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Greetings from the Middle East |
In early December Lucky Lady Too and I departed Bucharest, Romania for Turkey and the Middle East. The Muslim holiday "Eid al Adha" began the day we landed in Istanbul,Turkey. Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice is the most important feast of the Muslim calendar. It concludes the Pilgrimmage to Mecca but is also observed by Muslims throughout the world to commemorate the faith of Abraham with the sacrifice of his son to God.
From Turkey΄s Roman ruins of Istanbul and Ephesus along the Aegean coast to touristy towns of Bodrum and Antalya then a hop around Cyprus to Lebanon and it΄s ruins of Baalbek and Byblos and Tripoli. The Aero Club of Lebanon in Beirut treated me like a celebrity with their warm hospitality. Then onto Jordan. I had a chance to visit with the Royal Jordanian Falcons, a national aerobatic demonstration team that is a joint military-civil venture. Jordan΄s ancient city of Petra, the site of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, Mt. Nemo, (where Moses saw the promised land), the Dead Sea and landing Lucky Lady Too in the desert on Wadi Rum were some of the highlights of this friendly country. We continued on to Egypt to land on the Sinai Pennisula ( where Moses received the Ten Commandments) then onto Luxor to see the Nile and the Valley of the Kings to do a Xmas morning ballon ride over the Valley of the Kings. Departing Luxor we headed across the Red Sea to stop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for two days. At the airport in Jeddah there is a separate terminal just for the Hajj, the pillgrimmage to Mecca. The last of the pilgrims were leaving when I arrived. There was a reported record number 5 million Muslims who came to Mecca from around the world this year. In Saudi Arabia the Christian cross is not allowed nor is alcohol. Avgas was priced at $20 per gallon but we were able to fill up with car gas at $2 per gallon. We departed across Saudi to Bahrain, the first Persian Gulf country to find oil back in 1932. Their first oil well gushed 400 barrels per hour. Bahrain, like Dubai is enlarging their country by creating new land from the ocean. Then onto Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I have never seen so many tower cranes working in a city in all my world travels. Dubai has a 7 star resort (and I thought 5 star was something), the worlds tallest building is being topped out and another mall just opened with 1,200 stores and an aquarium that rivals the best three scuba dives of my career without the temptation to pee in my wetsuit. Amazing is the word for Dubai.
Then onto Oman where the word WOW best describes this beautiful country. Lucky Lady Too and I ended our trip back in Dubai where she is parked awaiting my return.
This leg started out with a focus on old world antiquities (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia) and ended in the making of new world wonders (Bahrain, U.A.E., Oman). Contrary to what one might think, I never felt unsafe anywhere I traveled in the middle east.
A few photos of this last trip:
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