Dahab – a tiny island inside a monster city

TooManySquare
TooManySquare
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On the second day of my arrival home, my nephew and his friend (Both of them belong to Suez photo club invited me to one day photo trip which I accepted immediately. The trip planned to visit several areas in Cairo.

The first stop was visiting the smallest island inside Cairo for Village called Dahab (mean Gold).

From the first look you can find that the name is the furthest thing from the true.

There is one a small Ferry you need to ride in order to get to the island. There is no transportation there because you do not need any. You only need 10 minutes to walk the entire island. The transportation there is the bicycle and the donkey only. The people there are not the most hospitable among the Egyptian hospitality but they are not unfriendly either. They just mind their own business, which is actually none. Some of them allow you to take their picture but I tried only once because I felt they just do not like to say NO to their visitors, so I am sure I can live without such photos after I took only one (which I am sure you will understand what I am trying to say after you seen my photos for this trip).

The city consists of one main Avenue and several small streets (tiny is the correct word). There are too many kids and all of them were very engaging, they loved to get their picture taken (it is done under the families watch and you do not need permission). Make sure you have a lot of candy, which my friend was ready with. Just like any other city, there is all kind of kids, emotionless, happy, and vey exited ones. I tried to get sample of each.

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Tanoura dance

Whirling dervish
Whirling dervish
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It is form of Arabic heritage sofi dance. This type of dance performs in most Arabic country mostly by male dancer. .

When the Sufi Branch created as part of Islamic culture, they implemented different forms of Dhiker (Ziker in Arabic language which mean “remembrance”).

The Sufi ritual ceremonies dedicated in remembrance of God. It used to be performed daily specially during the religious celebration and sometimes through the night asking God for forgiveness.

Ziker performed in different ways silent, loud or sometimes accompany by movements. There are several group of sufi, each group introduces their own way of Ziker. Some of the group was the beginning of the Tanoura dance.

Years later after the Turkish invasion the colorful of the Turkish dervish custom start to overtake the original sufi darker color.

Tanoura dance is very common in Egypt, especially in the older part of Cairo where is the main tourist area, also in some of the night club as part of entertainments. The main shows are presented as folk dance on different stages and some of the government supported theaters like the one I attended. Currently it is performed as part of the wedding ceremony with a single dancer some of the dancer started to be extremely famous e in the arena.

I took these photos during my last trip to Egypt in early 2014. It was great memorable performance that I can’t wait to see it again in my upcoming tris.

 

Abbady

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My latest edition Nikon’s AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED

WALDORFASTORIA (1)
WALDORFASTORIA (1)
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Telephoto Zoom lens

I purchased this sense yesterday and took it for ride yesterday. I went to the 55th floor in our hotel and shot the building around us.

From holding for one day I find it fast, can used in all general-purpose great economic AF telephoto, good for all aspect such as indoor, outdoor, portrait and sports, here is my first day experience.

Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED

Nikon’s AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED

Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED

Nikon’s AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED

Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED

Nikon’s AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED

80-200mm_f:2.8_AF4

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Dell Support becomes the biggest Joke

Do you own dell??

Did you try to call their support and Google dell support?

If you did then I am sure you know what my today’s blog all about. If you do not own or plan to buy one I will share with you my frustration after full 4 hours, yes 4 hours.

Let me take you back to September 2014 when Dell try to imitate Apple air and comes up with nice design, I am talking about one of their Inspiron 7000 series, and particular I choose 7437 the 13” model.                                                   During this time, I was looking to buy a small window laptop and went with the 13 inch. I find it better than my Mac air 13 while I am flying. A few month ago I purchased window surface to give it a try and I find out it is bad idea. I think Microsoft supposed to do something about it quickly because it is not laptop to use in your lap or tablet for its size and weight. I figure this laptop will be much better during my travel. I was satisfy when I receive it.

Here is the PRO

  1. The touch screen option
  2. The keyboard flipped around to make it less difficult to use during my flight
  3. The battery life is another plus.
  4. Attractive, slim and solid aluminum shell
  5. backlit keyboard

The 1 TB Hard drive instead of 500 MB will be more attractive but 500 is OK too,

Here is the CON                                                                                                                                                        

  1. The display can be better
  2. The sensitivity of the touch pad need some improvement.
  3. The screen touch not the best (sorry, maybe I got used to my iPad for its screen and touch)

When I received the laptop I like it very much for the design, performance and their price (less than $1000). It is fast (for its i5 processor and the 8 GB of memory) nice slick design just like what you see in the photo on Dell website.

