vacation

Proof that we are NOT Crazy!

Two years ago when we started telling our friends and family that we were selling everything we owned, quitting our jobs, and that we were moving to the Middle East, I’m sure lots of people thought we were crazy!  We weren’t though, we were just looking for an adventure and new travel opportunities.

Last summer, when we were back in Minnesota, and were sharing the news that Rachel was pregnant and that our son was going to be born in Kuwait, I’m sure lots of people thought we were crazy!  We weren’t though, because we knew that we had a great doctor and hospital here in Kuwait.

We’ve taken some crazy trips, been in a few sticky situations, and have been lost numerous times in foreign countries, but no . . . . we’re not crazy.

Ok, ok, maybe we ARE a little crazy sometimes, but this week we made a very mature decision that proves that we aren’t always CRAZY!

We were supposed to fly out to Istanbul, Turkey today for a week vacation for Spring Break, however earlier this week we made the decision to cancel our vacation.  (insert sad music here)

Turkey has been in the news a lot lately, and unfortunately . . . . not for good reasons.  There is a bit of unrest in the country right now, which is very unfortunate, because it is such a beautiful country with great people.  I was there last November and had a wonderful trip!

Due to the recent unrest in the country, the United States Department of State issued a Travel Warning for Turkey on March 17th.  It’s always been our rule of thumb, that we wouldn’t travel to a country that had a current Travel Warning.  We figure that the government knows more than we do, so we just listen to their advice.

According to their website, they issue a Travel Warning when:

“we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. We want you to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all. Travel Warnings remain in place until the situation changes.”

I’m sure we would have been safe if we had gone to Istanbul, but now that we have Hayden in our lives, we know that we should just take it easy and follow the advice of the professionals.

So there it is folks, we aren’t entirely CRAZY!  We like traveling and love the adventures that come along with it, but we also know that sometimes it’s just best to reconsider your travel plans.  So instead of a trip to Istanbul for Spring Break, we are going to enjoy a little “stay-cation” here in Kuwait!

You can visit the U.S. Department of State’s website to view a complete listing of Travel Alerts and Warnings here.

 

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Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour – February 22

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour! Here’s what I’d have to share if we were meeting for Happy Hour this week . . . . .

  • First of all, I apologize for skipping last week’s Happy Hour!  In fact, this week’s edition almost didn’t happen either . . . . It’s currently 10:30pm and I’m laying on the couch exhausted, but I thought I would throw something together quick for you.

We Have a Roller

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  • It was a big week for Hayden, he rolled over for the first time from his back to his stomach!  Of course we didn’t get the first roll on video, and in fact, we still haven’t got one of them recorded!  In a world where it seems like people are constantly glued to their phones/cameras, every time he rolls we shout, “where’s my phone, where’s my phone?!?!?!?!”  We never find it in time!

We found Hayden’s Kryptonite

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Photo courtesy of: http://www.nosesucker.com

  • Hayden received his 4 month vaccinations this week.  Here in Kuwait, the government requires children to get certain vaccinations.  Since they are required, you have to go to one of the Government Clinics, which is unlike any hospital/clinic I’ve ever been too.  It’s crowded, the waits are long, nothing seems organized, and they are only open certain hours each day.  It sure makes us feel grateful that we have health insurance so that we can attend the private clinics/hospitals for medical care.  The nurses we had were fantastic and Hayden was a totally stud!  Once the needle poked him in the leg, he gave us a weird look and just crinkled his eyebrow.  He let out one small wimper, which I translated to, “ouch!”  No tears, no crying, just a total tough guy!  However later in the night we noticed a booger in his nose, so we grabbed his lil’ boogy sucker thingy (I think this is the official name).  As soon as he saw that thing near his nose, he let out a bloodcurdling screammmmm!  He’s our little macho man, but he hates this thing, so apparently the boogy sucker thingy is his kryptonite.

