Saturday, May 10, 2008

Adjusting to Home

We are still digging out from our trip and trying to get back on Arizona time. We just got back from a mega-laundry session, so at least we have something to wear when we go back to work on Monday. The luggage is empty, but is still sitting in the middle of the living room floor because I can't find the energy to put it away. Catching up with all the blogs and such that I make a habit of frequenting has been daunting. Just because I was off-line even people that normally only post an entry once every four weeks or so were blogging like crazy. Needless to say, not a lot of comprehension and a great deal of skimming. I don't like doing that, but what other choice do I have?

Anyway, the trip was great. I have about 2,000 photos to sort through and get up onto Flickr. It will happen, but not today. Tomorrow isn't looking to good either. I will likely break them up into smaller photo sets by day, put each of those into a Flickr set, then put the whole lot into a collection. It's just going to take time and that's all there is to it. I'll drop a note here as each set get put up.

We visited five countries: Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, and Egypt. We spent most of the time in Italy where we visited Venice, Florence, Rome, and Naples. In Greece we hit two islands (Mykonos and Rhodes) and Athens. In Turkey, we made landfall at Kusadasi near Ephesus. In Cyprus we were in Limassol, and in Egypt, we made landfall in Alexandria and were bussed to Cairo to see the pyramids and such. Lots of walking, lots on riding on very cramped buses, not much downtime. We could really use a vacation to rest up from our vacation.

Overall impressions: Italy was fun. Venice was a fun city and comes closest to what a pedestrian city would look like. Terrestrial motor vehicles are banned from most of the island that is Venice proper other than a small parking/offloading area at the end of the causeway leading to the mainland. The waterways provide a transport system of sorts, but there are numerous limitations due to low bridges, the widths of some of the side canals, etc. Most material ends up being moved by hand; produce, computers, garbage, furniture, building materials, whatever, is all moved by people dragging hand trucks, dollies, and rickshaw-style carts. Florence was interesting as it was our introduction to Italian vehicle drivers. (Motto: If you don't want me to do it, don't make a law telling me I can't.) We didn't have much time in Rome and most of that was spent inside the walls of the Vatican City, so we didn't really get a feel for the place. Greece is extremely pleasant, more laid back than Italy, and visually stunning. Turkey is a beautiful country and had one of our favorite stops: the house where Mary, mother of Jesus, is traditionally thought to have lived out her life. It was also cool to walk the streets of Ephesus with Acts 19 running through our heads. Cyprus is a lot like Greece, but with its own twists here and there. The division of the island following Turkey's invasion in the 1970's and the subsequent ethnic cleansing is still a raw wound. Egypt is... well... it's a tragedy. Egypt in the 1970's and early 1980's had promise. Then Islam moved in and had its normal result: run-away birth rates, falling standards of living, surpluses turned into deficits, destruction of the educational system, all contributing to a system where everyone is on the take. Everyone I talked to was agreed: it's a shame the pyramids cannot be moved to a more-deserving place. Worth seeing once, but we plan to never return. As an aside, it would be a shame to see Turkey follow the same path.

More details when I post pictures from each day of the trip. Right now, I need to get cracking on those 2K photos sitting on memory sticks.

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