Jul 11, 2017

Los Angeles and Acting School?




I have been really throwing myself around lately, trying to figure out what to do with myself. Each birthday that passes it gets a little more shameful that I have no clue what direction to go, because I'm supposed to be all grown up now, right?

I have travelled the world and lost the inclination to be a responsible adult, growing my desire to learn and feed my curiosity.  I can't seem to sit still, but I know I have to.

I decided to finally push forward and book an audit in some acting classes at a school in LA, and really I was going there for a party but that was just the excuse...  I booked my flight, and contacted as many of my American friends as humanly possible to try and make it the most fulfilling 10 days possible... I was going to LA for 10 days and it was going to be AMAZING.

I have to admit, in that time, I did consume a lot of alcohol. I also learned that LA is just a really big Vancouver... full of wannabe artists/actors, people who really don't care who you are but they care who you know.  Flaky fuckers who can't seem to hold down plans, and cancel or ghost you on the regular.  In Vancouver, it's called "getting vancouver'd" but in LA, it's just normal.  You obviously don't have important enough celebrity friends to be able to make that lunch date.
It really doesn't matter who you are. Unless you are SOMEBODY. Or you KNOW someone... But that IMDb number had better be in the top 5000, or else "sorry I fell asleep" will be the most common response you hear!

I guess I really didn't have any expectations, but the shallowness of the people I encountered was mind boggling. I cannot stand people who start a conversation with "so, who ARE you? Or who do you know?" I try to ignore the nice ones who instinctively comment on "so I went for lunch with Mel Gibson the other day" knowing that they aren't name dropping and arrogant by nature, but simply because the Los Angeles culture forces them to be that way. I've never been the kind of girl who gushes in awe when someone drops a name... So I smile politely and say "that's nice" and try to get the conversation back onto the topic of lunch and their trip to Hawaii.

I can't help but silently tell myself "sheesh, if only they knew."  I subconsciously start counting how many people I have seen naked and wonder how many IMDb stars they'd be worth... shake my head and laugh to myself, knowing that the day I die and my journals are released to the public, man it sure will be a good story.  I reminisce on some of the good memories, some of the naughty ones.  And then I wonder once again how people can be so obsessed and insistent on letting you know how they're friends with the cousin of Nicolas Cage or they met someone one time at a lineup at starbucks... cuz really, who cares? How is that affecting you and I right now, in the moment we have?  I just want to enjoy a nice glass of prosecco and people watch, fantasize, and dream about the things I want to do this summer...

But this is LA. That's how it goes.  If I do end up going to school here, or spending any amount of time here, I sure will have to learn patience and to bite my tongue. I can imagine it would be relatively easy to be dragged down into the celeb gossip pool.  I guess I've never really been interested in the private lives of people I don't know (or don't care to know...)

Now I'm having those dreams. Those desperate housewife dreams.  Am I gonna end up like that?  I just wanted to learn the craft, and to tell a story... I have bigger and better things to do than boast about my car and jewels ... sigh ...
But you know, a sugar daddy WOULD be nice...

I had a blast in LA.  I did spend WAY too much time alone, and getting annoyed by Tinder men.  The speed in which men send dick pics in the USA is astounding compared to back home, where people usually have to be drunk to disgust/shock/sexually assault the eyes of strange young women.

So I'm going back to LA, you know. I already booked my flight.

I have no idea what I'm doing, and don't really know why.  But there is a light that is catching my eye and that fire burning in my soul, since I've already done the Vancouver thing, LA is the next best method of self-torture.  Why not!  Wish me luck...


May 3, 2017

My 8 day detox at Chivasuka Resort - Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, Thailand

My 8 day detox at Chivasuka Resort - Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, Thailand

I’ve been traveling now since December 11th, 2016. It’s the end of April 2017 and my body is tired. I spent each month consuming more alcohol, more cigarettes, and eating whatever I saw and felt like. You can imagine the amount of sugar, fat, and toxins was pretty intense. My kidneys actually got pretty mad at me in March when I went to Spain for a week, I spent 3 days doubled over in pain and drinking water by the gallon. I was grateful that the pain subsided, but kept on drinking like a fool. 

