Iraq and the Coming War within Islam

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Nothing in Iraq is about American Security. In the ’80s, our Iraq policy was about revenge and sowing division. In the ’90s, it was pure economics but advantaged for the dollar, Europe, India, Japan and China.

Now, I can’t really tell what it is. We false flagged our way into a decade of lunacy in Iraq to no apparent advantage. We’ve definitely sewn division amongst the Middle East.

What we’ve accomplished here is the pitting of Shi’a Iran against Sunni Saudi Arabia. We’ve made a showdown all but inevitable. The problem with this is that there is no guarantee that the current criminals who are our putative allies will actually be the power in Saudi Arabia. We have strengthened the Wahhabist movement in the Nejd at the expense of the Saudi Royals. Not that I am against that. I abhor the Saudi hypocrites.

I suppose now that the thing to do is to withdraw from the Middle East and await the inevitable showdown between the Saudi led Sunnis and the Irani led Shi’a.

Let them fight it out. That’s a good centuries worth of fighting there.

That will take Israel out of focus until Egypt gets dragged into the conflict. The seeds for this have already been laid.

even with Egypt, there is no guarantee that Israel would become a focal point. Instead Egypt could be led to focus upon Iran.

If the Saudis were smart, they’d ally themselves with Israel against Iran. There is precedent for alliances with infidel powers. Saladin did it. Several Muslim princes did so during the “Crusader era.”

It will all depend on who comes to power over the next several decades.

 

Time for America to Abandon the Middle East

 

 

This latest affront by Muslim Madmen is too far, too gone, too insane.  The Muslims of the Middle East are insane.  These people are savage imbeciles.   America should abandon them.  Let them eat themselves.

Were it up to me, I would sew discontent throughout the Middle East.  Turn Shi’a against Sunni against Sufi until the last drop of Muslim blood was spilt and drained away.

I tire of the hypocrisy of Islam and it’s adherents.  They stole Christian lands.  They stole Jewish lands.  They now demand that all lands that they stole from others be returned to them.

We should stop pandering to these Mad Madhis.  We should abandon them.  Not one penny more to a Muslim despot.  Not one penny more to a decrepit Muslim Monarch.

No more protection of the oil fields or the sea lanes upon which these imbecilic, superstitious fools profit and spread their religious disease.

Let China protect and give aid to these fools.

Let America divest ourselves of any trace of Islamic buffoonery.  Now and forever.

And if Muslims in America do not like it, they can return to their homelands.

Arab “Democracy?”

Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia, Syria.  Revolutions are breaking out all over within the Arab world.

Egypt.  They wanted Mubarak out.  They say that they desire freedom.  Now, the likely scenario is that they vote in some form of Muslim Brotherhood-ish Islamic government.  A government that seems to be heading toward a Sunni version of the corrupt government of  Iran.  How is that more Democratic than Mubaraks regime?  How is that freedom?

The Syrians are doing the same thing.  Protesting, demonstrating, rioting in order to get Assad out.  They say that they want freedom.  They say that they desire Democracy.  Yet again, they’ll more than likely get an Islamic Sharia form of Governance based on the model of Iran.

In Lybia, it’s more of the same.  Trading Qaddafi for Islamic Sharia under Fundamentalists who wish to force their idea of Islam on the masses.

Is Sharia as dictated by power mad fanatics considered freedom by the people of the Arab world?    Trading one form of tyranny for another.  Is this Democracy?

I can’t see a difference between a Fundamentalist Islamic Government under Sharia law wherein all are coerced into being “good Muslims” or face imprisonment,  beatings, torture or murder and the genocidal regimes of Stalin and Mao.  If one substitutes Islam for Maoist Communism, the difference between Mao and Khomeini escapes me.  Mao starved his people to death.  Khomeini sent tens of thousands of Irani children to clear minefields between his Irani and Iraqi forces during the war that lasted most of the 1980s.  He promised that they would be Holy Martyrs and go straight to paradise.   What kind of monster sends ten year old children into the middle of minefields?  How is that different from Mao, Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot.  In the end, the only difference between Iran under Khomeini and Iran under the Shah was that the Shah wanted a secular Iran and Khomeini wanted a Fundamentalist Shi’a Iran.  Khomeini stepped replaced the leadership of the hated Savak with his own devils and left the torturers and jailers in place.  Evin Prison is the same hell on earth under Khomeini as it was under the Shah.

Is this the type of Freedom and Democracy for which Egyptians, Tunisians, Syrians and Lybians fight?

American Capitalism is definitely not perfect.  Even so, you get a fighting chance.  You make your own choices.  America may not be completely free.  Not as it once was.  Still, America has more freedom and more opportunity than most countries.  One can complain about America.  One can discount America with lies, hyperbole and propaganda.  Yet, the truth remains.  People from all over the world flee to America in order to join a country that has more freedom and opportunity than nearly any other country in the history of the world.  We are free to come and go as we please.  We are free to choose a religion.  We are free to choose no religion.  We are free to dress as we please.  No Basiji, Chastity or Morality Police roam our streets beating women for dressing inappropriately.

What is it that Arabs want?  What do Muslims want?  They say that they want freedom and Democracy.  It seems to me they want the power to coerce others into being “good Muslims.”  They say that they want tolerance and acceptance.  Yet, I do not see tolerance or acceptance being shown to others by many Muslims and especially by  governments who claim to be Islamic.

What of the Religious minorities in those countries?  Are they entitled to freedom and democracy as well?  Are they entitled to freedom of religion?  Are they entitled to freedom from religious persecution?   Do women have the right to walk down the street unmolested with their hair blowing in the wind.  Do women have the freedom to choose their spouse?  Can a Muslim reject Islam and become a Buddhist or a Wiccan without a Fatwa being issued against him.   Is it the feeling within the Arab-Muslim World that only Muslims are entitled to Religious Freedom?

I know that there are tolerant and accepting Muslims out there.  I know that there are Muslims out there who wish only to be accepted as a Muslim and have no desire to force their brand of Islam on any other.  I’ve met them in Jordan.  I’ve met them in Egypt.  I’ve met them in Afghanistan and Thailand, America and Indonesia.  I’ve met them all over.  One of the nicest people whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting is a Muslim Woman in Cairo.  She loved Islam.  She also accepted that others did not agree with her choice.  She was fine with that.  She had no desire to force her views on me.   For my part, I had no desire to force my views on her.  I’ve met people like this all over the world.

I readily admit that there are Christians who would force their Christian ideology on others if given the chance.  I’ve met them as well.  I find these folks repulsive.  I find Muslims who would force their religious ideology on others equally repulsive.  Thankfully, we, in the West, have separated Religion from Politics.  It still reverberates in the halls of our political bodies.  Even so, religion is held in check and kept out of our laws for the most part.  I would go further myself and eradicate religion from Politics.  Personally, I’d like to see a Taoist Buddhist as President of the United States of America someday.

I am digressing.  The question is; “What do Muslims want?”

Democracy?

Freedom?

Freedom for all or freedom only for Muslims within their country?

Democracy would mean protecting the rights of minorities as well as the majority.  This is not possible under Sharia Law.  Sharia and Democracy are largely incompatible.  Democracy means allowing differences of opinion to exist.  Freedom means allowing the same freedom for others that one expects to have for oneself.

If a Muslim can not wake up one day and say to himself that they wish to convert to Buddhism and do so without being murdered by the Muslim majority, then there is no freedom.  There is only a lie.  The concept of freedom goes hand in hand with liberty.  To be free means that one is free to make all of one’s choices in life.  To be sure, law and order must prevail in some form.  Murder must be prohibited and discouraged as well as thievery, rape and other such crimes.  Fundamental freedoms must be given to all, though.  One of those fundamental freedoms in any Democratic Society is freedom of religion.  If this does not exist, the rest is a lie.

If any one cares to explain, please feel free to do so in the comments section?  I am truly curious.

Insignia of The Old Guard and Other Unique Army Units

I was incredibly lucky in my assignments in the Army.  I served in some unique organizations.

The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai, Egypt.

United Nations Command Security Forces–Joint Security Area in Panmunjom, Republic of Korea.

A Company (CinC Guard), 3rd United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) at Fort McNair, Washington, District of Columbia and Fort Myer, Virginia.

While I was stationed at The Old Guard, I was also fortunate enough to attend the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Panama.  It was closed down shortly thereafter.

