Fred's Travels


Fred's Recent Around the World Adventure

Kona, Hawaii (via Narita, Japan) to Singapore to 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (via Columbo, Sri Lanka) to 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to 

Doha, Qatar (via Amman, Jordan) to

Tel Aviv, Israel (via Istanbul, Turkey) to

All of Israel to 

Petra, Jordan to

Egypt via the Sinai Desert to

Cairo, Egypt, including the Aswan Dam and the Nile to 

Casablanca, and northern Morocco to Marrakesh to

Boston, MA (via Madrid, Spain) to

New Haven, CT 

to Kona, Hawaii (finish)

                                                             Total days: 53 / 13 Countries

While Fred has visited every continent in the world, he's currently exploring places he has never been to before on his current trip around the world!


Fred’s Around the World Itinerary

April 10 – June 3, 2019

Fly        Kona to Honolulu (HA) to Narita to Singapore via All Nippon Air (ANA). (1)

                      Depart 10:17 am, Wed. April 10, arrive midnight, Thur. April 11.

             Stay YMCA, One Orchard Road, Singapore, 3 nights April 11-14.

                      Hop-On Hop-Off Bus touring for 2 days.

Bus      Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (KL) on Sun. April 14th via bus. (2 & 2a)

             Stay Melange Boutique Hot​el (KL), 3 nights April 14-17.

                      Hop-On Hop-Off bus touring for 2 days.

Fly        Kuala Lumpur to Columbo to Dubai via Sri Lankan Air (UL). (3 & 3a)

                      Departs 9:20 am, Wed. April 17, arrive Dubai 4:20 pm same day.

                      Missed Easter Sunday 4/21 terrorist attacks in Columbo by four days.

             Stay OYO 101 Click Hotel, Al Muraqqabat Road, Dubai, 4 nights April 17-20.

                      Hop-On Hop-Off bus touring for 3 days. Duck Tour not worth it.

Bus      Dubai to Abu Dhabi via Hop-On Hop-Off Bus on April 21st (Easter). (3b)

                      7:00 to 9:00 am with Japanese-English commentary and Yas Island tour.

             Stay City Seasons Al Hamra Hotel, Abu Dhabi for 3 nights, April 21-25.

                      Hop-On Hop-Off plus Evening Desert Safari (trip highlight).

Fly        Abu Dhabi to Amman to Doha, Qatar, April 25th on Royal Jordanian. (4 & 4a)

             Stay Kingsgate Hotel, Ali Bin Abdallah St., Doha for 3 nights, April 25-27.

                      Hop-On Hop-Off for 2 days covering old and new Doha, and The Muslim Art

                      Museum and the Qatar National Museum within walking distance of hotel.

Fly        Doha to Istanbul to Tel Aviv on April 27th via Turkish Airlines. (5 & 5a)

             Stay Edelson Hotel for 2 nights, April 27-28th on my own.

                      Sign up with Booking-Tours.com for Israel, Jordan and Egypt tours.

             Stay Move to Leonardo Beach Hotel for 4 nights, Apri 29-May 4th,

                      5 days of daily bus touring of Israel out and back from Tel Aviv.

Fly        Tel Aviv to Eilat, late night on Arkia Air on May 5th, shuttle to town.

             Stay C Hotel for early morning car to Jordan border for van to Petra.

                      Small group visit to Petra with overnight in Petra. (6 & 6a)

             Stay Private Guest House, then Petra, Wadi Rum & Aqaba, May 6th.

CAR     Private driver & guide 10 hrs. across Sinai Desert to Cairo, May 7th.

                      Four door sedan night drive with many military security stops.

                      Drive under the Suez Canal. Skip St. Catherine Monastery - tired.

             Stay Cairo Pyramid Hotel for 3 nights, May 7-9 (7 & 7a)

                      Visit the Pyramids of Giza, Egyptian Museum, perfumery, papyrus artwork store - buy three 

                      Egyptian papyrus artworks, silk rug factory - buy rug and taxi from and back to hotel for a haircut.

FLY      Cairo to Aswan on Egypt Air, May 9-14.

                      Visit Aswan Dam and Aswan city and boat to the Philae Temple Island.

BOAT   Cruise down the Nile River to Luxor on the Ruby Royal Tourist Ship.

                      Visit Kom Ombu Temple, Crocodile Museum, Edfu Temple (boat locks in Esna), Luxor Temple, 

                      tombs in the Valley of the Kings, Al-Deir Al Bahari Temple, aka, Hatshepsut Mortuary (Tom 

                      Thompson terrorist attack in 1999) in the Valley of the Queens.

FLY       Luxor to Cairo on Egypt Air, May 14th.

             Stay Cairo Pyramids Hotel for 1 night, May 14th.

             Stay Hayat Hotel for 1 night, May 15th.

                      Sphinx & Pyramid Light & Sound Show from hotel rooftop.

