Coptic Cairo

After seeing the Egyptian Museum, we visited Coptic Cairo, “a stronghold for Christianity in Egypt until the Islamic era”. About 10% of Egypt’s population is Christian. “It is believed in Christian tradition that the Holy Family visited this area.” The above mosaic from the Hanging Church depicts the Holy Family in Egypt.

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Museum of Egyptian Antiquities

Interested in Egyptian antiquities, we started our Cairo visit at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Shown above, the pool outside the museum has lotus and papyrus, symbols of Egypt. From a Metropolitan Museum of Art article,

Due to its prevalence in the Nile Delta, the papyrus was the heraldic plant of Lower (northern) Egypt, while the lily or lotus stood for Upper (southern) Egypt. When shown wound around the hieroglyph for “unite,” these two plants formed an emblem for the unification of the Two Lands of Egypt.

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Egypt and Jordan

In November we traveled to Egypt and Jordan, finally realizing a trip cancelled by the Arab Spring in 2011.

When we talked about this trip, friends and family asked about safety. Happily for us, we stayed safe and felt safe. Our edgiest time was going to dinner, when we crossed a Cairo street with four lanes of traffic in both directions, with no stop signs or signals to stop or slow down traffic. Cairo traffic is very heavy, and we had no problems, using our experience crossing streets in Hanoi.

Highlights for us were Egyptian antiquities, Islamic art, the pyramids, Luxor temples, and Petra.

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Waimea Canyon

After seeing the Na Pali Coast by air and land, we drove to the Waimea Canyon and saw the Na Pali Coast from a mountaintop. Shown above, Waimea Canyon is pretty, and it’s dramatic — “approximately ten miles (16 km) long and up to 3,000 feet (900 m) deep”. But Kauai is only 30 miles by 25 miles at its widest points. How did this large canyon occur on an island not much bigger than the canyon?

A canyon is a “deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosive activity of a river over geologic timescales”. A canyon needs headwaters for the water, sturdy mountains for escarpments or cliffs, and time for the erosion to take place.

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Hiking the Kalalau Trail

The day after seeing the Na Pali Coast by helicopter, we saw the Coast from land, hiking part of the Kalalau Trail. On the windward side of Kauai, the Na Pali Coast is hard volcanic rock battered by wind, rain, and erosion. Shown above from my helicopter ride, the Kalalau Trail starts on the left at Ke’e Beach, climbs up the cliff, and goes back down to the ocean at Hanakapi’ai Beach on the right.

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Tips for Photos from a Helicopter

Kauai is beautiful, and a helicopter tour of Kauai was short and expensive, so I wanted to prepare for my first helicopter ride — selecting the helicopter tour, choosing the camera equipment and settings, and dressing for the ride. My post Kauai by Helicopter described what I saw on my helicopter tour; this post covers how I prepared and lessons learned.

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