All interesting assignments that were outside of the US Army norm.  Unique experiences for which I’m thankful.

Only a couple more places that I wish I had been able to talk DA into assigning me.

1.  The Berlin Brigade — during the Cold War

2.  Honduras

They seem like they would have been equally unique assignments.

From Cairo to Istanbul in 28 Days

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We flew from Bangkok to Cairo on the 21st of September.  On the first day, we tripped around to Giza and the City of the Dead.  Later that evening, we took the train to Aswan.  Along the way, we stopped at Abo Simbel, Luxor, Karnak, Philae, Deendeera, Abydos, Hurghada and finally flew to Alexandria.  We spent two days touring Alexandria.  Taking in the new Library of Alexandria and Fort Qutbay as well as the Greek and Roman Catacombs under the city.  We drove from Alex. back to Cairo where we toured the city in detail (Muhammad Ali Mosque, the Giza Plateau, Pyramids and Sphinx, Saladin’s Citadel, etc).  We also took in Sakkara and Memphis and viewed the Red and Bent Pyramids as well as the Alabaster Sphinx and the Statue of Ramses II along with the Ziggurat of Zoser and the surrounding pyramids.

Then we were off to Israel.  We spent about 5 days in Jerusalem viewing the old City and took day tours out to Nazareth, Akko (Acre), Ceaserea, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Masada.  We met an old friend (Mali) from my days in the MFO in the Sinai.  And we got the excellent airport treatment for which Tel Aviv is so famous.  But that’s a story for another day.

Finally, we were on to Turkey.  I wanted to see the Hagia Sofia.  Primarily.  That said, I was a bit anxious about Turkey.  I’ve been to quite a few Muslim countries and Islam hangs over them like a pall.  I don’t particularly care for it.  It’s quite heavy and puts a damper on things.  Israel did not have this except in the Palestinian areas of the Old City in Jerusalem.

We arrived in Turkey and I was quite pleasantly surprised.  Islam is an undercurrent in Istanbul.  They’re Muslim.  You know it.  They know it.  No one gives a damn.  I like that.  It’s how it should be with all religion and it’s how it is in most non-Muslim places.

It was refreshing.  I don’t think I saw but 10 Chadori/Hijab wearing women and they all seemed to be tourists.  Nothing oppressive in Turkey about religion.  They seem to all get along.  I met quite a few Nestorian Christians and they had the same attitude.  We’re Christians.  So what!  There’s none of the demand that their religion be respected at all cost.  I like that.

Turkey was clean as well.  That’s another thing about Muslim countries.  They’re dirty and run down.  Even newer places.  It’s as if Allah has declared that “thou shalt not do maintenance.”  lol  Cairo is the worst.  They built the city hundreds of years ago atop ruins.  They didn’t remove anything.  They cleared no land.  Just started building atop the rubble.  When those buildings started falling apart, they just built around them.  And the dirt and grime.  It’s everywhere.

Not so in Istanbul.  It’s a beautifully maintained city.  Clean streets.

And the people.  Everyone was so nice.  And they smiled.  Very few mean spirited folks or scammers around.  As a matter of fact, I can’t remember anyone even attempting a scam on us.  We asked directions when we were lost and we were simply given directions.

The food was great as well.  They had these pancakes with beef or veggies or jellies. Whatever you wanted.  AND THEY WERE DELICIOUS.  Of course, the Lamb Kabob was excellent.  I ate so much kabob, I thought I was going to explode.

The Hagia Sofia or Aya Sofia was wondrous.  Incredible.  Amazing.  It was gargantuan.  The famous religious depictions were beautiful.  Centuries old Art.

The Blue Mosque or Suleimein.  One of the most beautiful structures I have had the pleasure to visit.  More lovely inside than the Mohammad Ali Mosque in Cairo.  Insanely intricate and well maintained as well.  Simply beautiful.  Can’t say it enough.

We walked around the city several times. Stopped by a few museums.  The Istanbul Archaeological Museum was huge.  Relics from Troy, Persia, the Ottomans, the Greeks, the Romans, and everything in between.  It was amazing.

Then we went up the hill to the Topkapi Palace.  I didn’t know much about it.  I knew it was supposed to be gorgeous and historical.  I hadn’t researched it.  We almost didn’t go.  Huge mistake.  If you make it to Istanbul, you must go to the Topkapi Palace.   Aside from it’s beauty and historocity.  It has what are called “The Sacred Trusts.”

The Sacred Trusts are actual artifacts handed down (or stolen) from Empire to Empire from the time of Mohammad.  His clothing.  His water bowl.  The plates off of which he ate.  And not only Mohammad.  There are relics from Fatima and “the Companions.”

That is some serious history.

There are also pieces of the Kaba’a from Mekkah and old keys and locks to the Kaba’a and the Grand Mosque there in Mekkah.

Treasures all.

I could scarcely believe my eyes when I walked in this room.  When I laid my eyes upon the Sword of Mohammad, I thought I was seeing things.  I had to rub my eyes.  Take my glasses off and clean them and take a second to let it sink in.

Imagine finding the sword of Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great.  Imagine finding the actual clothing that Jesus wore or the actual cup and plate from the last supper.

I’m no believer in any of these religions, but, I have a keen interest in history.  As a personality from an earlier age and a great historical interest, I have much respect for Mohammad.  He built an empire from nothing.  He created a religion and a culture which has lasted for over 1300 years.  It’s not his fault that his religion and his culture has been hi-jacked by complete asses like Osama bin Laden, the House of Saud and the followers of al Wahhab.  That’s not to mention the Iranian fools.  And, still yet, it doesn’t take into account the idiotic Apologists in Europe and America who sell their lies to an ignorant populace.

At any rate, it was a singular experience for me to be able to gaze upon the Swords that Mohammad and his companions used to rise up out of the desert and plant the seed that created one of the worlds greatest empires.

I was awe stricken.

After Istanbul, it was on to Ephesus to see the Greek Ruins, the House of Mary where Jesus’ Mother supposedly lived out her last days and the Temple of Artemis.  Next day it was on to Pammakule.   These places are so full of history and culture that there is no possible way for me to do them justice.  The Temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

In this trip, we’d been fortunate enough to visit 3 of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.  The Temple of Artemis, The Pharos of Alexandria (Fort Qutbay) and the Pyramids at Giza.

In my estimation, Abo Simbel is a great worthy of this acclamation as well.  Abo Simbel is a wonder of any age much less to marvel that it was built thousands of years ago.  But then again, Egypt is full of wonders that defy description, dazzle the eye and boggle the mind.

From Cairo to Istanbul in 28 Days.  This was a great trip and we all very much enjoyed ourselves.

Hope you enjoy the pictures…Dave

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(some of the pics in the slideshow are from earlier trips to Paris, Rome, Athens, Santorini, etc)

 

 

It’s About Sharia! It’s About Submission to Allah…

The former speaker of the House gets the war on terror. For one thing, he refuses to call it the “war on terror,” which should be the entry-level requirement for any politician who wants to influence how we wage it. Gingrich grasps that there is an enemy here and that it is a mortal threat to freedom. He knows that if we are to remain a free people, it is an enemy we must defeat. That enemy is Islamism, and its operatives — whether they come as terrorists or stealth saboteurs — are the purveyors of sharia, Islam’s authoritarian legal and political system.

This being the Era of the Reset Button, Gingrich is going about the long-overdue business of resetting our understanding of the civilizational jihad that has been waged against the United States for some 31 years. It is the jihad begun when Islamists overran the American embassy in Tehran, heralding a revolutionary regime that remains the No. 1 U.S. security challenge in the Middle East, as Gingrich argued Thursday in a provocative speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

The single purpose of this jihad is the imposition of sharia. On that score, Gingrich made two points of surpassing importance. First, some Islamists employ mass-murder attacks while others prefer a gradual march through our institutions — our legal, political, academic, and financial systems, as well as our broader culture; the goal of both, though, is the same. The stealth Islamists occasionally feign outrage at the terrorists, but their quarrel is over methodology and pace. Both camps covet the same outcome.

Second, that outcome is the death of freedom. In Islamist ideology, sharia is deemed to be the necessary precondition for Islamicizing a society — for Islam is not merely a religious doctrine, but a comprehensive socio-economic and political system. As the former speaker elaborated, sharia embodies principles and punishments that are abhorrent to Western values. Indeed, its foundational premise is anti-American, holding that we are not free people at liberty to govern ourselves irrespective of any theocratic code, that people are instead beholden to the Islamic state, which is divinely enjoined to impose Allah’s laws.