My job in the IT business require me to be up to date with technology, I am one of the older generation who grown up on window and most of us converted to Apple (in our personal use and most what we can change in business as well) since late 90’s and early 2000.   We start with the iPod, iPhone then we was eager for the iPad after that we claimed the laptop from Apple in order to enjoy the ease to access our information cross all of them.  Since then we become fare from window and window products for long time. When you return you always wonder if you made a mistake running away or you made a mistake returning back.

Back to September 2014 when I purchased this Dell which I did not use for long time. In our kind of business we have several computer and laptop between home and work so some of them we do not touch for quit sometimes.

A few days ago I need to use window machine to install my new home cloud so transfer all my files to one place. Recently, I decided to move from home server to home cloud for ease of use to my family. I have to disable the virus protection in the laptop for ease of access which cause my new dell to infect with several viruses. Last weekend I clean it but I realized it was a little slower than usual. In this cases I usually reset the computer to factory reset. I tried to do this to the laptop which I usually do it daily on different computer but this one keeps asking for a recovery media which was not included in the package that I received from Dell. I looked for window key anywhere in the package or sticker on the laptop but I could not find, so I logged in to Dell support and scan my laptop. The Scan find everything perfect which could be in Dell standards but not to mine. After few hours trying the recovery process I start the joke (calling Dell support). Yes the biggest joke I experience for very long time.

I had a great memory with Dell in the past during late 90’s when I decided to teach the older generation in my work how to use computer (Basic computer 101) which for my big surprise I have more than 200 people registered in the first day. I break them to beginner, intermediate and knowledgeable. At this time I suggested to each of them if they like to buy computer they have to buy only Dell for their support especially for the these students level of experience, I remember everyone was happy because Dell support used to be on the spot then. I forget we are not in the 90’s anymore. First, it was my fault because I googled Dell support number. Did you do that?? If not please do and let me know how many 800 or toll free number for Dell out there. Did you see how many of them for Dell? Almost none because Dell never comes on the top of the search page?? Wow Anyway, I learn I made a mistake after I gave them the OK to log in to my laptop using program calls “Showmypc” which I find out Dell does not use that.

Finally I was able to call Dell Support line. From the first call I was clear on what I need. My request was reset my computer to factory reset or sent me a recovery desk. I felt from the beginning that I am asking for the imposable “Recovery desk”. I transferred to more than 10 times each time I answered the same question over and over again.

  • Full name (I have to spell it several times)
  • Email (I am sure we all understand the difficulty of giving an email over the phone)
  • Service tag number
  • The reason of my call

With more transfer and more time I spent on the phone, I started the question, and let them know that I am calling to for recovery desk would you be able to help me??? Most of them did not even responded to my question and transfer me to another place. I got the feeling that no one answered the phone know anything technically, everyone transfer me to someone else just to get rid of you. Later on, I start ask them about the number which they will transfer me to, before they do so, just to write them down on paper and I find out sometimes I transferred to the same number more than once even after I explained to them that I already spook with these people.

At the end, and after 3 full hours, I transferred to Jatin_Ratnaram who was totally different and remind me with Dell old days support, he tried for sometimes to restore it but finally he was not able then, the moment comes send the recovery desk after around one hour of download and restart first by instruction given over the phone and then he logged in to my computer to do what he needs to do his things of download and restart over and over. The approval to send the mighty desk completed which took around 15 more minutes extra. Then Jatin introduced his supervisor to apologize which was nice from both of them but for me the big damage was already done and learn that I will make keeps my macair very close to me. I am 5 blocks from the Apple store which takes only appointment and quick walk to fix or exchange any of Apple products on the spot.

After the apology, they sent me the recovery desk on USB flash drive which I receive it after 3 days. They try to call me back to help me with the recovery but I was already completed the job.

If you like to buy Dell, just think twice because it does not matter even if you are an IT person and able to fix it.

I feel Recovery desk or Window Key is not something extra that have to beg for it for all this time, It must be part of any package because we pay for it.

Problem happen and what differentiate the good, bad and ugly is taken care of the problem.

Thank you,

Abbady Abbady

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Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day I felt I like to share something on my plug during this nice day. So, I looked at my old photo and I find some photo for the roses that I took long time ago during my photo practice in our backyard during my early photo practice days.

I hope you like the one I choose from this old collection.

 

Thank you,

Abbady

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My Visit to Russia

WalkingInMoscow2
WalkingInMoscow2
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At the end of summer September 2014, I visited Moscow, I was planning to visit Moscow this year and St. Petersburg next year. My trip was more frustration and some fun compensation. Let me explain my experience and you tell me if I need to repeat it again as my original plan.

Let us talk about the frustration first. As any frequent traveler suppose to do, I did not made my research first because if I did, I would not visited Russia, I will take my business somewhere else because I think there are other country who make it easier to people to travel without all this un needed bureaucracy.

