Christy and Aaron Tracker

Follow Christy and Aaron on their backpacking trip around the world

Weirdest Christmas Ever

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 12 26th, 2010

Every year of our lives, Christy and I have spent Christmas and the holiday season with our families in Ohio. For obvious reasons (the world trip), we were going to spend Christmas away from our hometowns for the first time. We went to a hotel at Hua Hin to celebrate this Christmas at the beach. We tried to blend some of our favorite holiday traditions with the amazing local atmosphere. In the end we both found ourselves saying, “It wasn’t the best Christmas. It wasn’t the worst Christmas. But it was definitely the weirdest Christmas.”

Thanks to Christy’s Grandma and Aunts, we were treated to a hotel room for Christmas. We felt like we were living in luxury. We could only remember 7 other times we had a room to ourselves with our own bathroom. We also made sure to get a room with free wi-fi so we could call our families on Christmas day.

We spent our time in Hua Hin trying to find the Christmas spirit in the city and ourselves.

We went to the beach:

Christy and Aaron at Hua Hin beach

We admired the decorations and lights throughout the city. The city was decorated with lots of lights to celebrate the king’s birthday on December fifth and they are left up through the new year celebrations. We pretended they were Christmas decorations too.

Christy in Hua Hin

The malls had real Christmas decorations up for the tourists:

Christy and Thailand Christmas decorations

One of the best thing in Thailand are the night markets. It is fun to look around at all of the stuff with out getting pressured by the shop keepers. It has been months since we could look at souvenirs without getting hassled. It is such a relief once the hassle is gone.

Christy in the night market

We go to the night markets almost every night to eat good cheap street food.  We usually pay around $1 per item, including full plates of pad thai. There are also a lot of exotic foods available. Look how happy I am with my special Christmas Eve treat, squid on a stick . As you will see later, I would come to regret this decision.

Aaron and squid on a stick

Christy went for a different Christmas Eve treat, a festive ice cream sundae.

Christy and her ice cream sundae

We spent the rest of Christmas Eve night watching Christmas shows on Youtube and my favorite holiday movie, A Christmas Story.

Christy watching A Christmas Story

Christmas day we went to a safari park to ride elephants as the second part of our gift from Christy’s aunts. As a bonus we got to hold a tiger cub.

Christy and a tiger cub

Christy and Aaron riding an elephant

As the day wore on I started feeling sicker and sicker. We ended up back in our hotel room for the rest of the day while I battled food poisoning from the squid on a stick.

Aaron sick with food poisoning

We did not go out to dinner at a nice restaurant like planned, because I could not leave the hotel room. Christy’s Christmas dinner ended up being a Pizza Hut pizza.

Christmas dinner pizza

Later that night we Skyped with our families. While Skype calls are nice, we wished we could be with them, instead of watching them open presents on the computer screen. This is the first time we have felt really homesick on the trip and wanted to be home. Christmas is always such a nice time of year in the United States it was sad to be somewhere else. Now that Christmas is over I am sure our desire to return home will fade as new adventures begin.

Beaches, lights, elephant rides, squid on a stick, and Skype, it was a weird Christmas.

When You’re Sliding into First, and You Feel Something Burst…

Posted by Christy in Posts on 10 10th, 2010

Diarrhea. Diarrhea.

Yup, kids. That has been the theme this past week. Aaron drank the water at our hostel in Jerusalem (BAD idea) and was sick for five days. Karen (Aaron’s aunt is traveling with us throughout Egypt – Fun!) and I got sick three days after she arrived. We think the hotel’s mini burgers at the buffet were the culprit. I have missed the Temple of Karnak, Luxor Temple, and Abu Simbel because of of the illness.

Not one of us has had a solid stool since.

While this may seem like a disgusting post, actually it just downright is, it is a big part of traveling. I have been lucky, as I have only been sick two other times, one time in Athens and another time in Nuweiba. This has been by far the longest bout, however, and I really hope I get over it soon!

I did take my traveler’s diarrhea antibiotic. Hopefully it will take effect soon.

You will be thankful that I have not included pictures. I thought ya’ll would appreciate that.

Abu Simbel

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 10 10th, 2010

Before heading back to Cairo, Karen and I took a quick flight to Abu Simbel from Aswan to see the temples for Ramses and his queen Nefertari. Christy was feeling so sick she did not join us. The temples are really impressive. It is amazing that the temples were moved to its current location in the 1960s to save the sights from Lake Nasser. The Egyptians were building a new dam in Lake Nasser and the new water level was going to cover the temples.