When I flew to Thailand I knew I had to find a retreat. I needed a good solid detox… we’re talking colon cleansing, juicing, fasting, and meditation. Yoga and massages… the works.
I found Chivasuka after weeks of googling, and it is one of the affordable places in Northern Thailand.  7 nights/8 days cost me 845$ US (it’s 3300 baht per night at the current exchange rate), this was all inclusive for all my food/juicing, daily yoga, personalized care, and a really sweet chalet overlooking the valley.
The resort is quite small so I imagine you have to book ahead of time as I only noticed 2 functioning chalets for guests (meaning maximum 2 parties per stay), but the attention you get here is astounding!

They offer pick up from Chiang Mai but I came on my own so was given a slight discount on my extra night (normal week fast is 7 days/6 nights, but I knew I”d need an extra day to break the fast or I might jump right back on the alcohol bandwagon).

The place wasn’t easy to find with the directions I got and lack of signage, but this will be corrected in the future as I was sure to give a google maps pin and photo screenshot of the exact location of the resort, which is right off the 3052 (a roundabout loop from the main hi way through MaeTamann, a village I spent nearly 3 winters living with elephants).

The dutch couple offer raw food/vegan/juicing/smoothies according to your personal detox/refresh/desires… There is no smoking whatsoever on the property, so be prepared. Even though I’ve been a heavy smoker I haven’t felt strong cravings and my secret sneaking away for a puff moments have been very infrequent, to the point I”m confident I can quit smoking altogether.

Karin and Jan are the lovely owners, Karin being the nutrition and health specialist (and yoga instructor) and her husband is the very talented chef that can make even juicing feel like a 5 star meal!
I was greeted with love and smiles and a fresh, cold, coconut. After my long journey from the mountains I was in desperate need of a shower, and when I saw my GORGEOUS OMFG AMAZING VILLA HOLY CRAP THIS IS ALL FOR ME????? - I was thrilled!  Huge chalet overlooking the valley with a terrace that wraps around the entire building, 2 lounge chairs with privacy blinds (which you really don’t need), a hammock, fan above, outdoor “kitchen” where you can make your own tea or store drinks in the fridge. The room is “Feng Shue” keeping everything in front of your bed open and clean, with the choice of curtains or windows to see the amazing view. Nature at it’s finest… There is air con or a fan, your choice, lots of outlets for your charging needs, and the his & hers bathroom coms equipped with robes/towels/amenities and has a separate (hot) shower and toilet.
Now coming by myself I actually was a little sad, this is the perfect place for a couple or 2 best friends.
There was 2 swedish guys around 23 who decided to partake in the amazing health journey and  so our time was very intimate. The schedule was very specific, but so flexible. They are here for YOU… and YOUR journey.  

I chose to jump right in for the intense juicing fast, but your program depends on your level of experience/health etc, so don’t fear! They have the option to just enjoy raw food vegan cooking if you want to skip the fasting.

My detox program was as follows:
7:30am the lovely chef brings a shot of parasite killer & “lemonade” to kickstart the metabolism.
8:00am comes the green juice.
9:00am is breakfast! Which is either a smoothie (likely muesli and yogurt or juice with fruit - always creative with the chef! He’s really amazing.)
11:00am your choice of “detox coffee” which is likely nut milk chai, or “hot chocolate”, but no coffee as you should avoid caffeine while cleansing…
1:00pm LUNCH! More juice. Sometimes green, sometimes fruit, always hearty and delicious.
4:00pm Yoga - this is OPTIONAL of course, but Karin is great, a lot of fun, and yoga is a great way to get things moving through your body. (toxins etc.)
6:30pm “happy hour” - a nice big drink of kombucha in a wine glass ;-) definitely need the probiotics!
7:00pm - dinner! Always classy.

Here you are getting 24/h attention and care… if you’re hungry or not feeling it, just let them know and they will make sure your experience is as tolerable as possible! Jan is an amazing cook and REALLY puts a lot of love and passion into meals, so even when juicing he’s there trying to make sure you get all the flavours and the feel of a real meal.

Unlimited water and tea, but no sugar. For me I was struggling, as I am a HUGE sugar addict. Karin took pity on me and gave me a dose of stevia to add to me tea! Thank you!! 

Even though I jumped right into the juicing without going raw food for a couple days, I didn't really suffer too much. I haven't been overeating (thanks to my overdrinking) so my biggest challenges were smoking and sugar... but AMAZINGLY I didn't crave cigarettes at all!

I had a couple of moments that popped up over the first few days, but by day 5 I was smoke free and doing just fine! It helped that there was no smoking anywhere near the property...