Sharia, moreover, is anti-equality. It subjugates women and brutally punishes transgressors, particularly homosexuals and apostates. While our law forbids cruel and unusual punishments, Gingrich observed that the brutality in sharia sanctions is not gratuitous, but intentional: It is meant to enforce Allah’s will by striking example.

On this last point, Gingrich offered a salient insight, one well worth internalizing in the Sun Tzu sense of knowing one’s enemy. Islamists, violent or not, have very good reasons for the wanting to destroy the West. Those reasons are not crazy or wanton — and they have nothing to do with Gitmo, Israel, cartoons, or any other excuse we conjure to explain the savagery away. Islamists devoutly believe, based on a well-founded interpretation of Islamic doctrine, that they have been commanded by Allah to kill, convert, or subdue all who do not adhere to sharia — because they regard Allah as their only master (“There is no God but Allah”). It is thus entirely rational (albeit frightening to us) that they accept the scriptural instruction that the very existence of those who resist sharia is offensive to Allah, and that a powerful example must be made of those resisters in order to induce the submission of all — “submission” being the meaning of Islam.

It makes no sense to dismiss our enemies as lunatics just because “secular socialist” elites, as Gingrich called them, cannot imagine a fervor that stems from religious devotion. We ought to respect our enemies, he said. Not “respect” in Obama-speak, which translates as “appease,” but in the sense of taking them seriously, understanding that they are absolutely determined to win, and realizing that they are implacable. There is no “moderate” sharia devotee, for sharia is not moderate. Gingrich noted that in response to global outcry against the prospect of death by stoning for an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, convicted of adultery, the mullahs’ great concession appears to be that she will be hanged instead. Islamism is not a movement to be engaged, it is an enemy to be defeated.

And it has been since Mohammad came slobbering and raving out of his cave.

There are moderate Muslims. There are Muslims who take their religion with a glass of ice cold beer. There are Muslims who believe that they can co-exist. There are Muslims who were simply born Muslim and know not much more about it than that their parents were Muslim.

Not all Muslims care to spread their religion.

That! We must not forget.

However, there are millions of Muslims who believe that Allah commands them to spread their religion. Through their life path as well as through teaching, witnessing and preaching and, yes, by there are many millions of Muslims who wholeheartedly believe in conversion (reversion) by the sword.

The problem with Islam and Muslims is that it is an enormously pressurised world. Peer pressure is a real danger. I have seen peer pressure turn a room full of irreligious Muslims who drink and cavort and chase girls all through the night and weekend into a motley crue of raving fundamentalists simply by the entrance of one religious individual.

Read their histories. Once Jihad is called, no one will dare denounce it for fear of being “unIslamic.” Read of the Afghan Constitutional Convention and how their Constitution came to include Sharia and the Qu’ran. It was not a forgone conclusion. It entered the room with a Mullah who publicly dared the assembly to exclude it by asking who in the assembly would stand against Sharia and the Qu’ran.

No one dared do so.

Not even Rashid Doostom. Doostum, who is one of the most secular Afghani of the age. Doostum who is infamous for his riotous drinking and womanizing. Dostum who hated the taliban and has publicly stated that he doesn’t see the need for women to cover themselves nor the reason that they should not attend university or be shut in the home.

This man mounted on horse back and did battle against the Taliban alongside US Special Forces and stood in battle and taunted the Talib Commanders.

This man was too fearful to denounce the inclusion of Islam, the Qu’ran and Sharia law in the Afghan Constitution.

To be seen as an infidel, one who is against Islam, in the lands occupied by Islam is to write your own death warrant. From the highest in society to the lowest.

Ask Malalai Joya. Read of her life and mission.

There are many Muslims who wish to live under a secular government and to live out their religion in private.

The problem is the Mullahs and those who use Islam as a means to power.

Our war is with the Mullahs. It’s with the Ayatollahs.

Even then, not all Mullahs wish to live out their lives as Government agents. Look to the Sufis who believe that religion is a private matter and that all religious leaders should stay out of politics.

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran are the enemies of freedom.

Rid ourselves of them and the tide turns.

I’ll state again. Not all Muslims and not all of Islam is the enemy. Just as I believe that not all Christians desire to force their religion on all and sundry. I believe the same of Muslims.

There are key elements.

1. Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia

2. Iranian Revolutionary Islam

Take out those two and the battle is won.

Hezbollah, the Quds force and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are the major exporters of Iranian Shi’a War on the West.

Wahhabism is the father of all Sunni terror lords and murderers. The Taliban and the Deobandi of Central Asia, Pakistan and India are all end points that can be traced to the Nejd of Saudi Arabia and their evil cult of al Wahhab. The Muslim Brotherhood is the father of all Sunni Terrorist Organizations. The MB were followers of al Wahhab and his desert madness.

Yet, we claim that Saudi Arabia is our ally.

And Iran is defended in the West by fools. Fools who side with Hizbollah against Lebanon and Israel. Fools who support Hamas.

Fools who support a Wahhabi Shrine mere feet away from Ground Zero.

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Why are our Armed Forces still in Europe?

04.04.2008: Steve Bell on Nato

We need strategic relocation.

Europe needs to pay for their own defense.  See how they like being out from under our Defense umbrella.  The cowards would have to foot the bill and they’d have to back their talk with more than “We disagree with America.”

I’d say out of Europe altogether unless they want to pay us for having our troops there.  Europe should be paying the US for their defense.  As should South Korea.  We should not be paying them for the privilege of defending them.  I’ve never understood the concept of renting bases from Germany or the RoK.  We’re there or were there to keep their sorry asses from being invaded.  They should have been paying us.

I’d say withdraw from NATO and form a separate treaty organization with Australia and Great Britain.

We should withdraw completely from Saudi Arabia unless they start paying us for their protection with billions of barrels of oil.

We should negotiate a base in Ethiopia.  Hell, at least they’re Christian.  We should negotiate a base with Israel and all of our aid should be dependent on their allowance of our use of their lands.  Put a base right square in the Negev.  Negotiate another base with Jordan and one with Egypt.  We give aid to all of these countries.  That gives us an eye for Europe.  A quick hop across the Med and boom ——–> Italy and Greece.  I’d even be for placing a base in the Christian areas of Lebanon to counter the Iranian Rev Guards, Quds Force and Hizbollah.

We should negotiate a base with India as well.  In Hindu or Christian areas.  Stay out of Muzzie areas of India.

Keep a small force in Afghanistan and a small force in Iraq for the foreseeable future but draw down the rest and let those countries build themselves.

That puts us strategically located across the globe and gives us some damn fine opportunities for sightseeing.

The best thing that we could do is to get out of Europe.

We should declare war on Pakistan and let India go in with us and kick their asses.

Solve Pakistan and Afghanistan is solved.  It’s that freakin’ simple.

That will scare the shit out of Iran and China as well as put Russia on notice.

We screw around way too often.  End this shit.  NOW!

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The Muslim World

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I like this. Except that I don't see any of them as scary. I see those labeled as scary as folks who need to be dealt with violently. Not all, but, those who would act violently against US.

On the Muslim World

Muslims see themselves as a community. They always have and always will. The only way to stop that is to kill all of them.  Christians think of themselves as a community as well.  Christendom is a concept only recently gone out of fashion. There are mentions of Christendom from the 19th Century, I know. Europe was still speaking of Christendom until only recently. I think Churchill mentions it a few times. That was the 20th Century.  It is not a foreign concept to think in terms of a World Wide Religious or Cultural community.  We think of the West. The West is Christian. No matter how greatly this is denied by atheists and secularists within the West.  The West is merely a more secular term for Christendom.  The West is as guilty of this kind of speak as is Islam.   The difference is that we, in the West, agree with Western Culture. We don’t see it as problem and arrogantly believe that the rest of the World should be overjoyed to join us.   Muslim lands. Christan lands. During World War I and at the end of World War I, “The West” celebrated the return of the “Holy Land” to it’s rightful Christian hands by virtue of it’s capture after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire encompassed most of what we now speak of as the Middle East. Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and a few others were https://i2.wp.com/www.iranian.com/main/files/blogimages/Middle%20East%20-%20Map400.bmpall part of the now defunct Ottoman Empire. This was considered the Muslim World or the Lands of the Mohamadens (Saracens) and spoken and written about as such by Christian or “Western” writers and historians.  That some in our era do not understand the concept of Muslim lands is fairly meaningless. The Great Tides of History are against their ignorance. It’s simply that they are ignorant of the history of the region. Not their fault.  Our schools are more interested in Political Correct thought processes than learning.  If one truly desires to rail against this concept and this ideology, though, one should at least be aware of this history.  Me, I don’t care what history says about Muslim lands. Prior to the Muslims, these lands were all Western (Roman) and/or Christian.  Not that Christians ruled them justly either.

