August 7, 2000:
During the last month, we travelled through 5000 years of history. The journey began in Jerusalem, a tense city at the crossroads of 3 major religions. The emotions apparent in the streets inspired us to learn more about history and religion, setting the tone for the month. In the Middle East we learned about Christianity, Judaism, and Islam from guides, citizens, monks, whomever we could talk to or whatever we could read.
Petra, in Jordan, blew us away with the carved sandstone tombs. We didn't expect the vivid blues, greens, yellows, whites, and reds swirled together in the living rock, forming natural decorations in the carvings. Petra exceeded our highest expectations, and one full day was not enough.
The Red Sea beckoned. We jumped in for some fantastic diving with colorful coral and lionfish. Then we returned to discovery of ancient cultures with a cruise up the Nile. We couldn't believe how advanced the ancient Egyptian civilization and technology was - the temples and tombs that dot the banks of the Nile show fantastic sophistication. We floated along, observed 'modern' Nile living while we learned about the polytheistic culture that thrived starting in the 21st century BCE. We celebrated 9 months of marriage in Cairo, visiting the Great Sphinx.
Then we travelled to China with a switch to Emperors and Buddhism. While the Forbidden City and Lama Temple were enjoyable, the scenery surrounding the Great Wall really made an impression on us. China possesses some beautiful countryside. The next four days we cruised along the Yangtze River to see the gorges that will be flooded after the completion of the world's largest dam.
In August we plan to explore Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. This should provide some more interesting history and culture lessons.
Next summary: Indochina Adventures
Revised: February 12, 2001 on