The juices, smoothies, and raw food dishes were all made and served with extra love and a lot of pizzaz. The presentation was spectacular, and Jan made sure to have everything presented without the feel of "just juice", whether it was cognac glasses or beautiful bowls, shot glasses of flavour, etc, we always had amazing meals and never went hungry.

 My hardest battle was sugar. I craved (and still crave) sugar.. constantly... It comes in waves, but it's definitely something I will be fighting long after I leave this place.
Day 5 was really a turning point for me. I lost cravings, gained a new found energy, my mind was buzzing with ideas and I was constantly excited and productive!
I read 3.3 books in the 8 days I was there. I haven't even finished ONE book since I left Canada 4 months ago, so this is a big deal!  I wrote A LOT. I made notes, found recipes online, wrote motivators and inspiration to continue my healthy lifestyle when I move on with my life.

My pH levels went into alkaline right around day 5, but I stayed neutral mostly from day 3-8. If I drank white tea (with caffeine) my acidity would rise, but for the most part I was golden.

These guys make EVERYTHING in their giant and beautiful kitchen. They have a 9 tray excalibur dehydrator, 2 blenders, juicers, food slicers and dicers... They make their own yogurt, kombucha, you name it! It's pretty spectacular!
Jan was a master chef throughout the week, ensuring that we never went hungry and even while juicing everything was served in beautiful dishware, or presented like a proper meal.  I always felt like I was being well fed, and I never went hungry!
I'm actually surprised how easy it was for me. I didn't even lose any weight! The sugar detox was a bit intense, but with the daily enemas (I shifted between coffee and garlic) and the plethora of nutrients I probably could have done a second week easily.  It's something to consider :)

The chalet was absolute gorgeous, as well. A big bed in the centre of the room overlooking the valley, the windows wrapped around the whole front half of the chalet. There was 2 lounge chairs on the balcony, and a hammock which I sat in every single day and read.
I managed to read THREE WHOLE BOOKS during my time. I intentionally disabled my social media to avoid distraction, and focused on my health.
I did a lot of journaling as well. It was such a wonderful experience, I wish I didn't have to leave!
At 105$ US (or 3500 baht) per night (this is your accommodations and food, consulting with Karin the registered RHN, daily yoga, enema kit, vitamins, shampoo etc, free laundering upon request, candles, sauna in your room with herbs, and basically all you can eat raw food/juice/smoothies, shuttle to and from Chiang Mai.) this is the best rate you will find in Northern Thailand, and worth every penny.

It was hard to leave, but they supplied me with a last meal, snack to go, fresh made herbs, and hugs!

I am maintaining my vegetarian diet (I am naturally pescatarian, meaning I eat seafood, but I've decided to try and stick to vegetarian. I'm not ready to cut dairy and eggs, however, but I will try to eat as mych raw as I can!)

I would like to add some more details about my journey, but this is a good start. I'll add photos later on as well!

Feb 12, 2017

My first time in Egypt: The Gong Show.

My first time in Egypt:

DAY 1 - ADVENTURE!!!

So Doger and I are off to Egypt, I’ve brought all his documents, called the airline ahead to make sure he gets on.  Most airlines are starting to recognize therapy/psych support animals (PTSD) as service animals, so this waives the fee for pet in cabin and pretty much guarantees your pooch a spot at your feet :)

We checked in nice and early from Milan Malpensa, they thoroughly checked my documents including his passport (the one I made and will soon be distributing) before letting me go.  This was the most he was checked for the remainder of our adventure. 


I went through Italian customs and was a little surprised to have the customs officer asking me loads of questions; what did I do in Italy, what am I doing in Egypt, how did I learn to speak Italian, what do I do for work, how I spoke so well, then I realized - he was flirting with me!  THIS was a first. Customs in any country is usually very serious, I’ve never had this happen… so I'm blushing and trying to be sincere but also slightly nervous because I often come back and forth through Italy so I don't want any trouble with immigration, and then I realized HE WAS HITTING ON ME.  He had asked me to come around to the back to see the rest of me... he was CHECKING ME OUT. he even had his friend take a look!  I blushed and laughed as I clumsily exited the customs stand and wandered to my gate...