Aaron and Karen at the Ramses temple

Aaron in front of Lake Nasser

There is nothing else to see in Abu Simbel so Karen and I caught an earlier flight back to Aswan to reunite with sick Christy.

Aunt Karen = The Traveling Genius

Posted by Christy in Posts on 10 6th, 2010

Wow. Just… wow. We knew Karen was an expert when it came to travel, but we certainly have to admit that we underestimated her skills in planning the best of the best in what a country has to offer. Not only did we cover all the must-do’s of Egypt, but we also had a few little bonus activities that she read were some of the best. Turns out Karen’s sources were correct.

We started out in Cairo with the famous Egyptian museum. As you may have read in my previous posts, we all became ill at various points of the trip, and Aaron missed out on most of Cairo, including the museum. No worries, though. It is spectacular to see King Tut’s treasures in all their glory, but it was not by any means the activity I enjoyed the most. Caneras weren’t allowed inside, but here are some photos of the outside (I know, so exciting!):

Christy at the Cairo Museum

The Christy Sphinx at the Cairo Museum

Aaron missing out on the Cairo fun

You may be interested to know that King Tut was actually a very menial pharaoh, having only ruled for about 10 years and doing nothing of big significance. The ONLY reason why he is the most well-known pharaoh is his tomb is the only one found with its complete treasures. Other pharaohs, like Cheops, the pharaoh whose tomb was buried in the Great Pyramid,  most likely had a much larger fortune buried with him, but we will never know for sure thanks to ancient grave robbers.

The next couple of days we spent in Cairo, Karen and I dawdled around the city, seeing the Citadel (BORING) and a few mosques along the way. In one of the mosques my pants and short-sleeved top weren’t cutting it, so I had to wear a full robe to cover my head and arms. Usually the mosques were fine with shoulders and legs being covered, I don’t know why this one was an exception.

After I got my robe on we had an unofficial guide walk us around the mosque. Now, here is my definition of an unofficial guide: it is a person (usually a man) that walks with you around a particular site and tells you a little bit about it. He doesn’t ask you if you want a guide, he just takes on that role. So you don’t work out a price, or anything for that matter, and he just expects to be paid at the end. Well, this guy did have some interesting things to say, so we let him follow us around and paid him 20 Egyptian pounds at the end. Usually we just pay them 5, but he did walk around with us for a while. Well, 20 wasn’t good enough for this guy, he wanted 40. We didn’t want to argue with him, so we gave it up, but I was PISSED. How is it that I can’t show my freakin head or arms in the mosque, but this guy can scam people out of their money?! UGHHHHHHHHH…

Christy in a mosque

The Al-Azhar mosque

Veiled Christy in a mosque

Hooded Christy in a mosque

We also walked around Khal-al-Kalili bazaar as well as the Street of the Tentmakers. This was really fun because we probably saw about 10 other white people total. I felt truly enveloped in the culture walking among the Egyptians in the bazaars.

The Khal-al-Kalili bazaar

The tent makers' bazaar

The next day we went to pyramids, which by their own right our SPECTACULAR. The same thought of “I can’t believe I am here” just kept rolling through my head. The sphinx is a lot smaller than I expected, and at the same time the pyramids were much larger than I expected. Crazy how that turns out.

Christy with the pyramids

Christy excited to be at the pyramids

Christy with the Sphinx

After the pyramids we headed to the airport to catch a flight to the next amazing item on Karen’s itinerary, Luxor.

30 hours on the poor man’s cruise

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 08 27th, 2010

We are almost finished with the European part of our journey. All that is left is to get back to London from Greece to catch our flight to Cairo, Egypt. The first leg to get us back to London was a 30 hour ferry from Patras, Greece to Venice, Italy. Our EuRail got us free deck passage on the boat. We were surprised to find out that we literally had deck passage tickets. There were some small uncomfortable chairs available, but Christy and I figured we would be more comfortable laying of the floor. We were some of the first people on the boat so we choose a spot by the pool and laid out our travel sheets. The cold wind from the boat woke us up during the night. We ended up sleeping in all of our rain gear to keep us warm in the wind. To make things worse, I was already fighting a head cold.

Christy camping on the deck of the ferry to Venice

When we woke up in the morning we were surprised to find the boat had filled up with other deck passengers. People were laying in every available space on the boat. The ferry, which seemed very nice when we got on (it had a pool) began to feel like a poor man’s cruise. Everywhere we walked there were people on air mattresses and in sleeping bags.

People camping on the ferry

People camping on the ferry

People camping on the ferry

Some people even brought tents.

Tent camping on the ferry

Thirty hours later we arrived in Venice. We were stiff and tired, but we could not stop to rest. We went straight to the train station to continue our journey back to London.