We Love Vacations

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Photo courtesy of: http://www.buzzfeed.com

  • On Wednesday of this week, we are heading to Oman for a 4-day weekend to visit our friend Mike and his family.  Mike was the person who encouraged us to consider a life overseas, and specifically in the Middle East.  Since he moved to Oman over 5 years ago, we kept telling him that we were going to come visit, and the time has finally come.  We’re excited to explore Oman, check out some of their amazing beaches, and just enjoy a cold beer with a great friend.

Short Week

  • This weekend, Kuwait is celebrating it’s two largest holidays of the year, and they are on back-to-back days!  On February 25th Kuwait is celebrating National Day, which marks the creation of Kuwait as a country in 1961.  On the next day, February 26th, Kuwait celebrates Liberation Day, which marks the end of the Gulf War in 1991 when Kuwait liberated from the Iraqi invasion.  As a result of the holiday weekend, we only have a 4-day week this week!  Get this though . . . when our week was half over here in Kuwait (2pm on Monday) the work week in Minnesota hadn’t even started yet! (it was 5am on Monday)  Woohoo, only 2 more days until vacation!

See you next week ya’all!

Beach Time in Portugal

Last June when we finished the school year, we started the long trek from Kuwait back to Minnesota.  The school books our flights to and from Kuwait each year, and they usually book all of our flights using Lufthansa Air.  Lufthansa has a sweet policy on layovers.  Here’s how it works: when you book a flight with Lufthansa you can extend your layovers for FREE.  Meaning that our flight path took us from Kuwait to Frankfurt before it took us back to the U.S. Using Lufthansa’s layover policy we were able to extend our stay in Europe for 6 days to soak up some time on the beaches of Portugal, before we headed home for our whirl wind of a summer.  IMG_7102We convinced six of our friends to join us on the Southern Coast of Portugal, in an area known as Algarve.  We rented a beach house with amazing views for dirt cheap.  Our vacation began once we landed in Lisbon, where we grabbed two rental cars and drove a few hours from the capital, down to the beach.
IMG_7103We very purposefully planned nothing to do on this vacation!  We just enjoyed the stunning views over the ocean, played cards, bar-b-qued, and stayed up late listening to music and laughing with friends.  
IMG_7146My words aren’t really going to be able to describe how beautiful this area was, so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

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IMG_7154 IMG_7155 IMG_7156 IMG_7157Friends + Sunshine + Exploring a New Country = a Fantastic Vacation  Thanks for the great time crew, I would travel with any of you, anywhere, anytime.

Boat Tour in Portugal

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The group heading out to sea.

While we were in Portugal last summer, we mostly sat on the beach with our friends, looking at the ocean, and soaking up the sun.  One day though we hopped into our rental cars and drove a half hour to the coastal town of Faro.  Once we got there, we walked up and down the boardwalk and saw what tour options there were for tourists.  IMG_7114After reviewing our options, we decided to take a boat tour of the caves in the surrounding area! Our friend Niamh’s cousins were coincidentally in Portugal at the same time we were, so we were able to fill the entire boat with just our group.   As we headed out of the Marina the blue skies and jutting cliffs were just what we were hoping to see.  The pictures just don’t quite do this natural phenomena justice.

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Private beaches along the coast.

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Niamh and Lauren showing off their cute life jackets!

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Mitch looking super serious on the boat ride.

 

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Mitch & Adam, the day after the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.

Hilton Membership

One change we decided to make in our lives this school year was to get a membership at the Hilton Resort.  The Hilton is a super fancy hotel, very close to our apartment, that offers an option for people to purchase a membership to use their facilities.  Our membership includes access to an incredible spa, multiple pools, private white sand beach, paved walking paths, a gym, tennis courts, and even fitness classes!

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The main pool at the Hilton.