So I was booked on Egypt air, and I was travelling with my dog. I had flown once with this airline before and it wasn't too easy, but this time everything went smoothly. I boarded the flight to Cairo without a hitch, and had the seat next to me open for comfort (thank you Egypt Air!) 

now, normally I pre-order a vegetarian meal. I'll tell you why EVERYONE SHOULD DO THIS before I go on:
BECAUSE YOU GET FED FIRST.  Doesn't matter what your meal preference is, if you don't have any dietary concerns, just order kosher or low sodium, you still get fed first and that's AWESOME!
Secondly, if they have any leftover meals, you will have finished by the time they go past so you can ASK FOR MORE FOOD!  Do it. I do it all the time. Yes, I like airplane food! 

Anyhow I had forgotten about my vegetarian meal so I was watching them hand out the special meals and this flight attendant caught my eye, I was slightly confused about his reaction and also he was in the other row, but I had the idea he was asking if I wanted to eat... Did I fall asleep? Did you have to ask for food? Anyways, lots of back and forth hand signals and eye movements, and I gave up and just waited. I did get a meal, and I had to ask for a vegetarian option but the hostess was gracious and gave me one of the crew meals YAY THANK GOODNESS and then that guy kept eye googling me!  Finally he came up with two cups of juice and said "here, special for you, juice." and then proceeded to tell me that he had to see me, and I should stay with him one night in Cairo. Thanks, Mohammed, for the awkwardness.
But guess what, it didn't end there!  THE WHOLE FLIGHT he kept staring at me from across the aisles and tried to find excuses to come and talk to me (and by talk, I mean beg me to stay in Cairo with him.)  Now this guy is what, 30-35 years old, has a belly, and is so aggressive...  and he doesn't even know me and I don't know him, but he's insistent that he's in love with me and it's my fault cuz "my eyes."  
He was GRABBING MY HAND. Kissing my hand. Sitting in the empty seat beside me.
I asked Mohammed "isn't this behaviour going to get you in trouble? Shouldn't you be working?" followed by a desperate plea; "BEHAVE!" and I'm sitting here laughing out of sheer embarrassment as the surrounding passengers are getting a kick out of this primal attempted-mating display, and finally I asked "how long have you been working for this airline, exactly??" 
Oh, only 13 motherfucking years...
*gasp*.

Never in my entire life have I seen this kind of behavior from flight crew. Pilots off-duty Ok, I get it, but this??? This dude's #1 job is SAFETY and all he can think about is getting his dick wet.
I smell a pink slip....

SO needless to say, after getting his number, I finally escaped, never to call him or see him again (thank GOD)...  For my domestic flight to Hurghada. Now I am a bit in panic, because I only have 40 minutes to hit customs and get to the next flight, WITH A DOG. Shit.  Now I do what I usually do, stick him in the bag and RUN TO THE PASSPORT CONTROL and figure I won't say anything if I can avoid it, so I make this flight (late night...)
I get to the place - down to 30 minutes... and I need to GET A VISA FIRST.... all these signs saying VISA ON ARRIVAL GO TO NEAREST BANK. WTF?
You actually have to GO TO A BANK and PAY FOR YOUR VISA. 25$ US AND THEY DO NOT TAKE CARDS.  Mother fuckers want US dollars, direct me to the ATM, but it only dispenses local currency. I figured it was less so I took out 100 Egyptian Pounds, turns out that's 1/4 of what I acutally need. But why the fuck would he tell me local price for a visa when he can tell me AFTER I waited in line for the ATM? I run back, waiting again, get the money, run to the bank...
I have already at this point begged the staff to inform the plane I AM ON MY WAY... 20 minutes to takeoff...
Pay for my VISA. Now the airport staff is rushing me through passport control and the security screening, pulling doger out for the xray of his bag and nobody says a word (good news) I proceed to RUN TO THE PLANE.

I get there, and NOBODY IS BOARDING. There's just a long ass line... I could have had a smoke, fuck man.

Anyways, I get to Hurghada and go to pick up my bag, now they tell me I have to talk to customs with my luggage for screening! AH SHIT. Here's where they'll ask for the paperwork for Doger.... I prepare myself, and walk towars those doors at 1:00 in the morning...
The guy looks at me, and loos at my bags, and says "what's in the bag." 
"Oh, that's my DOG."
"Oh. Ok. No no, I don't want to see. What is in your SUITCASE?"
"Oh! My suitcase? Clothes?"
"Ok thank you bye."

Egyptian customs ... don't care about dogs. cool beans.


