the Long's Strange Trip

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Questing into the unknown...
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Carmen Miranda Goes to Bali
Cartwheeling Kids
I'm puttin' on my tophat
The Fallacy of Prohibition
Sleeping at the Job
Gummy Squares
Toy Boats
One Photo, Please!
The National Sound
Same same, but different


  • If you have an early bus to catch in Egypt and you stop in at a local store or restaurant for some food, you'll no doubt wake up the proprietor, who is typically sleeping on a pallet on the floor.  We found this all over the country, in all types of businesses.  Even the help in the hotels bed down in the lobby every night.

  • There is no official spelling in English for Arabic words, including the names of cities.  Because of that, you'll see things spelled four or five different ways sometimes.

  • Traveling south from Cairo by train, the tracks follow the Nile pretty closely.  The area that abuts the river is very fertile, with farms and palm trees galore.  More than 500 yards away from the river, the land becomes arid and dry.

  • Unlike Morocco, the other Muslim country we've visited, men and women are often seen out together. 

  • In Egypt we visited our first huge American-style grocery store since being home.  Swainsbury in Giza, outside of Cairo, had everything from peanut butter to Aramis cologne.  The cheese sample department was especially fun!

  • Almost every apple we've bought has a "Washington Apples" sticker on it.

  • Nearly every hotel room we stayed in had at least one mosquito in it at night, and he usually woke us up at some point during the night.  In Cairo one night we killed eight of them between the time we went to bed and morning.

  • A lot of buildings look unfinished, like somebody may come back and add another floor to them one day.

  • Wondering where all the extra Tang went after Americans discovered that it was just sugar and orange color?  The Egyptians love it!

  • If you're a tourist and you ask for coffee, you get instant Nescafe.  The Egyptians all drink Turkish coffee, which is made by boiling water, sugar, and very finely ground coffee together.

  • Someone must have done a study and determined that using your headlights wastes gas, so drivers all over the country, no matter how congested the traffic or how dark the night, use their headlights only sparingly.

  • Every morning you'll see store and restaurant owners "watering the ground", as we called it.  They throw water on the ground to keep the dust down during the day.

  • People carry all kinds of things on their heads.  One of the sights that is indelibly printed on my mind is that of a man bicycling through a huge, rush hour traffic jam in Cairo with a wooden pallet of fresh pita bread on his head.

  • Entire families (two parents, two kids) traveling on one motorcycle.

  • Blatant ripoffs of famous brand names are everywhere.  Garten's Gin and Fineland Vodka have already been mentioned, but there's also Borio (chocolate cookies with white cream filling) and Arabisco.  In one town we saw a cheap jewelry store named, boldly, "Rolex".

  • Thick shakes in Dahab






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