We decided not to purchase a membership last year because we wanted to get out and do some exploring around Kuwait.  However with a baby on the way in a few weeks, we knew this would be the perfect place to do some relaxing.  We also wanted to have a nice outdoor space that we could spend time at, that was close to home, for those days when we need to get out of our apartment.

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Looking out towards the beach from one of the garden areas.

So far this week we have been to the Hilton 3 times to work out, relax in the Spa, and float in the pool.  It seems like every time we are walking to the car to leave I say to Mitch, “I am so happy we have this membership!”

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The Hilton Spa….otherwise known as a pregnant ladies dream come true

We are not going away for our fall break this year, as it will be too close to my due date, so we planning on spending A LOT of time at the Hilton enjoying our own little “staycation.”  Our “staycation” will not only involve a lot of time at the pool and the spa, but I think it will also include a Mother-To-Be massage for me!

FAQ’s of the Summer

When we were back in the United States this summer, we had a great time hanging out with friends and family!  We were able to reconnect with a lot of people and do a lot of catching up.  People were excited to hear about our experiences in Kuwait and to learn more about our lifestyle overseas.  Interestingly, most people asked many of the same questions.  Thus, I decided to compile a list of what I’m calling, “FAQ’s of  the Summer!”

Is Kuwait safe?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes!  Kuwait is a very safe country, and I can honestly say that I have never felt unsafe at any time since we have been here.  The people here are fabulous, kind, genuine, and sincere.  We’ve met some incredible people who have been so welcoming to us.  Before we moved to Kuwait last year, I made a promise to Rachel.  I told her that if either of us ever felt unsafe, we would immediately board a plane, and leave the country.  I reassured her that we are always only one flight away from leaving.

Are you going to have Baby J in Kuwait?

Yes, we are having the baby in Kuwait!  Believe it or not, nearly 350,000 babies are born every day, all over the world, and only a small fraction of them are born in the United States.  Babies are born in the jungles of South America, in the deserts of Africa, and the 5 star luxury hospital we go to in Kuwait.  Our doctor is fabulous, the hospital is excellent, and the care we receive there is top notch. Neither of us have any reservations about having our baby here.

Is Baby J going to be an American even though he is going to be born in Kuwait?

Yes, he will be an American and will have an American passport.  The United States is the ONLY country in the world, that gives birthright citizenship. (Meaning that if you are born in the U.S. you automatically become a citizen).  Baby J is just going to have a cool birth certificate in life that is called a “Birth Abroad Certificate” indicating that he was born abroad, but still has citizenship in the United States.

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When are you going to move back to the United States?

Right now we have no plans on returning to the United States.  We are currently in the second year of our two year contract in Kuwait.  At the end of the year we can decide to resign another contract here, move to another country, or return to America.

What is your favorite country that you guys have traveled to last year?

Mitch: For me, it was definitely the Maldives! It was such a beautiful and magical place with the best beaches I’ve ever seen!  The white sand beaches and the crystal clear water were awesome, and it was such a relaxing place. I highly recommend it!

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Rachel: Sri Lanka, I loved the option of being at the beach or in the jungle in such close proximity, and learning more about the people who survived the Tsunami 10 years ago was completely humbling.

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Where are you guys going to travel to this year?

So far, we only have two trips planned.  For our Holiday Break over Christmas & New Year’s, we are heading to Thailand!  We have a nice long winter break so we are looking forward to spending some time at the beaches.  My family is also planning on going to Thailand, so it will be fun to meet up with them and spend time together over the holidays.

The other trip that we have planned this year is to Oman.  We have a friend who has been living there for about 7 years, so we are excited to go visit him and his family, as well as see the beautiful countryside that Oman has to offer.  From what we hear, outdoor enthusiast’s dream location with all of the beautiful mountains and beaches.

We also have a week off for Spring Break, however we haven’t decided yet where we want to go.

 

This is a brief recap of some of the common questions we received over the summer.  Perhaps some of our readers also had similar questions, and if so, hopefully this provides a bit of insight for you.