History also shows us that the most violent and war like culture wins out in the end. The winners determine the future and control history.  Except in our current era, where idiotic pacifists, socialist, multi-culturalists and self defeatists in the West want to write history based strictly upon their feelings of guilt and ignorance of history.  They remind me of mini-Pol Pot or Mao Tse Tung pretenders.  The greatest threat to the West (Christendom) is not the Muslims or even Communist China. It is the 5th Column of corrupt leftists and extreme liberals within our own borders. In order to finally defeat the Islamic threat, we will need to defeat this 5th Column by making them irrelevant.

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Israel has the Right to live under a Government of their choosing! They have the right to exist as they are now.

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Right:

18. a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral: You have a right to say what you please.

19. Sometimes, rights. that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.: women’s rights; Freedom of speech is a right of all Americans.

Their claim to the land in which they lived. Their claim to the land which they purchased. Their right to live under governance of their own choosing as opposed to being forced to live under an Islamic Despotic State.

My opinion is that they had/have this right.

Would we deny this right to ourselves.

In 1948, there was no real and just governance or government in that region. It was a mandate. Once the mandate ended, the people should have been able to choose their form of government. The Muslim despots wanted to force all and sundry to live under Islamic rule or authoritarian, monarchic rule. The Jews did not wish to live in a state of that kind. They did not wish to live under a government that was wholly corrupt and historically pre-disposed to violence and genocide towards non-Muslims in general and Jews in particular.

Therefore, I say that the people of the area had a right to choose and fight for the governance of their liking. They had to right to fight to not be forced to live under Islamic rule.

If the Muslims didn’t like it, they had the choice to fight it. They have and they do.

I don’t think that we have blindly supported Israel. Anyone who resorts that that hyperbole is wholly ignorant of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict or lying to make their point seem better.

The Israelis have more or less been our allies in the region since ’48. We have acted counter to their security interests at times. They have acted violently towards us and at times, they have acted counter to our national interests. Over all, we have acted with each other in accordance with the standard practices and behaviors of allies.

The Muslims have almost never acted as allies. More often that not, they have diabolically and diametrically opposite of how an ally would act towards us. The Arabs sided with the wrong side in World War I. The Arabs sided with Hitler in World War II. Going so far as to travel to Berlin to learn the art of the Final Solution so as to import it to the Middle East. In order so that they might use the Final Solution on the Jews of the Levant. In the Cold War, Syria and Egypt both sought to be non-aligned until they were obviously in the Soviet Camp. By then, it was obvious that non-alignment meant taking money from the West and Tactical/Strategic aid, advisors and equipment from the Soviets.

We should have severed ties with the Arabs decades ago.

The Israelis had just as much right to an Independent Nation in the areas that comprised the Palestine Mandate as did any other people who lived there. The Jews created the major cities. The Jews created the jobs to which the Arabs flocked in mass numbers in the area. If it weren’t for the Jews who live[d] in Palestine, there would be nothing over which to fight in the area.

If the Jews were to leave Palestine, they’d take with them their technology, their labor and the area would return to the dust from whence it sprang.

Economic right. They created the economy of Palestine. Were it not for the Jews, there’d be a few date farms and a few thousand sheep and some dusty old towns wherein lived naught but poverty stricken Muslims.

The Jews are the only reason that the area is worth having. Without them, there would be absolutely nothing there.

For a great example, look to the Sinai. When the Israelis occupied it, they civilized the land. Cultivated the land. Irrigated the land. They started pulling oil out of the Sinai. You can see the remains of the old Israeli settlements. Even as remains after having been bulldozed by the Israeli Gov’t in order to keep the settlers from returning, they’re still more habitable than the Arab/Egyptian towns. Oil production is almost nil. The ARabs can do almost nothing without outside assistance.

Israel had to go to Egypt and show the Egyptian government how to irrigate and desalinize to save their cotton crops. Egypt! One of the oldest civilization on the planet is no longer able to properly irrigate their crops without the assistance of Israeli science and technology.

The Israeli people had the right to choose the government under which they would live.

The Arabs wanted to force them to live under Muslim rule. The Arabs wanted submission.

That is why I can not, will not support he Arabs in this conflict.

The Israelis should have driven all of the Palestinian Arabs into Jordan. Jordan is the true homeland of the Palestinians.

http://www.theaugeanstables.com/essays-on-france/paris-notes-fall-2o05/

https://i2.wp.com/www.science.co.il/arab-israeli-conflict/cartoons/lurie_israel_wall.jpg

http://autone.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/media01.jpg

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https://i0.wp.com/www.science.co.il/Arab-Israeli-conflict/cartoons/varvel041502.gif

http://www.danielpipes.org/6257/arabs-israelis-and-underdogs

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dry bones pro israel

https://i0.wp.com/www.science.co.il/arab-israeli-conflict/cartoons/siers.jpg

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File:Map of the Arab-Israeli conflict-tag.svg

All of the Nations not in Blue are Muslim countries.  Yet, they [the Muslims] must have this spec of blue territory as well.  Why?

Number English Français עברית العربية
Israel / Israël 1 Israel Israël اسرائيل
Gaza strip & West Bank /
Bande de Gaza et Cisjordanie
2 Gaza strip Bande de Gaza
3 West Bank Cisjordanie
Arab Nations / Nations arabes 4 Morocco Maroc
5 Algeria Algérie
6 Tunisia Tunisie
7 Libya Libye
8 Sudan Soudan
9 Djibouti Djibouti
10 Somalia Somalie
11 Oman Oman
12 U.A.E. E.A.U.
13 Qatar Qatar
14 Kuwait Koweït
15 Mauritania Mauritanie
16 Comoros Comores
Have been in war with Israel /
Ont été en guerre avec Israël
17 Saudi Arabia Arabie Saoudite
18 Iraq Irak
19 Syria Syrie
20 Jordan Jordanie
21 Lebanon Liban
22 Egypt Egypte
23 Yemen Yemen

Habibi and the Egyptian Papyrus

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I bought this in Cairo.  Usually, I’m simply not into this kind of art.  The whole papyrus thing has never excited me.  But this darker piece and the three ladies interested me for some reason.  The feminine is always fascinating to a man, I suppose.  So I asked the proprietor his price.

He tells me “1500 EGP.”

I laughed.  Loudly.

That’s about two or three hundred dollars.

I haggled back and forth with him.

Finally, I told him that I’d give him 50 bucks for it.   “AND NOT A PENNY MORE!”

He tried to get me to accept the same painting on a smaller piece of papyrus.

I just laughed at him again.  Told him that his store looked pretty empty to me so he’d better take the sale while he had it.  Because it was about to walk out his front door.

He acquiesced.

I think he finally saw the wisdom in making a sale rather than attempting to bugger another tourist.

I was wrong.

He carries the piece over to his counter and starts to retrieve packaging for it.  A tube and some wrapping paper and a certificate of authenticity.  He hands me a receipt on which he’s written 300 EGP as the sale price.  I laugh at him.

I say;  “Dude, 300 EGP is 60 bucks.  We agreed on 50.”

Achmed the Papyrus Proprietor replies; “It’s only 10 dollars more.”

I tell him; “That’s ten bucks more than agreed.”

And I start to walk out of the store.

He tells me that he’ll change the price on the receipt and tells me to pay at the cash register.

I tell him;  “NO WAY!  Wrap up my purchase and hand it to me and I’ll hand you the 250EGP.”

He and his compatriots stare at me.

I tell them; “Dudes, if you want the money, wrap up the papyrus in one of those pretty little tubes and hand it to me.

You do that.  I’ll give you the money.  Until then, no one gets a dime out of me.”

Finally they relent.  I get my papyrus in the handy dandy little scroll carrying tube and a quaint little certificate of authenticity.  They get their money.

