A Travellerspoint blog

The land of the Pharoahs!

Cairo, Egypt

sunny 25 °C

Day 1 – Nov 10, 2010
For those that don’t know, I recently moved to Cairo, Egypt for a short term assignment with my company. I consider myself very lucky to be here and am thankful for all the trips I’ve been able to make in 2010. My first day in Egypt was very interesting. I flew in from Amsterdam, tired but excited…the 12 hour transit at Amsterdam and no sleep had taken its toll on me. I must admit that I was surprised by KLM’s service, it was way better than British Airways and they flew in and out on time. I am a bit spoiled by my free upgrades to business class that Emirates keeps giving me so I do hold them with the highest regard. Walking down the runway we were ushered onto a large bus that took us towards immigrations in Cairo. Even though it was 2am when I reached, I immediately liked the sights and sounds of the city…the roads, buildings and people reminded me of India. It felt good to be in a familiar place and also close to home. A driver from the company was kind enough to pick me up and take me home, we exchanged a few words here and there since I don’t speak any Arabic and he didn’t speak too much English. I was interested to see that the way we thought about numbers and words – the company’s driver told me my apartment room number was 24 while it was actually 42. The same thing happened earlier while I was typing a search term on google, I knew that things were written in reverse order in Arabic but it was interesting to see that people’s thought patterns followed the same order as well.
Anyhow, the first day went by pretty uneventfully. It looks like I have the next week off because of “Eid Al Adha”. I intend to make the most of it by travelling as much as possible. I also need to get myself a cell phone and an internet connection since the apartment I’m staying at does not have either. I will try and continue to write as I go along so stay tuned for more updates.
Thanks for reading, this is Sandeep – signing out!

Posted by 2011 11:58 Archived in Egypt Tagged egypt cairo Comments (0)

Edinburgh, Scotland

Festivities of the Fringe...

sunny 20 °C

It's not always easy to blog while travelling, especially when you don't have a netbook/laptop so I'm posting this (I typed it up on my phone a while ago) a few weeks after my trip...here goes:

Hey guys! Hope you're all doing well. I've been keeping myself 'well' busy. The last few weekends I've been travelling to different cities. London, Liverpool, stonehenge, Windsor, Bath, Edinburgh are some of the sights/cities I've seen so far. I'm on the train at the moment heading back from Scotland...a long 8 hr journey this from Oxford - it runs through Newcastle, York, Birmingham, Leamington Spa and a few other cities before touching down at Oxford.
Had a great weekend at Edinburgh, it was different because this was one of my first completely solo trips. I've gone solo before but it was nice to live the experience again...I met some wonderful people and had some very interesting conversations. On my way to Edinburgh on Friday I met 3 other girls sitting next to me and we spoke at lenght about various topics that spanned from travel to US foreign policy - the latter being a topic of hot contention these days. Edinburgh itself is a beautiful city, I really like the way it was built...a hill here, a castle there, random walkways that lead you to roads at upper/lower levels and a few dungeons that are presently nightclubs! Very interesting to walk around the city which is a labyrinth of roads that go up and under, around themselves but eventually bring you back to the same spot. I was impressed by Edinburgh's main street - The Royal Mile. This street extends directly from the castle and heads out for - you guessed it, a mile.
The fringe festival is quite extraordinary! There are scores of performers on the streets and indoors, each trying to entice the crowd with their skill - be it magic, comedy or theatre. It is amazing to see such a vast pool of talent, varying ages and nationalities...they all come together for a little over a month every year to display their trade. Hats off to you Edinburgh! You host an extraordinary event, it was brilliant to see your Royal Mile transform into fantasy land every morning. I had a chance to meet with some of the performers and have a few drinks with them, they had very cool stories and perspectives - one group of guys were from Sweden and they played this instrument called the 'hang'. It was made by a family in switzerland and there were only 400 made every year, talk about rare...the music from it sounded like a mix between a xylophone and cymbals - quite eclectic.
I did get a chance to snoop around the city and soak in the sights. Some of the monuments here date back to 852BC, now that's OLD! I liked the castle (bit pricey for admission at 14 pounds), but Arthur's seat was the kicker for me...it took around 45 mins to trek up the hill (250 ft) and it was definitely worth it. I also managed to check out the Crags which are a set of steep hills right next to Arthur's seat. The highlight of the trip though was finding this amazing curry house at the Mosque - they served cheap but sumptuous curry...think of it as a soup kitchen made in heaven :) I went there after it was recommended by locals and there was no turning back, I ate all my meals there for the duration of my stay at Edinburgh. There were lots of people lined up, from businessmen in coats to women with their kids...word of mouth is definitely a strong form of advertisement. Mutton curry was 4.50 pounds while chicken/kebab curry was 4.00 and 3.50. Best meal yet! Also, I showed up at edinburgh without a place to stay, it was really nice of a friend of mine to let me crash on the couch...so thanks Taf!
I've gotten off the train at Oxford and am on the bus headed to Abingdon now, it's a bit of a trek (20 min walk) from the Abingdon city center to my hotel there...I grabbed a quick sandwich at the train station before boarding the bus. I'm rather tired so I can see myself falling dead as soon as i hit the bed...Can't wait to get warm and cozy under the covers. I'll write again soon...thanks for reading.
This is Sandeep, signing out...

