16-year-old doctor.   Within minutes, he had the cure for me for the total cost of US$1.25, which included some cough drops and more importantly, a box of Cipro.  From my 9/11 experience, I knew that Cipro (in the US) was kept on hand in the large bank I worked at for top executives to treat anthrax inhalation, so I thought that was a little more than strange to just be handing it out to someone with a cold.  Certain forms of Ciproflaxin are not FDA approved (such as oral and I.V.) but different doses are commonly used around the world, so rest assured its OK for treatment Lower Respiratory Tract Infections and other common issues.   Also, a tip – if you are ever sick, you can ask to rent a hotel room for the afternoon.  A luxury five star hotel cost me the equivalent of $25 in Luxor, Egypt from noon-8pm.

Despite Tanya’s unfortunate sickness, she saw some amazing sights in Egypt.  Here are a few of her photos.

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Random Travel Pic

July 17, 2009
Streets of Valparaiso, Chile

Streets of Valparaiso, Chile

I Wanna Chocolate Milkshake! Actually…No I Don’t.

July 14, 2009

Did you ever think you could walk up to a food stand and yell “Gimme a hot dog, B*TCH!?”

Well, at Chicago’s Wieners Circle, it’s actually encouraged. Our friends Mike & Laura, who are way more familiar with Chicago than we are, dragged us out to Lincoln Park at 2AM after a night of partying in the city so we could experience the infamous mutual verbal abuse while ordering late-night snacks such as burgers, hot dogs and cheesy fries.

James and I were completely shocked that this establishment actually existed (and thrived!), so we mostly observed Mike & Laura get into (an expected) yelling match with the order clerk. Laura sparked a nice insult war by making a comment about one of the women’s Michael Jackson tee-shirts. It was hard not to burst out laughing while watching the two nicest people on the planet try to insult a friendly-looking employee for no reason – but that’s what’s expected here. It’s kind of unreal. To give you a better idea of how it started, check out the video below from This American Life:

How’s the food, you ask? I didn’t order anything of my own (Yikes, was too scared!! No actually, just full from a steak dinner), but their hot dogs are definitely worth noting. Served on a poppy seed bun with tomato AND a dill pickle (at least that’s what Mike got on his), it hid the gross “meat byproducts in a casing” flavor and made a nice late-night snack. The cheesy fries were nothing to write home about though, served as a dry stack of crinkle-cuts loaded with a glob of nacho cheese….ew.

Mike is practicing his next insult for round #2 at The Wieners Circle.

Mike is practicing his next insult for round #2 at The Wieners Circle.

P.S. The title of this post will only make sense if you watch the video. 🙂

Smart Read

July 13, 2009

I’m filing this article under tips – ways to (try) to avoid checked-baggage fees. My favorite travel columnist, Chris Elliott, offers up some practical advice on how to bypass those creeping fees…

The Wall Street Journal's fee comparison from November 2008...some of these have probably gone up since then!

The Wall Street Journal's fee comparison from November 2008...some of these have probably gone up since then!

More on “The Ledge”

July 8, 2009

The New York Times just published an in-depth look at the glass enclosure project at the Sears Willis Tower (though they still refer to it as the Sears Tower – surprised?).  Apparently these viewing decks just opened last week, so we were unknowingly right in the middle of “grand opening” excitement.

Sally Ryan of the NY Times was able to get some more interesting shots of “The Ledge” (below).

NYTimes

The throngs of tourists must have moved away for the NY Times photographer to take this shot...

The throngs of tourists must have moved away for the NY Times photographer to take this shot...