Posted by Paul Groves on April 3, 2017

The City of Lindos

Day 88 of 111. Lindos, Island of Rhodes, Greece

The city of Lindos is located about 30 miles from the city of Rhodes and is located on the base of a hill. On top of the hill is the Lindos Acropolis/fortress. The trip up the hill is fairly strenuous, so a good business was established in donkey rides to the entrance of the Acropolis. One striking feature of Lindos is the collection of pebble mosaics in the streets and sidewalks. Many of these are very decorative, but our guide also said that some of these act as air conditioning… water can be poured on the pebbles and the evaporation cools the areas above.

There was a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church in the city of Lindos. The steeple and the cross in the wall marked the church. We were not allowed to take photos inside the church, but the wall to ceiling frescos and icons were breathtaking to see. I sat and stared at them trying to memorize the images and feelings that they invoked. We visited Lindos on a Sunday and the priest was still in his vestments since he had just finished a Sunday service. We could hear the chanting as we approached the church. This small building made a big impact.

Posted by Paul Groves on April 3, 2017

Transiting the Suez Canal, Egypt

Day 86 of 111. Transiting the Suez Canal

At the very northern part of the Red Sea is the Suez Canal, our entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. This canal is different from the Panama Canal in that there are no locks, that is, the canal is all at sea level. Floating northward, it was interesting to know that on our left (port side) we saw the continent of Africa and on our right (starboard side) we saw the continent of Asia, the Sinai Desert, but both sides were Egypt.

Since portions of the canal allow for only one way traffic, the ships needed to form a convoy before entering the canal so that they can pass each other at the same time in the section for two way traffic (opened in 2015). So our convoy was formed last night at the Red Sea end. We were in third position in our convoy behind a huge box-shaped ship that was carrying a shipment of new cars. We entered the canal around 5:30 a.m. and spent most of the day transiting the canal. We reached the Mediterranean Sea around 4:00 p.m.

Along the way we saw some interesting sights.
The cone-shaped structures are pigeon traps. Pigeons enter but only leave when they appear on a local menu. Apparently Egyptians enjoy them as an entree, perhaps New York might learn a lesson from the Egyptians.

We saw a blue dredging barge which is used to keep the sand from re-filling the canal. In the picture you can see the dredging drill at the front of the ship. The drill is lowered into the canal and begins to drill into the bottom sand. A giant vacuum sucks up the water with the sand and deposits it onto the shore. It’s a constant battle.

We also saw this beautiful little Mosque on Sinai Desert side of the canal. The palm trees and the expansive desert made a great picture.

Posted by Paul Groves on March 29, 2017

Watercolor Peacock

Here is my latest watercolor project. I think it came out well, although halfway through I was ready to toss it in the trash. Art!

Posted by Paul Groves on March 29, 2017

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Day 84, Wadi Rum, Jordan

Today was just a short excursion starting with a tour of Aqaba city and a trip to Wadi (valley) Rum also known as The Valley of the Moon (Arabic: ‫وادي القمر‬‎‎). It is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 km (37 mi) to the east of Aqaba; it is the largest Wadi in Jordan. We had a short drive through the Wadi on our way to lunch in a Bedouin tent. Along the way we saw some camels and a rock feature named “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. This is the area in which Lawrence of Arabia fought during the Arab Revolt against the Turks during the First World War. Incidentally this is also the name of the book written by Lawrence as an autobiographical account of his participation in the Arab Revolt.

Wadi Rum has been used as the filming site for such movies as The Martian with Matt Damon and even one of the Transformers movies.

Posted by Paul Groves on March 29, 2017

The Lost City of Petra

Day 83 of 111. Petra, Jordan

All I really knew of Petra before today was that it appeared in scenes of Indiana Jones movies. From the visitor’s center, we had to walk down a canyon for about 45 minutes. This canyon is called the Siq. You can choose to use a horse-drawn carriage instead of walking, but our guide, Abdullah, had interesting things to tell us about the Nabateans who established Petra as an important oasis along the trade routes. The Nabateans were very clever about managing and storing water… a vital skill in the desert. They were also skilled at carving buildings out of solid rock. The iconic building, the Treasury, is what you see when you first come out of the Siq. These buildings were actually tombs. The name Treasury came about because later explorers got it into their head that the urn at the top of the building was hiding an ancient treasure (it is not). There are bullet holes that showed how people tried to shoot the urn.

This is a major tourist attraction and so there are opportunities to ride camels, tons of trinkets (or Bedouin scarves) to purchase, and you can even have lunch around the corner from the treasury. There are many other tombs to see and there is an amphitheater built into the rock wall. If you want to climb 800 more steps, there is a monastery (no, thank you).

Abdullah showed us a coin that was found in Petra. It shows an ancient king and queen and is very old. At lunch, we had Coke Light… which look really cool in Arabic. We also visited the Indiana Jones Supermarket on the way back to the bus. This was another amazing visit. I’m glad I am writing down a few of my thoughts because I really want to remember/relive these travels.