 

We’re Baaaaaaaack!

Greetings Everyone!

After a nice long and relaxing summer, Rachel and I have made it back to Kuwait for another school year!  We arrived in Kuwait about a week ago, and have been busy trying to get all settled in.  We’ve been working every day to prep for the upcoming school year, getting settled into our new apartment, fighting jet lag, and anxiously awaiting the arrival for our new baby!

Rachel has been feeling great, and is currently 35 weeks pregnant.  Our due date is on October 10th (my birthday!!!) but we know that the baby could realistically come at any moment.  We’ve had a couple of doctor visits since we have been back, and both Baby J and mom are doing awesome. We can’t wait to meet the little fella and to share the news with everyone soon!

Neither of us have blogged in nearly 3 months!  So we apologize to everyone who kept checking our blog for updates, and were disappointed to see the “dumb turtle post” again!  We spent our summer back in the United States visiting with friends and family.  We had intentions to post once in awhile about what were up to over the summer, however things got busy and it slowly slipped our mind.

It was great seeing people over the summer and hearing all of the comments like, “we love your blog!”  It truly makes it all worth it when we receive such kind compliments.  Without a doubt, “Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour” posts were the overwhelming favorites! So I’m excited to announce that our first Happy Hour together will be next Monday, September 14th.  Stay tuned for some good ones!

Coming to Kuwait was so much easier this time than last year, for a couple of reasons:

1. We were so excited to see all of our friends we’ve met in Kuwait, who we missed dearly over the summer.

2. We knew that coming back to Kuwait meant it was getting much closer to baby time (just about 5 weeks to go before our little guy arrives).

3. We knew what to expect and what we were getting ourselves into.  The fear of the unknown was completely gone and we were trilled to return to our home away from home.

Our jet lag has pretty much settled down and we are ready to get back to our regularly scheduled blogging.  Not only has blogging being a great way to keep our families and friends in the loop about what is going on in our lives but it has also turned into a journal for us and a way for us to look back and remember things that we would have already forgotten about.  Last year we were able to churn out about 3 posts a week, but with a new person entering our family, we are not sure how that will affect our blogging schedule. So we hope you have low expectations for us as we get used to our new roles in life as Mom and Dad!

A Visit to a Sri Lankan Turtle Conservation Project

Last December when we were in Sri Lanka on vacation, we were able to visit the Coast Guard Turtle Conservation Project near Mirissa Beach.  It was a quick stop as we were traveling along the southern coast of Sri Lanka from Unawatuna to Mirissa.  It was such a cool experience to see such a variety of sea turtles up close.  We got some pretty cool pictures, that we would love to share with you.

Before the pictures though, a little bit more about the Coast Guard Turtle Conservation Project.  The project was launched in September 2012 with the purpose of preserving and raising the awareness of sea turtle conservation.  Apparently there are 8 different kinds of sea turtles, and  Sri Lanka is home to five of the eight species, including: Green Turtles, Leatherbacks, Olive Ridleys, Hawksbills and Loggerheads.  All five types regularly visit the sandy beaches near Mirissa Beach to lay their eggs and build their nests.  Once the eggs are laid, the Coast Guard moves them to a safer area so that predators (especially humans) don’t get their hands on them.  Apparently, over 800 eggs are buried at the site of the hatchery! Once the eggs do hatch, the Coast Guard then releases them back into the sea.  They also house a couple of older sea turtles that have been injured and wouldn’t be able to survive back in the sea.

Here’s a few of my favorite pics:

This is a picture of one of the hatcheries.  They put little signs by each set of eggs to keep them organized.

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Here’s a closer look at the signs in the hatchery.  You can see that it is not uncommon for a sea turtle to lay over 100 eggs at a time!

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Once they hatch, they look like this:

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Here’s another fun picture with the little sea turtle lifting his head out of the water to check us out!  They were so tiny and a ton of fun to watch while they were swimming around.  I could watch them swim around for hours!