SO my host is waiting for me outside the airport, thankfully there is wifi so I shot a message on What's app, he kindly takes me to the car and greets Doger (somewhat awkwardly - I learn this is common in Egypt. People love dogs, but do not touch them.) and I jump in the car to go see my accommodations.
Which, I might add, were acquired only 1 hour prior to my arrival...

A nice GIANT villa which will be hosting a group of 4-5 people, they had put a deposit for 1 month, but it's not like a hotel. It's just, a privately owned, old, and somewhat run-down villa which is in desperate need of a cleaning.

No toilet paper, no towels or clothes, kitchen has a couple forks, one glass one mug, and a few plates... NO dish towels, no clothes, no SOAP.  gross.

ANYWAYS - at this point I don't care, I am hungry and want to settle in.
We head out into the night and Hurghada is far from asleep at 1:00am! We drive through the bustling city to find some good streetfood/seafood...  I LOVE eating streetfood! It's gross and delicious and gets you immersed into the place, but I do not recommend for anyone who has a weak stomach ...
My host is reaching into a zippered pouch attached to the shade above the drivers side, and I kept thinking "is it safe to keep cash in the car?" I am slightly paranoid, especially after living in Vancouver, but he doesn't seem rattled. He does lock the car every time we exit, even if only a door down, but the stack of cash stays in the car.
Egypt is safe, he assures me.

so I chose to get grilled prawns, the BIG ONES omg I love them ... Egyptian style (some interesting spices used, and they ended up being overcooked, but they were AMAZING at the time.) and my host chose some fish (which I thought tasted like kerosene from the grill but I discovered that ALL grilled fish tastes like that here, so I don't like it at all...) and we picked up some veggies & fruit from the stand, then popped over to another store to buy some beer and wine for the meal!  We were ready.

On our way back to Villa #1, my host was reaching for his phone when the asshole in front of us CUT US OFF IN A ROUNDABOUT (left turn when he was in the right lane) - because of that idiot, and the one on his phone (DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE PEOPLE JESUS WILL YOU EVER LEARN) we HIT THE FUCKER.  Rear ended him! Spilled everything everywhere, but no broken bottles thank GOD, and nobody got hurt. We stopped, put the 4-way flashers on, and THE GUY DROVE AWAY!!!! WTF????  If you rear-end someone in Canada, you're 100% at fault no matter what the reason.  And this idiot runs off? Was he afraid to get in trouble for pulling that stunt?  Maybe... 

So welcome to Egypt. First experience in a hit and run accident.  Car has a new tattoo... Host doesn't care, we're ready to eat and drink! LET'S GO!!!
We make it back, park the car, and go to prepare our dinner at 2:00 in the morning.
I washed off some tomatoes and cucumbers, cut them and served them with a little salt. Big bowl for the prawns, and plate for the fish.. and YUMMMMMMM eat!
We cracked a couple beers and just chatted, talked about the things we wanted to do etc.
I am pretty sure we were up until 6am... I wanted to swim in the pool (yea, the villa had a pool!) But it was filthy, the "house guys" who lived in the back yard promised to have everything cleaned in the morning.

DAY 2:
I dragged myself out of bed and happily got ready, of course had to borrow a towel because there were none in the villa, but showered and got ready with what I had.

I went up to the top for a nice view, and really noticed the layer of dust covering every inch of the place. "hope they clean this thoroughly," I thought. I took a photo of the view, and realized just how dirty our place was... the pool hadn't been touched. Wasn't it afternoon, now? I guess I'm not swimming...
My host got up and had to leave for a meeting, so I dedided to relax in the sun and write, or play on my computer, no worries.  He promptly came back into the house and said "come here, look at this surprise..."

I walked out to the car, and the rear driver window had been smashed. everything was strewn about. The car was broken into! My host was in shock, he swore that never happened before, and it was a safe place... but because of his trust, ALL HIS MONEY WAS STOLEN. Why do people carry cash, anyways? It's always a bad idea.
This was the very beginning... of my "worst vacation ever..."

I spent the following 10 hours sitting in the car. waiting. Because of this we decided it was a good idea to change accommodations, and he suspected that it could have been the keepers that broke in, so since they didn't do their job (to protect us and to actually clean the damn house) we spent the next 4 hours looking for another place. I found a great one on air bnb, but my host was insistant on going to another villa he found before. we went to check it out and did a lot of back and forth... that day was cleaning the car, fixing the window, packing our bags, trying to get a deposit back from the other villa, ugh... what a stressful day! End of the day the police were out in full force as it turned out the thief had broken into 12 cars the same day. 