After returning to Herat in mid August, I unpacked.  Found the papyrus in my bag and threw it into the corner.  Wondering why I’d bought it.  It was a nice piece.  And the three ladies are brilliantly done.  And, admittedly, it’s a gorgeous piece.  But what was I gonna do with it.  Certainly not tack it to my wall in my hooch.

So it sat in the corner.  Forgotten.  Until…

December 25th.

On the 24th, I arrived in Bangkok for my R&R.  I had a lunch date.

But…

She called me and told me to meet later.  5 PM.  AND…she’s bringing a friend.

I agreed.  I’m excited to meet this girl but now I’m a bit apprehensive.  Thinking that maybe she is going to blow me off.  Call again and tell me that she can’t meet me.

We agree to meet at Gulliver’s Tavern on Sukhumvit Soi 5.

So I walk down there a bit early.  Want to make sure that I’m not late.

She calls to tell me that she’s on the way.

BUT…she and her friend decide to stop at Starbucks.  Right at the end of the Soi (street).

I’m not getting a full appreciation of what is going on at this point.  Kinda freaked out.  Why did they stop down there to get a coffee if we are supposed to have dinner.  I guess they were tired and needed a caffeine jump start.

She texts me and asks me if I’m coming or going to wait at Gulliver’s.  I walk down to Starbucks.  I walk in to Starbucks and immediately recognize both of them.  Two diminutive, yet stunning, Thai girls sitting right at the door. Unny–the girl I came to meet and Khanitta, her friend.  I’ve seen Khanitta’s pictures on the website ThailandFriends.com.  So I know who she is.  I had erroneously assumed that she was married or otherwise involved with another fellow.

Now, I’m not scared of women.  But I get a bit nervous at times.  This is such a time.  I have to entertain two gorgeous Thai ladies now.  How to do so?  Luckily, it turns out to be easy.  They were incredibly easy going.  They didn’t have to be coaxed into talking or joking around.  They weren’t difficult.  Maybe, we just had good chemistry.  Part of it is that I’m so relaxed in Thailand that I’m easy as well.

After finishing their coffees, we walk up to Gulliver’s.  We are seated.  We eat.  We chat.  We get along pretty well.  By now, it’s getting on 8 PM.  Khanitta suggests that we walk down the street to Soi 4.  I’m a bit shocked by this as Soi 4 is part of the “dark side” of Thailand.  It’s bar girl [prostitute] central.

We make the trek down Sukhumvit Road to Soi 4 and go to a bar called Big Mango.  It’s a little dive in a back alley off of Soi 4.  It’s a decent joint with a bit of personality.  A smallish room with a square bar in the middle and a pool table in the back near the restrooms.   We walk in and Khanitta introduces me to two of her friends–Tony and Stevie.  Two Scottish fellows.  Mid-40s or so.  Stevie is a nice, laid back fellow.  Tony seems a bit mad to me.  He seems to be attempting to shock everyone with how crass he can be.  I’m not the most tactful fellow on the planet.  Tony makes me seem quite the diplomat by comparison.

Khanitta, Stevie and I play a bit of pool   I get my ASS handed to me by both Khanitta and Stevie.  Too nervous to play pool at this point.  (Give me a couple drinks and I’d play better.  lol)   Unny sits at a table behind us watching.  I don’t know what to think about her at this point.  The usual.  Is she interested?  What to talk about to keep in interesting?  How to act?  What’s next.  Should I just give it up and call it a friendly night out with a couple of gorgeous ladies and count myself blessed.  I can always meet someone later at Q Bar or one of the countless clubs and after hours bars in Bangkok.  Never had a problem with meeting women in Bangkok.

But I like her.  So I try to be patient.

Tony at one point tells me loudly.  “Just remember lad.  When you’re back home, we’re fucking them.”  I look at him and think to myself.  “Yeah, right.  There’s not many women that you’re fucking that you haven’t paid.”  I chuckle to myself and walk over and miss my shot on the pool table.  Stevie, aside from being a generally good guy, is a pretty good pool player.  So he takes me out easily.

We spend an hour or so there and then we head out.

It’s time to hit the Q Bar.

At the Q Bar, we lounge in the corner room on a couple of couches that I’ve reserved for the festivities that I’m hoping will be my Birthday.  The waiter brings over the two bottles of Jack Daniels that I’ve ordered for the occasion.  Khanitta and I pour ourselves a drink with a liberal amount of Jack.  Unny sips on a Coke.  She doesn’t seem to be too much into drinking.  She only weighs about 90 pounds.  I understand a reluctance to drink for her part.  Can’t take too much to get her fairly well lit.  Khanitta drinks like a pro, though.  lol

Eventually folks from TF start showing up.  Emma (EmoKitty) and Oh  (I’m Back).  Stevie makes it over.  And a few others.  It’s a pretty good time.  And I’m pretty lit.  I can’t remember the names of anyone to whom I was introduced that night.  But all nice folks and we all got pretty hammered.

I spend most of my time sitting with Unny.  Trying to talk to her.  Trying to get to know her.  Just looking at her because she is so breathtakingly beautiful.  I get up and mingle with others as well.  We make toasts and generally act as people do when imbibing heavily.  Khanitta has her camera with her and takes tons of pics.  Khanitta is a really wild and fun gal.  I was happy that Unny brought her along.  She’s the life of any party.

Emma brought me a little Strawberry dessert thingie.  It seems like someone sang the “Happy Birthday” song to me.

I went outside a couple of times to talk to family.  I think I got Terry, Ginger, Jonathan and Momma on the phone that night.

It was  a great birthday.

But the best part of it was meeting Unny.

She was pretty quiet and shy.  I was starting to doubt that she was interested in me until I went outside and one of the girls asked me if I wanted to go have some real fun or if I was going to stay with my “shadow.”

When I realized who she was talking about, it was all I could do to suppress the smile.  I really wanted to get to know Unny.  If this gal was noticing this then I probably stand a good chance of getting a second date with her.

So I declined the invitation and hung tight with Unny.

At some point, we all part ways.  Q Bar closes at 2 AM.  So I’m sure that it was 2 AM.  Unny, Khanitta and I rolled down Soi 11 to the Ambassador Hotel’s Spice Club.  It’s an after hours bar.  Stays open late…until 6 AM on some nights.

Unny was still being a bit of a wallflower.  I got a bit too drunk and start telling her that  she is “the most beautiful girl” and some other nonsense that probably bored the piss out of her.  At one point, I realize that I’m probably making an ass out of myself.  So I tell her;  “You probably get this kind of talk all the time.”  And I vaguely remember apologizing to her for boring her to tears and being lame.  haha

Khanitta and I get up on the stage at Spice Club and dance together.  We both try to get Unny to come up with us.  But she’s either too shy or doesn’t really like to dance.  At this point.   For some odd reason that I don’t recall, I decide that it would be a good ieda to pick Unny up [and carry her to the dance floor?].  This royally angers her.  Little gal.  Cute as hell.  Probably has had a problem with this before.  Doesn’t appreciate the loss of control or being manhandled by an idiot.  She’s pissed.  She stomps off.

I’m standing there in shock.  Thinking to myself.  “Dave!  You DUMBASS!!!  You just royally fucked it all up there…retard!”

So I just kind of stand there.  Figure I’ll wait for a minute and then head back to the room.

As I start to get up to walk out of Spice to head back to the room, Khanitta walks back in and tells me to come on.  I’m a bit surprised.

Unny had told her to come get me.

My luck has held through.  Unny still isn’t completely turned off by my buffoonery.  haha

So I walk out and sheepishly join up.  I apologize.

Then I notice that I’m drunk AND hungry.

I suggest that we go eat on Sukhumvit Road.  One of the street vendors that sells “Isaan food.”

We walk on down to the Suk.  Grab a couple of chairs and eat fried rice and whatever else is on the menu.  Sit there and chat for a bit.

After eating, we head home.

Next day, I text Unny and ask her to meet me again after she gets off work.  To my amazement, she agrees.

We spend all that night talking.  Just talking.  It’s one of the nicest nights I’ve spent in Bangkok.  Talking about anything with the most beautiful girl in the world.  I can’t take my eyes off of her.

All the while, I’m thinking to myself.  “This girl reminds me of someone.”

After a bit, I remember theEgyptian ladies on the papyrus that I had purchased in Cairo.  Unny has the same eyes.  Almost the same nose.   I decide at that moment that I will send it to her as thanks for making my time in Bangkok so enjoyable.

