My November trip to Egypt was a good one. In a strange way, it dovetails my trip to Peru, Machu Picchu more than a decade ago. During my university days, I read this book called 'Fingerprints of the Gods'. Described as an pesudoarchelogy book, the author Grahan Hancock gave an interesting take on the possibility of an ancient civilisation or race that helped created all these phenomenal ancient monuments.
Due to my busy schedules, I did not have time to prepare for the trip. I was ready to take in all the sights and sounds, good or bad, as part of the time. Let me summarise all the good and all the bad:
After 12 days, however, I was fatigued and tired out. While doing a land tour (with Intrepid) was convenient and safe, as the tour operators planned everything, towards the end of the trip, I could see that everyone was tired out and wanted more alone-time haha.
When the tour ended, and with two days left, we decided to "take a gamble" and booked an airplane ride to Sharm El Sheikh. Sharm el-Sheikh is an Egyptian resort town between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. It's known for its sheltered sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. Naama Bay, with a palm tree-lined promenade, is filled with bars and restaurants. Ras Muhammad National Park is a major diving destination, with marine life around the Shark and Yolanda reefs and the Thistlegorm wreck. The Red Sea is supposed to be the best waters for diving, so we did some snorkelling and then returned back to Cairo.
Made my second quick trip and visit to Nara, Japan to feed the deers. They were as friendly and hungry as always!
Nara Park (奈良公園, Nara Kōen) is a large park in central Nara. Established in 1880, it is the location of many of Nara's main attractions including Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji and the Nara National Museum. The park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara's nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure. Nara's deer are surprisingly tame, although they can be aggressive if they think you will feed them. Deer crackers are for sale around the park, and some deer have learned to bow to visitors to ask to be fed.
As I arrived at Nara late, it was merely a quick visit to the deers, and then I was back on my way to Osaka.
Video walkthrough of Himeji Castle from the main gate all the way through the castle grounds and then to the highest level. Was accompanied by hordes of school kids in blue as you could tell.
Himeji Castle (姫路城 Himeji-jō) is a hilltop Japanese castle complex situated in the city of Himeji which is located in the Hyōgo Prefecture of Japan. The castle is regarded as the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture, comprising a network of 83 rooms with advanced defensive systems from the feudal period. The castle is frequently known as Hakuro-jō or Shirasagi-jō ("White Egret Castle" or "White Heron Castle") because of its brilliant white exterior and supposed resemblance to a bird taking flight.
Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and it was registered in 1993 as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. The area within the middle moat of the castle complex is a designated Special Historic Site and five structures of the castle are also designated National Treasures.
My first time visiting Himeji Castle was before the year 2000, so this second visit was truly way overdue!
Starting the first day of the pig year at Fushimi Inari ⛩️ Taisha to pray for a good business year ahead. Good health and happiness for everyone that I know.
Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.
Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital's move to Kyoto in 794.
I didn't venture too far up the mountain though - it was just too packed. Eventually backtracked and decided to detour to Uji instead.