We ended up moving into Villa #2 (which was much cleaner, had a gated parking spot, and a nice clean pool) by around midnight.  The villa was quite cold, so I cranked the heat and wrapped myself i a big furry blanket. I had packed for temperatures of 20-26 degrees Celcius, but the average temperatures were 15-20. I WAS FREEZING! Plus the villa was concrete, so extra cold. And the winds were cold.  My bad, though. Poor planning on my part! So I threw on some pants. When we came back to Villa #2 to make a deal and collect the keys, the owners "forgot to mention" they needed a MARRIAGE CONTRACT (Because I'm a foreigner and a woman.) in order to go ahead with the rental. THANKS FOR TELLING US BEFORE WHEN I TURNED DOWN AN AMAZING AIR BNB! We decided to stay one night then try again to find a new place tomorrow.
THEN we grabbed a bite to eat, and went back to sleep. I was so exhausted I put on my meditations and passed right out.

DAY 3: Next morning I booked a room at the Hilton (because after HOURS OF SEARCHING we couldn't find pet friendly, and remember I have Doger.) so we booked 2 rooms at the Hilton for 2 nights, then we would go to Cairo after that. We have now wasted 3 days. The desert safari and day on the island (beach day) are still waiting, but the temperatures are dropping and all activities are looking less and less likely...  We checked into the Hilton and FINALLY I GOT TO UNPACK. Keep in mind, this is day 3, location #3! It was too late to do anything, so we went to eat food then decided to go out to a club. We had planned to take the boat at 9am so I told my host "please we need to be back early or I won't be able to wake up"... instead, my host got white girl wasted and we didn't get back until 4-5am. After I turned down his drunken advances, he angrily stormed off to mope about his rejection while I once again, put on my meditations and slept.  I woke up at 11am, sad that I missed breakfast and the opportunity to go to the island, but I thought "screw it, there is a pool, maybe I can hang out in the sun here away from the wind?" I went to wake up my host, he was completely passed out.
I left him alone to sleep and waited until about 2pm before I tried again.  I asked if we could go eat, as I had been waiting already for a while, and my belly was STARVING...
We got dressed and went out to eat.  
I'll admit, while the itinerary and accommodations were not a great experience, I did enjoy the food in Egypt! Especially the prawns.  Mmmm.

So day 4 was a write off.... Let's try for day 5, shall we?
It turned out that it was too windy for a desert safari, so we decided to extend our trip by another day. My host was freaking out about the budget, having lots a good chunk to 2 failed villas, and now had to pay for 2 hotel rooms (which cost more individually) AND the 25 USD daily PET FEE (service animals NOT exempt, thanks, Hilton!) was breaking the bank.
We had to move, again.  FML.
This time, he said we would get up early and go to an apartment his cousin had found for him. We would get the numer at 10am...

So we woke up, checked out, and waited.  Again. In the car, with our luggage... for 5 hours... before we heard from our contact about the apartment.

There goes THAT day... moved in around 6-7pm, day 5 location #4.
We decided to get the jungle safari done the next day... FINALLY! Something touristy!

After all that time, my trip more than half finished, I was excited to DO SOMETHING!

We woke up bright and early to go on our adventure! They picked us up and took us out to the desert... It was a long and bumpy ride, but I was primed and ready to go!  First we were going to ride ATV's through the sand dunes... I've seen pictures and it sounded awesome!  We had a group of 6 with us, some muslim ladies and a polish mom and her little kid. I wondered if the kid would hold us back....  I guess we'll see.
We arrived after a good hour of driving to a giant ATV place... there were several shops/companies that had TONS of quads... some people were driving down courses with rubber tires, like go karts.  We went to wrap our heads in the typical way to protect ourselves from the sand and sun, and boarded our ATV's. The tour was 100% in arabic. I didn't understand a word. We got out on the ATVs and I was under the impression we had to drive in a line so they could determine our abilities and comfort on the quad, before doing anything fun.
I was mistaken.
We drove in a line, for half an hour, not faster than the slowest person, and got in shit if we went out of the line.
Well, it was kind of fun for the first minute, anyways...