FLY       Cairo to Casablanca, Morocco on Egypt Air, May 16th. (8 & 8a)

              Stay Amouday Hotel for 2 nights for tour meet up on May 17th.

                       Taxi to and from for dinner at Rick’s Café (trip highlight).

Van       TourRadar group tour of Casablanca, train to Rabat, van to Roman ruins at Volubilis, Fez, Iknes, 

              Chefchaoen, Tanger, 5 nights, May 18-23rd.

Train     Overnight sleeper to Marrakesh at midnight, May 23-24th.

              Stay Caspian Hotel for 1 night, May 24th.

                       Take Hop On, Hop Off tour of Marrakesh for 2 days.

              Stay Les Palmiers Hotel, for 1 night, May 25th.

                       Final TourRadar Group Dinner (no host) at Caspian Hotel with tip refund.

FLY        Marrakesh to Madrid, Spain on Iberia Air, May 26th. (9 & 9a)

              Stay Madrid Airport Hilton for 1 night.

FLY        Madrid to Boston, May 27th on Iberia Air. Budget rental car. (10)

Car        Budget Rental Car for one week, May 27-June 3rd.

              Stay A Friendly Inn at Harvard Square for 3 nights, May 27-30th.

                       Attend Harvard Graduations events for 3 days with Rossmann’s

                       who were at the Irving House Hotel right next to my hotel.

Car         Drive to New Haven, CT for Yale Class of ’64 55th Reunion. (11)

               Stay Pierson College on campus for 3 nights, May 30-June 2nd.

Car         Drive back to Boston for 1 night, June 2nd.

               Stay Anders Motel, Foxborough, MA near Foxborough Stadium.

FLY        Boston, Denver, Kona on Monday, June 3rd on United Airlines. (12)

Car         Pickup by Bob Darling at Kona Airport to Kailua Kona home.


Impressions by Countries and Cities:


(1) Singapore - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore

                        Exchange rate: $1.37 SGN = $1.00 US ($0.73)

              

              * Very clean, organized, no apparent slums, beggars, homeless, graffiti.

               Cars very expensive, all in good shape and exported by 10 years when expensive registration runs out. 

                  2nd greatest used car exporter after Japan. Mixed population (70+ Chinese) about 6 million people.

              * Most Uber-Grab drivers rent their cars due to the expense of ownership.

              * Great bus system widely used. Street and landscaping cleanest ever.

              * Road Electronic Program (REP) instituted in certain section of town with tolls based on electronic                                                       license plate surveillance.

              * Singapore considered one of, if not, the highest cost city in the world.

              * All purchases include taxes, no add-ons. You pay advertised price.

              * Marina Bay Sands Hotel & Botanical Gardens are architectural marvels with the largest casino in the world 

                 requiring passport entry and free robot delivered drinks, along with a spectacular infinity pool and garden                                         on the roof. Considered the iconic symbol of Singapore.

              * Changi Airport considered the finest in the world.

              * Strict laws rarely enforced but people are mindful.

              * Formula 1 race cars competition coming back.

              * Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tours excellent, but Duck Tour not worth it.

              * 7 Elevens, Starbucks, MacDonald’s and KFC everywhere.

              * Construction happening everywhere, but in a very controlled way.

              * Unsuccessful in contacting my Yale classmate, Jim Rogers who moved his family there from the USA 

                  to be where the world action is.

              * Advertisements everywhere for schools and educational programs.

              * Met Meixuan and Karen, her boss, at the YMCA, then Chinese dinner with Meixuan and her boyfriend, Kevin, 

                  the night before leaving.

              * YMCA breakfast included was very nice but room and bed very minimal.


(2) Malaysia - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia

                          Exchange Rate: 4.17 Malaysian Ringgits = $1.00 US (0.24)


(2a) Kuala Lumpur - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuala Lumpur

               

               * Very nice 6-hour bus ride from SIN to KL, city center to city center, much

                   cheaper than flying without much more total travel time.

                * Quick Uber ride to hotel within walking distance of Hop-On Hop-Off buses and main shopping area 

                   known at Jalen Bintong.

                * Small but very nice bed and room with minimal breakfast included.

                * Hop-on Hop-Off bus very good with just two tour loops.

                * Everything seemed very busy with trash, homeless, beggars, graffiti.

                * Construction going on everywhere with major messes and delays.

                * Since Protonas Towers closed, went up the KL Tower for city view.

                * Numerous ‘massage’ parlors nearby Mélange Hotel.

                * Again, KFC, MacDonald’s, 7-Eleven and Starbucks everywhere.

                * Ceiling arrow called a Kiblat showing direction to pray 5x/day to Mecca.

                * KL population about 1.5 million, seemed very crowded compared to SIN.