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Here is an adult sea turtle who is missing one of this front flappers.

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Another injured adult sea turtle:

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I really like this super close up pic of this turtle!

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Here are a few fun facts that I learned about sea turtles during our visit:

  • Out of every 1,000 eggs that are laid, it’s believed that only 1 of them will grow into a mature, adult sea turtle.
  • Female turtles could lay eggs up to 5 times a season.
  • Adult female turtles are believed to lay their eggs on the same beach where they were hatched when they were a baby.
  • About 80-120 eggs are typically laid on each nest.

We were hoping to do some volunteering with the Conservation Project during our visit, however volunteers were not needed during our time at Mirissa Beach.  It was still super fun place to visit and we highly recommend that people check it out during their next trip to Sri Lanka.  It is an excellent place to witness such amazing sea creatures!

 

Sneak Peek: Our Adventures in Jordan

We had a blast last week during our Spring Break trip to Jordan.  It was a week jam packed of adventures, memories, and laughter that we will never forget.  Here is a little insight into our trip: When we proposed the idea to my parents of taking a trip to Jordan, I think one of the first things they said was, “where is Jordan?”  Many people, especially Westerners, haven’t even heard of it before.  If you look closely at the map, it is a little country tucked in between Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  It was never really high on our list of “Countries To See,”  until we moved here to the Middle East.  So many of our friends here have been, and highly recommended it!

Map courtesy of google.com

Here is a little bit of a closer view.  The capital of Jordan is Amman, in the northern part of the country.  A majority of the population lives along the west side of the country, from Amman south towards the Red Sea.

Map courtesy of google.com

Jordan is a Muslim country, however it is not as conservative as Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.  Also, unlike their neighbors, Jordan has no significant petroleum resources of its own, so it is not as wealthy as some of the other Middle Eastern countries.  Their country relies heavily on tourism, which has taken a major hit the last few years because of what we call the “CNN Effect.”  Everyone in North America who turns on their favorite cable TV news channel, will hear nothing but negative things about the Middle East and the instability because of the emergence of ISIS.  I will be clear, not one time did I ever feel unsafe in Jordan!  It is a beautiful country and everyone was so friendly!

Map courtesy of google.com

Based on our research, we decided that renting a car was going to be our best bet for our trip.  We had so many places that we wanted to visit, and relying on public transportation and timelines was not going to work for us.  We read online that the driving in Jordan can be scary, however I would consider it super calm based on what we encounter on a daily basis in Kuwait! Below is a map of the route we took.  We flew into the capital city of Amman, then headed south towards the Dead Sea.  After one night there, we continued south along the Israeli border to the resort town of Aqaba, located on the Red Sea.  We spent two nights there, before we started our trek north to the Wadi Rum Desert for two nights of camping.  We then headed to Jordan’s crown jewel . . . . . Petra!  We spent two nights in this ancient city exploring one of the 7 wonders of the world, before we headed back to Amman to fly out.

Map courtesy of google.com

Our first stop in Jordan was at the Dead Sea.  Here are a couple of fun facts about the Dead Sea, courtesy of wikipedia.com:

  • The surface and shores of the Dead Sea are 1,407 feet BELOW sea level, making it Earth’s lowest elevation on land.
  • It is 997 feet deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world.
  • In 2011 the salinity was measured at 34.2%, making it one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water.  It is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean.
  • Its high levels of salinity make for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name: the Dead Sea.

The cool thing about the high levels of salt, is that you float on the surface!  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a sinker, I cannot swim nor float!  So I thought it was super cool when I walked in, and just started bobbing on the surface of the water.  Here is a picture of me standing like a pencil, and just floating there without any effort.  It was a super cool experience, that I recommend to everyone.

Dead Sea

Me standing upright, FLOATING in the Dead Sea.