Next, another hour drive into the desert. I think they normally get you to drive the ATV into the desert for a couple hours, but because it would be dark, they took us in the van. (I think it would have been way more fun to take the quads, oh well...)
We arrived at a little spot for tea and bread, then went to ride camels... YAY!  CAMELS!

I was SOOOOO looking forward to this! Like, the number one thing I wanted to do next to see the pyramids, was ride a camel! I wanted to pet them, see how they behaved, play with them... and ride along the sand hills ON A MOTHAFUCKIN CAMEL! OOOOH YEA!

There was a huge crowd of people at this point, about 50.  There were 4 camels.

We stood in line for a while, and then eventually, climbed onto the camel, walked about 20 feet, turned around, walked back, and got off the camel.
THAT WAS IT. 2 minutes on a fuckin camel.
Sheesh.

We saw an "authentic village" in the desert (right next to the stages set up for tourists), where they made pita's on the fire, used desert dried things for hygiene and health, and didn't have electricity (except for the tourists) so they slept when the sun went down.

After that we skipped off to ride something called "spider cars" which was kind of like a shitty golf cart, same rules as the quads. Straight line, follow the leader.. Still kind of fun :)
We finished our circle and hopped off to walk back towards the stage/food area.
We then walked through the "snake pit", a mini zoo like terrarrium set up of a few reptiles, one cobra, and then... dinner!
The dinner show was mediocre at best.
Waited again to line up for the buffet. Fresh salad, the dressing ran out quickly... Mushy pasta, a couple sausages, rice, and an orange for desert. Yum!
(not really, though.)

The show started with a guy who laid on pins and swallowed a sword, it was so damn cold I hid in the corner (didn't really see it) but then there was a little boy dancing in a dress thing with plates so I watched that little bit of culture, after was the belly dancer (yay! I haven't seen one since I have been here!) and out came a petite lady, wearing a plain black dress, and her moves were not as good as my own mother who took a couple classes 20 years ago. She danced for a couple songs, facing mostly the camera's (for the video taken for the tourists...)

After the "amazing show", we all got back in our vans to drive back through the desert at night... but not before we blew a tire in the middle of the cold desert! Yay! Thankfully it only took a half hour to fix as we all stood in the wind under the black sky and a few stars...

That was the highlight of my trip. That day. Best thing that happened.
Can you hear my enthusiasm from the other side of the screen?

Moving along... the next day we were going to CAIRO! Packed our stuff (again) and got into the car, but my host had been up until 4am stewing about something, the next morning he told me he had a meeting with something that was super important, so we couldn't go to Cairo.

We moved, instead, to apartment number (5?) whatever, ugh.  Spent another day in the car, before we went for food. I had camel, and it was delicious. I felt sick after I ate it. Probably because I don't eat meat... But I couldn't miss the chance!

So the last day I had, we ended up going to the island. I felt like it was the final apology attempt from Hurghada for ruining my entire vacation...
It was too cold for a bathing suit, and really windy, but I just hung out and drank beer and enjoyed the remaining sunshine (in my coat and scarf).
We also managed to buy a hookah for me, a travel sized one, so at least I had something to bring back for memories!

My last meal was seafood, a FEAST!  I had a very early flight, so I put myself to bed very early.  I woke up about 630 am, pretty much already packed (I had only upacked once on this entire journey) and went back to the airport.


LAST DAY the trip home:

When I went to the airport, similar to Chiang Mai, they had an xray at the door. THEY MADE ME PUT MY FUCKING DOG IN THERE.  WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!!!???
I checked in and planned to carry the hookah to prevent breakage, but THEY MADE ME CHECK IT.
Then, security check #2, THEY MADE ME PUT MY FUCKING DOG THROUGH AGAIN!!!!!
Fuck off, Hurghada!
I was sooooo pissed off by this point... In Cairo, my transfer was less than simple as they spent almost an hour confirming the documents for my dog.
I had to show the email confirmation, explain all the letters, etc, they made copies, and finally let me go.

At least my crazy flight attendant wasn't on board!

When I made it back to Italy, I sighed a huge relief as I walked through to without any issues.  Thank you, Italy!

Will I go back to Egypt? I think I have to, because after that terrible week, I really didn't have the ability to make a judgement call. I feel that I really saw the worst possible outcome, had the most difficulties, and really didn't see ANYTHING of the culture or tourism that gave a fair explanation of how thing should be.

I will probably update this article with photos and details on my food, because it was the most interesting and useful thing about my journey. I just really needed to vent! LOL