Posted by 2011 01:10 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Abingdon...

Town center

21 °C

My second day here, being a Sunday it was quite quiet...I woke up and ate my heart-attack english breakfast which included sausages, eggs, bacon, fried bread! and other wonderful things. I hope I don't keep eating this way for the next six weeks...

After breakfast it was time for a quick nap and I was passed out on the bed until about 4 pm. My friend and I decided to go to the town center here at Abingdon and check it out. It's a nice little town this but it's way too quiet for my liking. Not to be disrespectful but I've quickly come to notice a cultural difference between the states and here, people on the streets don't seem to be as friendly as those in the US (this has happened each time I've visited the UK in the past as well). No one usually says hello or gives you the odd friendly nod as you walk by...and my saying hello only gives me random blank stares haha.

Anyhow, a quick stroll it was for an hour or two...I really liked the smaller streets and smaller cars and smaller houses, things seem a bit more normal in that department when compared to say, Texas! The river Thames runs along Abingdon and it was quite nice to walk alongside it for a bit and see the boats/mini-yatchs parked along its banks.

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After returning I tried going to the local Tescos again which is supposed to be 24 hrs but for some reason those 24 hrs came with store timings...Take a look at the pic below and you'll get what I'm trying to say.

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Dinner was a charbroiled chicken burger with chips and a salad, after watching some TV it was time to go back to my room and hang out for a bit. All in all, I'd say it was a good day. I'm looking forward to going to work tomorrow and learning some new stuff. It's hard to get some shut eye though, it's 1AM here and I'm still awake. Hope it doesn't mess with my day tomorrow. Ok chaps, I'll write again later...hope you're all having a good day/night.

Take care and thanks for reading.
This is Sandeep, signing out...

Posted by 2011 16:58 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

Day 1 - Abingdon and Oxford

Travel goofs!

sunny 21 °C

I'm here now, managed to make it in one piece. I cannot believe how stupid I can be sometimes, I ended up leaving all my money behind (USD and the money I converted to GBP) and I showed up to the UK with nothing at hand! Talk about a good memory. Luckily I didn't clean out my wallet before I left like I normally do before long trips - I tend to take out credit cards and things that I believe I won't be using when I get to my destination out of fear of losing things. I didn't really think to do this and hence had my ATM card with me. I used that to get some money out and I'm hoping that's enough to tide me through the next couple of days/weeks!

Other than that, the journey was pretty uneventful. I sat in the middle seat on the way here - British Airways has gone down the drain when it comes to service. I don't mean to be thankless, I am quite thankful to be able to get here but it was a nightmare trying to spend 8 hrs on the plane, things were rather sticky in my seat and nothing seemed to work. I stayed awake and had a chat with the Welsh gentleman sitting next to me for a long time. After landing at Heathrow and reaching Abindgon, I had to go to the local Tesco's (Supermarket) to get a SIM card so I could have a phone number. Having done all that I then took the local bus to Oxford to meet Iria - a good friend from Spain who happened to be there for work. It was great meeting her after so long!

Sausage Coddler
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Abingdon!
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Oxford
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It was a fun night in Oxford, right from trying to figure out the buses and grabbing a few drinks. I must also mention that Oxford is quite a beautiful little place...it has nice architecture and an interesting mix of people from different parts of Europe. Anyways, I'm a bit tired now and should really be sleeping since I didn't get any sleep whatsoever on the way here. I think I'll stop now write back again soon with more updates. Until then, thanks for reading...

This is Sandeep, signing out!

Posted by 2011 17:02 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

Hello United Kingdom!

Work and Play...

sunny 22 °C

Friends,

This is kinda short notice but I am leaving to the UK ...today! YAY! I just found out recently that I would be going there for work, for 6 weeks. I'm loving this year already...I'm quite thankful for the amount of travelling I've been able to do this year.

It started off with Sri Lanka in Dec/Jan, South Africa in June and now the UK in July/August. I can't remember if I did a trip in between (Jan and June), thank you memory! However, it's been a fun year in terms of travel thus far and I hope its been the same way for each and everyone of you reading this.

Anyways, I leave this evening and will return on the 9th of September. While I will be staying close to Oxford, I don't intend on hanging out there all the time. I've booked tickets to visit Scotland (Edinburgh, Glasgow etc and where ever else I can go) for a long weekend. I also plan to, and would LOVE to visit Ireland while I'm there but it looks like I need another visa for this. This visa business is quite annoying...it doesn't help that my passport is getting dangerously full either. I only have one page left and so I need to be choosy about which visa I apply for.

Also, I am packing as I write this, last minute as always...but in true backpacker's spirit I am trying to keep my luggage to a minimum. I won't be taking my backpack with me since I have to take work clothes along but I am sure I can pack for 6 weeks reasonably minimally. I will also take my laptop this time, which means that I can update the blog more frequently. Alrighty then, it's time for me to finish up...thanks for reading.

Stay tuned for more updates...
This is Sandeep, signing out!

Posted by 2011 06:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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