About ten days later, I’m at the Camp Stone APO with the papyrus in hand.  It takes a month to get there.

When Unny receives it, she texts me excitedly to tell me that she loves it.  As well as the little post card inscription that I’d sent with it.  I’ll let that be between us, though.

What you see in the pictures is the result of this little story.

And with the blessings of the Gods, there will be many more stories to relate about Unny and Dave.

Insha’allah…

Water Pics from Around the World

These are a few pics that I’ve taken throughout my travels.  Thailandfriends.com sponsors a monthly photo competition.  These are a few that I considered before submitting my final selection.

It’s a decent site with some cool folks.  If you get a chance, stop by and check out the photos in the competition.  Usually some decent pics on display.  Creative folks who are fairly well traveled.

Adventure Egypt

Below is an excellent map of Egypt. It shows allof the major historical sights from Pharaonic times to the present. The Pharaohs, Alexander, the Ptolemies to the Romans. It is an excellent road map with which to describe and follow the path of my recent Egyptian adventure.

We landed in Cairo at about 6 AM. That first day, we napped til noon.

Afterward, we headed out to see Coptic Cairo and the great fortress on the hill which contains the magnificent Muhammad Ali Mosque. This Mosque is a wondrous work of art. A celebration to God and all that was and could be great about Islam as a religion. Muhammad Ali is buried within inside a white mausoleum. We head back to our hotel for showers. And then head back out to see the light show at the Pramids and Sphinx.

Next day, we were gathered up by Shaimaa and taken to the Pyramids and Sphinx at the Giza Plateau. We walked around those incredible structures and viewed a boat that was found in the 1940s. The boat was to be used to ferry the Pharoah across the river to the world of the dead. That afternoon we were driven south of Cairo to Sakkara to see the Ziggurat which is the earliest pyramid. We also took in the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid. Huge structures. We climbed down into the Red Pyramid. It was…difficult. Afterward, we took lunch at an Egyptian restaurant. Pretty good food. That night we enjoy an evening cruise on the Nile. Taking in the sites of Cairo along the river Nile.

Day 3 saw us traveling North to Alexandria. We visited the catacombs. Checked out some cool grave sites that are centuries old. Dating back to the Greek and Roman eras. Took in a couple of mosques and the new Library of Alexandria. All of the learning of mankind in one repository. A daunting task. We also visited the Pompeii Pillar. I’ve put a few pics of this up on another post. Lastly, we visited the Quitbay Citadel which is built on the site of Ptolemys Pharos.

That night we jumped on the train that took us to Luxor. We were forewarned about the food on the train. So we grabbed some KFC to take along. I let them bring me a plate of food. It was as wretched as we were told. I don’t know who eats the stuff. Not even the Egyptians to whom we talked would eat it.

In the morning, we arrived bright and early in Luxor. We were met at the train station by our guide and he delivered us to our hotel and got us checked in. We agreed to meet at 1 PM for a tour of the Theben Temples of Luxor and Karnak. Magnificent is all I can say. We were given a tour here by Adel. A pretty cool dude who took his time and had lots of patience with me. lol

The next day. We get up bright and early to take in the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatscheput. We also roll over to the Valley of Artists. This is where many of the artisans who built and decorated the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens were themselves buried. We also take in the Colossi of Memnon. This was my second favorite site in Egypt. Two giants overseeing the ages of man. Reaching out from the past. What message would they have for us if they could speak to us?

The next day we drive to Aswan. We awaken bright and early. Along the way, we stop at Edfu and Kom Ombo. I think we arrived in Aswan at noon. We have most of the day to ourselves. So we go to the market. Catch some lunch at the hotel. We explore the city more and take in more of the markets. It seems the markets in Aswan go on forever. We don’t buy much. A couple of trinkets. This is where Adel leaves us and we are handed over to Fatima and a guy whose name I can’t remember.

That night, we take to bed early. As day 6, we are required to arise at 2AM in order to catch our bus to Abo Simbel. Abo Simbel is my favorite stop on this tour. It is beauty. It is ageless. It is THE sign of the greatness of Pharaonic Egypt. It’s a long drive to Abo Simbel. And a longer drive on the return. We seem to have been placed on the bus with the slowest driver in Upper Egypt. In the afternoon, we take in a few more sites. The Aswan Dam. The unfinished obelisk. The Temple of Philae which is situated on an island in the middle of the Nile. Tour guides aren’t allowed to enter Abo Simbel. They have their own. But when we returned to Aswan, Fatimah gave us a great tour of Philae and the other sites around Aswan.

That night we fly back to Cairo.

We are picked up at the Airport by Hamdi. The owner and operator of Adventure Egypt. Hamdi has taken care of our tour in Egypt. He did a good job of it. Although, the tour like everything else in Egypt was a bt pricey. Even so, he had a mammoth task on his hands in booking us through everything at the last moment. Even if it was the low season.

We proceed to drive the 8 hours to Mount Sinai. It was a long drive. We arrived around 7AM and get booked into our room. The room was not so good. So later in the afternoon, we were moved to a nicer room. Thanks to Hamdi. We hung out until about 2 and proceeded to Mount Sinai. It was a hell of a climb. I’ll post more on this and other parts of the tour later. But this climb damn near killed me. But about 2/3rds of the way up, my old Army training kicked in. I got my second wind and took off up the mountain. I climbed a few spots that were pretty hairy. If you stick to the trail, you are pretty much safe. I kept exploring off the trail. A couple of times, I slipped and thought it would be the last anyone ever heard of me. haha

We reached the top. Finally. And watched the sun go down. Then proceeded down the side of the mountain in the dark. And it was dark. Sometimes pitch dark. I got “mis-oriented” once and lost track of Becca and our guide. But I found my way and got down safely. That is until I caught up with Becca and she blinded me with my flashlight and I almost killed myself. lol

That night, I stayed up with Hamdi and a tent full of Bedouin watching movies, talking and smoking sheesha or water pipes. Apple flavoured smoke. I had my laptop with me and my hard drive. So I gave these dudes about 30 movies. Kinda funny. A tent out in the desert with satellite TV, internet, desk top computer and 32 inch TV. I think he had a refrigerator out there as well. We sat up until 3 AM or so drinking tea, eating bread and cheese, smoking sheesha and laughing at Will Ferrell in Semi Pro.

Day 7 (I think), we rise early. Check out of the hotel and tour St Catherines Monastery. Interesting tour. It’s built on the site where the Israelites camped and Moses brought down the Ten Commandments.

After the tour, we headed back to Cairo. The last night, we stayed in the Mena House Oberoi. A beautiful hotel with views of the Pyramids. It was just the right place for our last night in Egypt. A little bit of luxury after our rugged tour of Upper and Lower Egypt. That night we decided to take in a bit of the Cairene night life. We didn’t see much. Pretty dead. It was a Sunday night though and we were in the wrong area. But I did meet a pretty cool gal named Nora at my Hotel. She was there for a wedding at the Khan Khalili room of the Mena house. She invited me up and we sat and talked for a couple of hours until she headed out with her friends.

The next day, I got up late morning. Packed everything up and jumped on my flight back to Dubai. Departing Cairo is a bit of a mess. The Airport was crazy and disorganized. But I bribed the police to put me in the front of the line. So I got through pretty quick.

I got to my gate and an hour or so later…I was off. Adventure Egypt concluded…

I have to say that the most daunting task I have ahead of me is describing here on this blog these sites and experiences. I have not adequate words to describe Abo Simbel, the Temple of Philai. I know of no way to convey the sense of awe and wonder that one experiences upon entering tombs and temples that are thousand of years old but look as if they were but recently painted. Walking through Karnak and Luxor. Hearing the histories of the Egyptian Pharaohs and their people. Kom Ombo and Edfu. It is beyond my power. What words could I use. It is not possible to pass onto the reader the magnificence of these Pyramids rising out of the desert. These works of man are a marvel to be seen. Imagine the efforts and genius of the peoples who built them. Even so, all of this pales in comparison to the mighty river Nile and the surrounding deserts.

The Pyramids and Sphinx at the Giza Plateau

The Sphinx and Pyramid

The Sphinx and Pyramid 1998

It’s been ten years since I last visited the Giza Plateau.  Much has changed.  Ten years ago, you could walk up to the Pyramids and actually climb them.  I’m not sure if that was a good thing or not.  But it’s much better than the Disneyland like setting that surrounds them now.  It’s funny.  I don’t remember the roads.  I don’t remember the buses.  I looked at my old pictures and at least one road was there.  I can see one bus in one of the pics as well.