After I purchased my ticket, I learned that as an American, I need visa to enter the country, which is not usually a problem in most cases but not this time.

It looked easy in the beginning because during my hotel reservation process, the travel agency told me all I need is the following:

  1. Paid hotel confirmation which he will email me one
  2. 2 passport size photos
  3. Complete Visa application on line
  4. My passport and must be valid for at least 6 more month from the entry date

After I completed the above requirement, I took my first day off from work; I discovered that he was wrong. The important document he forgets to tell me is a confirmation of hotel arrangements not from him but from authorized Russian travel company, or directly from the Russian hotel, showing reference number and confirmation number for the visa.

Due to the different daytime between New York and Moscow, I have to call the hotel several time to fax the require paper work several time to obtain this letter, each time I have to resubmit for different reason, the signature does not match or the passport copy is not legible or this or that, at the end this process cost me quite some of my time and money

  1. Copy of my valid passport
  2. Completed a hotel credit card authorization for $350 non-refundable deposit in case of cancelation event the hotel has 24 hours cancelation policy.

Finally, after I received my letter, I headed again to the visa center with another day off from my work, and then I took one more day off to pick up my passport when I called and learned that my visa process was completed, which took around 10 days.

The time for my trip has come, I traveled using Aeroflot, my trip was very nice, and the crew was helpful all the way. After we arrived to Sheremetyevo airport (it is very big airport). We took a long walk to wait in very long line in order to complete the entry process then I headed to collect my bags and go through the custom questions.

Finally, I am out of the airport looking for the train to take me to Moscow Metro line to get to my hotel. Suddenly, I find my self all he way out of the airport by the bus line.

Regardless all warning that I read about the unauthorized taxi in Moscow. I approached by one of them immediately by the airport exit. I showed him the name and the address of my hotel, he show my number 60 on his calculator, I immediately agreed after this long fly.

The ride in the taxi to the hotel took more than hour, during this time my driver try to make a long conversation speaking only Russian. I kept smile without understanding a word of his conversation, after all, he was a nice old man try his best to make the distance look shorter during the heavy traffic.

I like my driver so I asked him for his business card and asked the doorman to translate for him if I can call him sometimes during my stay which he agreed. I used the Front Desk to call him each time I need to travel anywhere and this was the best idea I made because I used the hotel staff to translate to him in advance what and where I like to go.

I stayed in The Golden Ring hotel. My hotel was pleasant and good surprise, nice staff (doorman, front desk and concierge), my room was very clean and the daily service was perfect, In the beginning I was little worry when I choice unknown hotel (at least for me), but I was extremely happy at the end with the hotel experience.

I usually prepare for my trip with extensive research, I plan in advance what I need to visit and see in each day. I was able to do everything I planned and more because during my visit the sun was down after 9 PM, so I have a very long day to do more than what I was planning.

At the end I enjoyed my visit but I am not ready to go through the same process to visit St. Petersburg. I feel I can have it at the bottom of my list for now.

 

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New York – The Big Apple

WorkingOnTheRiver
WorkingOnTheRiver
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It is home away from home for the last 35 years (more than half of my life). I traveled all over but New York is very special for me and for everyone who visited or looking forward to do so.

In this blog I would like to share some of the Big Apple history and some photo that I took during one of the boat ride around Manhattan Island.

Usually when we speak about New York, we mean New York City or Manhattan specifically but the fact is New York City is only part of New York State.

New York is very big state, with their over 8 million people it is considered the 4th most population in all the 50 states. It is one major state of the Tri-State area, which include New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as well.

New York City is the major area in New York state which considered extremely important for many aspect such as, the political international (United Nation), financially (Wall Street), it is the Financial Capital of the world, Commerce (Include most of the major world banks), culturally due to the large mix of nationality of the city residents (more than 40%) of total state resident, entertainment, media, fashion and too many other aspect.

New York City consists of 5 Boroughs which is Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx and Staten Island

As of the rest of United State, New York was occupied by the Native American until the French discovered it in the early 16th century, then in 1609 named New Netherland by the Dutch. In 1664 named New York by the English after Duke of York. In the 18th Century, New York become part of Thirteen Colonies and played a major part during the American Revolution.

New York was the Nation Capital sometimes in the 18th Century where the bill of Right drafted in Albany (New York Capital) in 1797.

In the 19th Century, New York was the main entry for million of European immigrant to Untied State at the famous Ellis Island.

In 1886 the Statue of Liberty open to be the symbol of freedom to the entire world.