Before we headed to our next destination, we stopped at the site along the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John 2,000 years ago.  For so many years it was a lost site, until recently it was discovered, authenticated, and now visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world.

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Rachel and I at the baptism site of Jesus.

After our time around the area of the Dead Sea, we headed south to Aqaba.  We drove along the Israeli border for about 3 hours until we reached our destination.  Aqaba is located on the point of the “right fork” of the Red Sea.  We stayed in a beautiful resort area called Tala Bay.  I highly recommend this place!  We rented a condo on the beach, and had  a relaxing couple of days.

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After a few relaxing days at the beach, it was time to kick our vacation into high gear.  We headed north to the Wadi Rum Desert, where we witnessed some of the most incredible views I have ever seen!  It is a fairly flat desert with red sand, and gigantic rock formations scattered around hundreds of square miles.  We spent a day and a half cruising around the desert and hiking through some slot canyons, to a natural water spring, and to the top of a few arches.  We had a great time camping in the desert and playing in one of the coolest “sand boxes” in the world!

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A picture I snapped during one of our hikes. It is a good view of how flat the desert ground is, yet huge mountains protruding from the ground.

The last stop on our adventure through Jordan was at Petra, which is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.  We spent two nights there and a day and a half hiking and exploring this ancient city, that dates back to as early as 300 BC.  The first day there, we did the Petra by Night tour, where you could hike the path in, which was lit by hundreds of candle luminaries.  The next day, we spent about 8 hours hiking around and visiting the tombs, caves, and of course the infamous Treasury and Monastery.  Petra was my favorite part of the trip!  It is absolutely incredible how they were able to carve such magnificent structures into the sides of mountains.  It is estimated that approximately 20,000 people lived in this ancient city at one time. Petra This is just a quick peek into our Jordanian adventures.  We have lots of photos and memories that we will share with everyone soon.  I definitely recommend everyone to add Jordan to your list of “Countries to Visit.”

The Camel Ride from Hell

**Warning this post is going to contain lots of fucking vulgar language.  Like . . . . . tons!  So to my mom, “I’m sorry.”  The events listed below were a traumatic experience for my friends and I, and swearing is the only way to effectively describe it.  We still laugh uncontrollably when we reminisce about this camel riding experience in Egypt.  Now, let’s fucking begin! (oh shit, there’s another curse word).

Before our recent trip to Egypt, I was reading online that you could take a camel ride through the desert around the Pyramids.  I thought to myself, “cool, what an awesome experience!”  Unfortunately our experience wasn’t awesome. Now that it’s over, it makes for a funny story though.

After a long day exploring around the Pyramids, which Rachel talked about HERE, we headed towards a viewing point.  This vantage point provided some awesome views of the pyramids.  We were able to take a few good pics with our friends Adam & Lauren there.

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It also provided a nice backdrop for Adam to take some great “jumping” pictures.  You know, the same ones that all of the super cheesy tourists take!

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After we snapped some pics, it was time to board our camels to take a stroll through the desert.  As we headed towards our camels, Rachel made it clear that she was not interested in riding another one, especially after her experience in Dubai (refresh your memory by reading about it HERE).  She hates the mistreatment of animals for the benefit of tourists.

As we were walking towards our camels, I’ll never forget Adam saying, “I hope I get Angry Arnold” with a laughter in his voice.  Famous.  Last.  Words.

We were all pretty excited as we hopped on our camels.

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Once we were all up on our camels, they tied them together in a line.  Lauren was first, I was next, then Adam was in the back.  We were led through the desert by an 18 year old kid, who was holding onto Lauren’s camel with one hand and a whip in his other.  Rachel hopped back in our minivan and drove back to the Pyramids, where we had planned to meet her in about 30 minutes.

If you have never been on a camel, it is actually pretty tricky to ride.  There isn’t a saddle to put your feet in to help balance, and it’s a really bumpy, uncomfortable ride.  However when you took a look around, and realized that you were in the middle of the desert, on camels, heading towards the Great Pyramids, you realize that this is a pretty sweet experience!