The last time that I was in Cairo.  Back in 1998.   Perhaps, I was there at a less busy time.  I didn’t remember the roads and such around the Pyramids.  There were a few other tourists during that visit.  Not many, though.  I rode a camel out of the desert to the Pyramids.  We came upon them from the rear.  Cairo looked far away.  It gave the illusion of being out in the desert and away from civilization.  I rode the camel to the smaller pyramids.  Dismounted my camel and walked up to the three great Pyramids.  On impulse, I started climbing.  There were a couple of Bedouin and one or two tourist police hanging around.  I got about 2/3rds of the way to the top of the Great Pyramid.  One of the tourist police started pointing his AK47 at me and yelling for me to get down.  I ignored him and continued to climb.  Nearly to the top.

It is not possible now to climb the Pyramids. The Egyptian tourism authority has laid more asphalt roads around the pyramids.  Buses actually drive up to the base of the Pyramids and offload hundreds of Japanese and European tourists each day.  Possibly thousands.  There were so many the day we were there, it was impossible to get a clear picture of the Pyramids without a Japanese or Euro tourist in the photo.  There are hundreds of vendors trying to sell scarves, cheap jewelry, small statues and all manner of trinkets.  You also have to contend with the Bedouins and their camels.  The primary push is camel rides, of course.  If they can’t get you to ride the camel, they attempt to have you sit on the camel for a picture.  If they can’t get  you to sit on the camel, they try to bully you into giving them money for taking a picture of them or their camel.  I just laughed at them and sang “La La La” to them.  La is No in Arabic.

I walked up to the Cheops Pyramid and started taking pictures of everything.  Including a little guy with a camel.  I walked up and snapped a few photos of his camel.  The little dude asked me for a cigarette.  So I gave him one.  I kept taking pics of him and his camel and everything in the area.  After a few minutes, an older Bedouin fellow walked up and demanded that I get on the camel for a pic.  I said “LA!”  He then told me to give him my camera so that he could take a pic of me with the camel.  Again, I said “LA!”  I would also say ; “Nah, I’m cool dawg.”  He started saying “Doog!  Doog?”  I laughed.  I like to throw American slang at these folks.  It throws them off.  Perplexes them.  They usually don’t know what to say to it.  Finally, he demanded that I give him money.  “Baksheesh!”  I laughed again and said “Hell no…” as I walked away laughing and singing “La La LA.”  i do a lot of singing when I’m on vacation.  I don’t know why.  I guess because I’m so happy to be out there and free.

These guys try to bully or harass tourists into giving them money.  Sometimes it works.  You’ve got these small Japanese women walking around looking lost.  Euros walking around looking bewildered.  It was quite comical.

The Pyramids and Sphinx are now surrounded by asphalt roads.  Tourist police in the hundreds walking about.  Riding camels and horses.  The tourist police try to get you to give them money as well.  Sometimes, they just see you walking by and ask you to take their picture.  If you do, they ask for “baksheesh.”  Arabic for money, I think.

Walking around Cairo, invariably you’ll have little kids running up to you whispering “Baksheesh.”  They put on these sad faces for you.  I’ve seen a group of kids laughing and playing.  Suddenly, one of them will spot a tourist and he will assume the saddest posture and look imaginable and walk up to you saying baksheesh in a low voice as if he is sad and hungry.  This was similar to the kids begging in India.

The Pyramids and the Sphinx are still magnificent.  Don’t get the wrong idea.  The asphalt does make them more accessible.  Unfortunately, the roads and buses and massive crowds detract from the beauty and mystery of these ancient monuments. It was still immensely enjoyable visiting Giza and gazing upon the Sphinx and it’s sister monuments.  And, of course, this time we had Shaimaa telling us wonderful stories and histories which made this visit all the more enjoyable.

Enjoy the pictures.

Bedouin Freestyle in Sakkara

On the way back to Cairo from Saqqara, we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant.  When you enter, a group of musicians playing local instruments play music.  I assume to announce your entrance.  Becca, Shaimaa and I sat and ate.  Of course, I finished eating first.  I walked to the front to have a smoke. When I came near to the musicians, an Egyptian guy called me over.  I walked up and they started showing me their instruments and asking me if I could play.  I didn’t even attempt the horn.  One of them handed me the drum/tambourine combo and they started playing.  So I went along with them and started cutting up with them a bit. Hey!  I played drums from 6th to 9th grade.  I can still play a bit after all of these years.  lol  it was a fun time. While I was jamming with my sadikkis, Shaimaa was recording me.  And apparently, laughing herself silly.

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All in good fun.  All in good fun. Later on.  Down in Luxor, we jammed out to some Celine Dion on the way back from Karnak.  Apparently, our driver was a big fan of Celine.  He played that song 3 times in 20 minutes or less.  Either that or all Celine Dion songs really do sound the same.

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This is the Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara.

Smokin’ Sheesha…

Smoking the hooka pipe.  Sheesha.

It’s one thing that you must experience in the Middle East.

These are my last moments in Egypt

I can’t begin to describe what I’ve seen, the places I’ve travelled or the people I have met.  I will say this.  The greatest Monument in Egypt is neither the Sphinx nor the Pyramids at Giza.  It is Abo Simbel.

It will take time to digest this trip. India and Egypt.  Cambodia, again.  Finally hit Laos and got trapped and flooded and washed out.  But it was too much fun.  Especially Avin.

I’ve seen hundreds of pyramids.  Great and Small.  I’ve seen countless tombs and mummies.  Monuments centuries old.  Thousands of years old.  Climbed Mount Sinai.  Traveled the Nile.  The Taj Mahal.  Great Rivers the world over.

It’s been exciting.  An adventure.  It’s been strange and wonderful.  Surreal at times.

This is Abo Simbel.

Photography is forbidden inside Abo Simbel now.  So I could take no photos of this magnificent monument to Ramsis II.  The gallery below was given to me by Shayma.  Our tour guide in Cairo.  She was awesome.  The first two pictures were taken by myself.  The rest are her contribution.

Thanks Shayma (if you ever read this).

We have a saying…

I mentioned this scene in an earlier post.  I finally was able to get a good bootleg version and clip it for my blog.  I know it isn’t funny. But it is…

Jake Gyllenhaal has turned out to be a great actor.  Jarhead and Rendition being two of his best efforts.  They may both be liberal anti-War type movies but they are excellent drama as well as excellent acting on the part of old Jake.  Now, I”m not getting into that other movie.  I couldn’t even watch it.  The kid is on his way to a great career.

It is hot in Herat!

Hot as hell. Walking outside is like walking into a blast furnace. In 6 days, I will begin the journey that takes me home to my Momma and then on to Asia.  I am so so looking forward to rolling out of here. 9 Days at home to visit my Momma and some of the rest of my family.

Then…

Off to Bangkok for some real fun. Two days there to relax and become acclimated to Asia.

Next stop is Cambodia. Something about that place that I love. I want to explore a bit more. Go deeper into the place. Go a little off the beaten path. I’ll probably spend about 8 days in Cambodia. Two in Phnom Penh and 6 or so in and around Siem Reap. Must see Angkor again, of course. I want to get away and see Battambang and other places that don’t get the usual tramp of tourism. See what I can out there. Just gotta be careful. Landmines out there in the wilds of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge were as ugly as the Soviets and Taliban when it came to emplacing landmines.

My buddy Becca will join me when I get back to Bangkok and then it’s off to India and on to Egypt. Two of the most exotic locales on the planet. Pyramids and Tah Mahals. Moghuls and Khans and Pharaohs. Perhaps, we should leave early and take a side trip into Jerusalem. I’ve been to Jerusalem before. It’s one of those places where you can feel humanity and the ages speaking to you. History wails through the cracks in the Western Wall. The legend of Christ can be felt there. His pain and his love for humanity. The oppression of both the Roman and Islamic Empire can be felt still floating through the air. The victims still cry for justice. You can smell the blood that has been spilt. Feel the rage of the rebellions and revolutions. Jerusalem is truly a special city. It’s a magnitude of “exceptionality” that one can not comprehend until one has experienced the City of Peace. Likewise, visiting the Pyramids is extraordinary. Thousands of years of history. One follows a multitude of pilgrims to Ghiza, Saqqara and Memphis. Millions of Egyptians look to the Pyramids with pride. Knowing that their country, their culture produced such wonders in antiquity. I’m sure it makes them feel as though they can rise and do so again. With leadership and true philosophy, I’m sure that they could. But Egypt, like the rest of the Muslim world, will do nothing again until they throw off the mind numbing shackles of Islam. Islam where Insha’allah prevails as the philosophy of progress.

