Friday 2 April 2010

Cairo - the good bits

All the cliches are true: the Pyramids really do look bigger from far away, they really are on the outskirts of Cairo city and reached through the squalor of back streets, and they really are astonishing.

But the camel-ride touts aren't as annoying as we were told; maybe they took it easy on us because it's the off season. So anyway, here are the cliched pictures of Cairo you were expecting.

Picking up the Great Pyramid of Cheops.

The start of the Sound and Light show in front of the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, and the second Pyramid of Khefren (on the left).

Us in front of the Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara. This was actually the first pyramid, architected by a guy called Imhotep for Djoser, one of the first kings of Egypt. Before this, they just built tombs. Djoser's son built a couple of other pyramids, then his son Cheops built the Great pyramid.

And how did we learn all this?

Cam with our guide Mukhtar. The hotel (of which more later) organised a guide for us for the two days we were in Cairo, and he was pretty good: he spoke English pretty well, he knew a lot about Egyptian pyramids, and he taught us how to cross roads (of which also, more later). He did take us to a number of rip-off places which clearly gave him kickbacks, but that's to be expected.

So we knocked off the big tourist sites in Cairo. Anyone can do that. The real experience will be in the next post, as soon as I finish this beer in our lovely hotel room in Istanbul...

Sunday 28 March 2010

Leaving Dubai for Larnaca, we flew over the coast and the Burj al Arab hotel, that famous hotel that looks like a sail. The atmosphere was so hazy we lost sight of it not long after I took this photo.

Emirates airline was better than I expected, although not quite as good as Air NZ; the IFE has hundreds of movies and games you can play between passengers (Cam beat the pants off me at Pong) but the constant interruptions for announcements drove me nuts. Not just the usual safety stuff pre flight but also a good twenty minutes on how cool Emirates was, how much duty free stuff you could buy on the plane, and so on. Really spoilt the fun.

But we made it through the 22 hours in the air without killing each other and now we're in Larnaca, drinking iced cofffee and waiting for Mike to finish his cycle race.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Busting my CO2 limit, and then some

At the end of last year I set myself a target of 3,000kg net CO2 emissions.

As of today, 24 March, I'm up to 2,490kg. Half of that is the 1200kg I "depreciate" the apartment by every year, but two trips to Wellington for work, and another eleven hours in the pilot seat of a Cessna 152, have been responsible for most of the rest.

And on Friday I'm going to embark on a wee trip* that will bump me up to over 9,000kg. Bang goes my original hope to get to my target without offsetting.

The flight emissions calculator at CarbonPlanet has been incredibly useful. It generated this list of emissions in about thirty seconds - they get ten out of ten for usability:

I'm going to have to look seriously into offsetting. Right after I get back from the three weeks away.

* The blog's going to turn back into a travelogue for a bit.

Wednesday 20 January 2010


Here's a little experiment for you:

1) find a Kiwi teenager who was born here and has lived here all their life.

2) ask them to read out "the first worker shirked in the third term"

3) drop your jaw as you hear them pronounce all the internal Rs in those words as if they were from Gore.

What's happening to our accent? I don't know all that many teenagers, so I first noticed it on the bus and I thought it might be restricted to the kids attending the local grammar schools (Auckland and Epsom Girls') but I spent some time with my friends' kids over the holidays, and they're doing it too!

Other than the rolled R their accents sound just like ours (yours and mine, I mean - regular thirtysomething Kiwis).

There doesn't seem to be anything about it in the blogosphere. Has anyone else noticed this?

Friday 1 January 2010

Making a turducken, part 5 - eating it

Sorry it's taken a while to post this. Food coma.

Once it finally finished roasting it looked like this. I think it looks a bit like a bog mummy.

On first slicing into it, while it was still hot, it looked like this.... it was enough to put a few people off eating it ....

But the next day, with PLENTY left, it looked a lot better. Good layering:

There's still quite a bit left in the freezer. Anybody for seconds?