 

 

If you ever plan to visit New York, you need to visit the City official guide website

http://www.nycgo.com

 

The official New York State website

http://www.ny.gov

 

New York visitor guide.

http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.e2a1b26d9be35ff6a62fa24601c789a0/

 

I recommend to my friend and family the citypass, it is fast, economically and include all the major seen.

http://www.citypass.com/new-york/plan-your-visit-new-york

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Porto El Shkhna at Ain El Sokhna – Suez – Egypt – A Colorful Place in the middle of the Desert

 

I born in Egypt, traveled all over then I was lucky to make New York – USA my home away from home during early 1980’s where I study worked and live with my wonderful family. Each year I spent part of my vacation in Egypt to make our annual family gathering then I travel to my second part of my vacation to visit some other place around the world.

During 2013 vacation while I was in Egypt, my 2 young nephews invited me to a day trip to Porto El Sokhna, which not fare (around 50 Miles – one hour) drive from my city.

First thing I notice when we arrived the place is impressive. Someone spent a lot of money in the middle of nowhere and a accomplished too much.

A large beautiful small city in the middle of the desert, self contain where you can find everything you need. It is a lot more than a hotel and much more than resorts. It is very colorful (as you see in my photo). The city built on two major areas.

The first one located at the arrival area, which include a very large hotel (the visit was not plan and the hotel was sold out so I did not have the pleasure of seeing inside at this visit – we were not able to find even a day room), just like they said “if you built it they will come”, a small mall in a form of street-front with multi small size stores that includes almost everything you need in your vacation, Cafeteria, restaurant, gift shop and some designer stores as well.

The second major part built on the top of the mountain. You can use the teleferik, which is memorable experience, or drive through the private residential area.

We drove all the way up through the colorful small private family houses then we used the teleferik for round trip just for the sake of experience.

It was nice day except of the unfriendly costumer service everywhere around there. That make me return with bad test in my mouth at the end of my nice day trip.

The construction was not completed yet, I am sure I have to make another visit to look at it when they complete it.

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Cairo Citadel – Salah Al-dine Citadel and not Mohamed Ali Citadel

WallOfTheCitadel
WallOfTheCitadel
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During on of my Egypt visit with my older son in 2012, I spent one day in old Cairo to look around. First thing on my list was Salah Al-din citadel which considered one of the most famous attraction to every one live or visit Egypt.

The Egyptian people extremely helpful specially for the foreigners and tourists. One of these wonderful people volunteered and a company us to explain the history of this historic and glorious building.

The Citadel built around 1183 by Salah Al-din when he tried to built a wall to protect Cairo. Since then and the Citadel become the center of the Egyptian government until mid the 19th  century.

Currently, Mohamed Ali Mosque is the famous part of the Citadel which makes the Citadel known as Mohamed Ali Citadel not Salah Al-din Citadel as it used to be known before!!

The Mosque built in 1828 which almost 650 years later. Most of us know that Mohamed Ali start to take over the power by his famous party when he executed the Mamluks in 1805 and take over the power for himself.

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Travel To Paris

Paris48
Paris48
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Paris one of favorite, we all know it is the phtographers, traveler, lover and everyone favorite city.

I usually travel more than once a year, Paris one of the most traveled city.

Usually my trips is shorts only few days and city like Paris a few days is not enough because you have to see the following:

  • Eiffel Towers
    • The flagship of the city, you cannot be there without getting up there after you wait in the line for quit sometimes. The concierge in my hotel suggested a great idea. I share a minivan with other American couple for tour the town which was include lunch at the Eiffel Towers restaurant and the boat ride after 7 hours of stop and go in the city.
  • Musee du Louvre
    • Must see Musee Du Louvre, It is house of Mona Lisa and one of the most famous museum in the world with its priceless 35000 piece
  • Champs-Elysees
    • I was very lucky because my company had agreement with one of the hotel in the Chaps-Elysse so I was able to stay there and enjoy this nice neighborhood.
  • Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre
    • A very nice place to visit at anytime, you will enjoy the great view of the city while you sit on the steps there with the fun crowd you rwill find there.
  • Moulin Rouge
    • First time ever in the area you will recognize this famous place immediately. It just look like we see in the movies and post card.
  • Arc de Triomphe
    • I think it is the second most visit place after Eiffel Towers or may be first in any visitor’s list. You must climb all 280 steps to the top to enjoy the magnificent view of the city.
  • Pantheon
    • One of many of Paris great museum that you need time to go hrough.
  • Luxembourg Gardens
    • On of the beautiful park that you will enjoy visit at anytime.
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
    • Your will need long time to go through every corner to see all these art around the wall, window and ceiling.
  • Rue de la Huchette
    • It is for the time when you need to eat, drink, buy some souvenirs to take back home
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