India. Who can truly summarize the Golden Continent of Gandhi. All great Empires of the old age coveted this realm of spice and riches and magic exoticism. Beauty and uncommon wealth are ubiquitous on the subcontinent. Yet, dwelling in the house of beauty and affluence is their stepsisters poverty, famine and death. I have read much of India but have yet to experience it. I shall on this journey for the first time. Hopefully, more trips will follow and I will get to know India well.

I still can’t believe how hot it is here today. I don’t want to step outside my door. I don’t remember the Sinai being this hot. I feel like the Sun is a mere inch from my face while outside my door. Scorching my skin. Incinerating my nose and ears. Yet, January saw the worst blizzard Herat had seen in decades. 2 feet of snow. Freezing temperatures.

And I thought Kentucky weather was insane.

I read in the news that Kobe has choked again. Kobe will never be the great player. He will always be the one who could have been. The one who should have been. Too much was given to Bryant. He hasn’t learned that sometimes one has to take the prize. Reach out and make it so. He still thinks that he deserves the prize. No one deserves anything. One achieves or one does not. Kobe does not. His instinct is now and will always be to expect to win. He has not learned that he must keep fighting until the last ounce of sweat has been sacrificed. He still hasn’t learned that he can’t do it alone. He still hasn’t learned that leadership is a full time job. Not a sometimes job. He settles for the question when he should drive to certainty.

Therefore, another Kentucky boy will get a ring.

Go Rondo! Go Celtics!

Egypt — Who says you can’t go back?

I was stationed in Egypt from 1997 to 1998 with the U.S. Army. It was my first foray into the Middle East. My unit was actually in El Gorah in the Sinai. I was part of the Multinational Force and Observers committed to patrolling the Sinai to ensure that neither Egypt nor Israel broke their treaty and placed military forces in the Sinai. It is a peacekeeping missions. One of the few of which I am aware that is successful.

The guys at El Gorah are probably on lock down right now. Poor Bastards! Nothing to do there but drink, surf the web, watch movies and hit the gym. It’s a pretty small camp. A run around the perimeter will get you your two mile run but most of that is wasteland used for the firing range, an obstacle course and a small runway and heli-pad.

While I was there, we were locked down completely for about a month. Most of the time we were allowed to take weekends in Israel or Egypt. A four hour drive West and across the Suez Canal would place you in Cairo. A four hour drive East and past Gaza would put you in Tel Aviv.

I preferred Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is like New York on the Mediterranean. Shopping malls. Green Grass. People going about their business much like we do in America. The city of Tel Aviv is a mix of America and Europe. The city was light and airy. A beach runs from Jaffa [Joppa of Bibilcal Jonah and the Whale fame] almost all the way to Haifa. Miles and miles of beautiful beach and sunny Mediterranean Sea.

And the women…my God. The women were beautiful. Half the city looked like models out of Fredericks of Hollywood or Victoria’s Secret.

Cairo was a different setting. Different but still amazing. Cairo is an eclectic mix of Modern and Ancient. Modern day Hotels and The 73 War Panorama and the Cairo Museum set amidst the Giza Pyramids, the Mohammad Ali Mosque. Ride a camel around the desert and come at the pyramids from the rear. Walk from the pyramids to the Sphinx. Right across the street. Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC. That was a bit surreal to me.

Cairo has the city of the dead. A giant cemetery. Ancient monuments to families and individuals both great and small. People living inside the cemetery. The poorest of the poor.

Walking around downtown. I distinctly remember the smell of kerosene. I couldn’t figure out why. When I asked I was told that they used kerosene to burn the human waste in the public bathrooms. A bad smell turned disgusting.

I really didn’t meet any Egyptian women in Cairo. I was hanging out with friends. After days full of sightseeing and climbing pyramids and exploring catacombs, we were pretty tired. I remember crawling down to the burial chamber of Nefertiti. The tunnel got smaller and smaller until i had to bend to make it through. At the bottom, my buddy Humberto and I took turns climbing into the sarcophagus to take pictures. Not much inside the chamber anymore. It’s all been removed by grave robbers of the antiquities authorities and placed in museums. So we spent only a few moments inside and made good our escape. Back up the tunnel to the light and fresh air. It’s an odd feeling knowing that you are under those huge pyramids.

Rolling around Cairo in a taxi cab is an adventure. I don’t think there are any rules out there. Buses have the right of way and they will take it. When a bus starts pulling over into your lane, you have no choice but to find a way to get out of it’s way. Horns are constantly blaring. A three lane road turns into 5 or 6 or 8 lanes. Drivers pay no attention to road markings. The traffic circles are chaos. Driving there makes Paris look calm and orderly.

Cairo, or al Qahira in Arabic, was an adventure for me. I can’t wait to get back and do it again. This time, I’ll be going down South. When I was there last time, I was in the Army. We were restricted from going South to Aswan and Luxor because of the terrorist activity. This time. Nothing will stop me.

Insha’allah, I will be seeing Egypt again 1-10 August 2008. Almost ten years exactly from the date that I last visited.

DAY 1: CAIRO

Arrival at Cairo airport, where our representative will be waiting for you. He will then meet and assist you through airport formalities and escort you to your hotel in Cairo, situated at the pyramids’ area. Check in and overnight at hotel in Cairo.

DAY 2: CAIRO

Today we visit the great Pyramids of Giza and their guardian Sphinx and then head to the Cairo Museum. Overnight at hotel in Cairo.

DAY 3: CAIRO – ASWAN (Cruise)

This morning we are transferred to Cairo Airport for our flight to Aswan. Then we will be escorted to embark on the Nile cruise ship-our floating hotel for the next five days. After lunch, we sail by ‘felucca’ a traditional Nile sailing boat, to view Kitcheners Island and the Agha Khan Mausoleum. Overnight in Aswan.

Optional: Abu Simbel excursion in the morning

DAY 4: ASWAN – KOMOMBO – EDFU (Cruise)

Today we visit the impressive Aswan High Dam and its huge lake, and the Temple of Philae. Then we cruise to Kom Ombo to visit the Temple shared by the Gods Sobek & Haroeris. Tonight we enjoy a special costume party featuring Native Egyptian and pharaonic style. Overnight in Edfu

DAY 5: EDFU – ESNA – LUXOR (Cruise)

This morning we explore the Temple of Horus, the falcon god. Then we sail to Esna and continue sailing to Luxor. Overnight in Luxor.

DAY 6: LUXOR (Cruise)

Today we explore the Necropolis of Thebes, the wondrous Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut’s Temple, and the Colossi of Memnon. In the evening, we visit the Karnak and Luxor Temple. Overnight in Luxor.

DAY 7: LUXOR – CAIRO

Today we will be transferred to Luxor airport for our flight back to Cairo where we will be met and escorted to the hotel. The balance of the day is free for shopping. Overnight at hotel in Cairo.

DAY 8: CAIRO

The tour ends

We’ll have two more days in Egypt to do as we please. I’m thinking Alexandria would be a great palce to hit before we depart for home.

I did “meet” one woman in Cairo. My buddy Humberto and I were at the bar of the Moevinpick Hotel near the Airport on our first night in Cairo. We were drinking a few beers together and planning the rest of our weekend. This beautiful Egyptian girl walks past our table. I’m talking beauty. She kinda glances our way and gives us a twinkling of a smile. Humberto and I were impressed. We had heard that there were some remarkable beauties in Cairo. This girl definitely seemed to fit the bill. But as luck would have it, she was with a man. Humberto and I finished our beers and decided to cruise downtown to check out the Cairo nightlife. On the way out the door, we checked out our girl one last time. Her beau had walked away leaving us an opening. I waved at her, smiled and said; “Salaam!” She smiled at us and revealed the blackest set of teeth that I’ve seen outside of a Halloween costume party. lol I was taken aback. It was a bit difficult to recover but I managed to smile back and keep moving.

Later, I learned that many Egyptians have this discoloration problem because of the water. Lack of chlorine and such. It’s pretty shocking if you are surprised by it when trying to get all Rico Sauve on some girl in al Qahira. haha I know I was shocked.