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Our camel ride was off to a great start!  We even stopped about half way and had our camel guy take a few pics for us!

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It was at this half-way point when things started to go sour with our ride.  Before our camel guy took our pictures, he wanted to line them up just perfectly with the Pyramids in the background.  In order to accomplish this, much to our disgust, he began whipping the crap out of them until they were just perfect.  We all looked at each other with wide eyes, and gave the look of, “what the hell is this guy doing!”  The camels did not appreciate the whipping either, and were making goofy sounds and started acting strange.  We immediately interjected, because we couldn’t handle witnessing this abuse any longer!

After a few pictures, we resumed our trek towards the Pyramids.  Suddenly I noticed that Adam’s camel was biting the thick-burlap blanket on MY camel!  I’m sure he was getting a little piece of my camel’s skin each time too, because I could tell my camel was starting to get pissed off.

Here’s Adam’s camel: Angry Arnold which started all of the ruckus!

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After my camel was bitten a few times in the ass, he had a major meltdown!  Out of nowhere, he put his head down, leaned forward, and bit Lauren’s camel right in the thigh!  AND DIDN’T LET GO!!!!!!!!!

LET THE CHAOS ENSUE!

  • Lauren’s camel begin moaning and making some of the most awful sounds I’ve ever heard come from a living creature.
  • I started yelling at my camel and kicking him in the neck so he would let go of Lauren’s camel’s leg
  • Lauren’s camel started to kneel down in pain, spin around, and looked like he was going to toss Lauren off.
  • Then, the camel guy started whipping the crap out of HER camel for not standing up, even though MINE was still biting hers!
  • All of a sudden I heard Lauren yell, “OWW!”
  • Adam and I started yelling to Lauren, “get down, jump, get the hell out of there!”  I think we both knew that she was about to get bucked off and go flying through the air at any second.
  • The camel dude finally realized that my camel was the one being the asshole, and started whipping my camel, so he would let go.
  • Lauren took a leap of faith and jumped off her camel.  I think she started running away before her feet even hit the ground!
  • Adam immediately jumped off his camel to check on Lauren.  Keep in mind that the top of a camel’s back is 7 feet off the ground!  He was flying through the air like a ninja warrior!
  • My camel finally let go, and all three of these ugly creatures were just standing there in the middle of the desert.  I was the only one still on their camel.  Lauren’s had blood gushing down his leg!
  • The camel guy, in broken english, kept saying, “it’s ok, get on” to Lauren and Adam.  They basically told the guy to get bent, and that there was no way that they were getting back on.
  • That’s when I decided, “fuck this,” I’m outta here!  I asked the guy as politely as possible to please let me down.  After pleading a few times, I quickly realized that he wasn’t going to let me down.  Then Adam, being the great friend that he is, marched over and repeatedly told the guy to, “get him the fuck down!”  The guy didn’t know much english, so Adam was nice of enough to say it multiple times, in a louder voice, and pointing his finger!  It was a little dose of Good Cop/Bad Cop.  Soon I realized the guy was not going to get me down, so like Adam did earlier . . . . I busted out my own ninja move and jumped off my own 7 foot tall camel!

All of this happened in less than a minute, but it was like slow motion.  As soon as I jumped off, we all decided to abandon our camel ride experience, and just start walking away.  So the three of us began trekking through the desert towards where we were going to meet up with Rachel.  We laughed the whole way back, reminiscing about what we were now calling our “near death experience.”

Rachel soon saw us walking over the horizon and greeted us with a, “What the heck happened?  Where are the camels?”  I just smiled at her and said, “you were right!”

**Remember when Lauren yelled, “OWW!” when she was on her camel?  It’s because she got whacked in the back with the camel dude’s whip!!!  She had a pretty wicked bruise to remind us of our “near death experience!”