(3) UAE - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United Arab Emirates

                          Exchange Rate: 3.67 AEDs = $1.00 US (0.27)


(3a) Dubai - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubai

              

               * Uber ride into old Dubai from airport to the OYO 101 Click Hotel.

               * Nice room but breakfast only delivered to your room with no choices and always the same every day.

               * Signed up for City Bus (not Big Bus) Hop-On Hop-Off that included many extras, including bussing to Abu Dhabi on 

                   Easter Sunday (Colombo attack).

               * Toured all of Dubai which has the UEA’s longest road running right through the city (NE to SW) with 

                   six lanes each direction.

               * Staying in Old Dubai near the Dubai Creek which was the center of town until they started building big in New Dubai.

               * No statuary in Dubai but plenty of billboards promoting the government.

               * One statue of a camel along the river with a Rook chess piece on its hump, commemorating Kary Casparov’s 

                   world chess victory here in 1986.

               * UAE flags everywhere with over 5,000 mosques throughout the country, all supported by the government. 

                   Remember they pray five times a day to Mecca … so no excuses for not praying with all those convenient mosques.

               * Went up the world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa (843 meters high) with an even taller building (1,000 meters high)                     in process for the 2020 World Exhibition in Dubai.

               * View is spectacular but yellowish … from all the desert sand, not pollution.

               * Very wealthy city with workers and tourists from all over the world.

               * Probably the most forward-thinking ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in the Arab world. He is also the 

                  Vice President and the Prime Minister of the UAE.

               * Dubai Mall is the world’s biggest with ice skating, gaming, theaters and a giant aquarium. World traveler Filipino                               Cristine Ramos served me coffee at the World Coffee Shop and gifted me a small travel journal. Bought a copy of                           ATW80D in Arabic at Kinokuniya Japanese Bookstore.

               * Jumeirah Beach along the Persian Gulf, Palm Islands and the Burj Al-Arab (world tallest hotel) and Dubai Marina                            (again world’s largest) all a must see.

                   NB: Of this entire trip, Dubai and Singapore are the two cities I would visit again.


(3b) Abu Dhabi - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu Dhabi

               

    .          * Took Hop-On Hop-Off van from Dubai Abu Dhabi in about two hours, including stop at date fruit store and a 

                   tour of Yas Island’s  

               * Entertainment Park, UAE Museum (closed) and Ferrari Formula 1 Racing. Dropped off at hotel was very convenient. 

               * Evening desert Safari and BBQ with wild 4-wheel sand dune riding, camels, food and drink, entertainment 

                   and hookah smoking. Indian family of four. (Trip highlight.)


(4) Qatar – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qatar

                            Exchange Rate: 3.64 Qatari Rials = $1.00 US (0.27)


(4a) Doha – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doha

               

               * Another old versus new city like Dubai. I stayed in old city but toured all.

               * Able to walk from my hotel to the Museum of Islamic Art and the new Qatar Museum, both spectacular.

               * Did the Hop-On Hop-Off 2-day tour and found the traffic bad and the streetlight waits unbelievably long.

               * Nice hotel with spa, pool and massage (of course I had a massage).

               * Toured the amazing sports complex (located between the old and new city) where the World Cup (FIFA) will 

                   be held in 2022. Desert heat a big issue.

               * Attended an Exhibition of Date farmer that was fun and filling.

               * Walked a most interesting souks market near the Date Exhibition and passed a prayer mosque that was just 

                   letting the men out to retrieve their shoes and use the public bathroom to wash and cleanse themselves. Seems 

                   like a good way to keep men clean (sic) regardless of religion.

               * Like Dubai there is a lot of money in Doha, Qatar but the political situation is not favorable with other Arab nations.                           Thus, I had to fly from UAE through Amman, Jordan to get to Doha instead of a short hop across the gulf by boat    

                   or plane. No buses or trains, as they would have to go through unfriendly Saudi Arabia to get to Qatar.   

                   Unexpected cost and lost a day.

               * Likewise, had to fly from Qatar to Istanbul, Turkey to get into Israel.

               * Apparently, the other Arab nations, as well as the US, think Qatar is funding terrorism. Thus, things remain  

                   politically problematic. World Cup anyone?


(5) Israel – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel

                           Exchange Rate: 3.61 Israeli Shekels = $1.00 US (0.28)


(5a) Tel Aviv – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tel Aviv

              

               * Had to wait for my bag upon arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, as it was checked (not my style) due to                                      being too heavy to carry on. Will not let that happen again as it cost me big time while my Uber drive waited 

                   (even though I ‘released’ him) and he charged me almost triple the going rate from the airport to my hotel. 

                   This was my first example how Israelis’ charge, not the customer’s interest but their own. Entitlement anyone?

                * After two days in Tel Aviv on my own, I decided to sign-up for a TourRadar tour of Israel, Jordan & Egypt so 

                    as not to have to do everything by myself.

                * Each day I was picked up at 7:30 am after a great breakfast at my hotel which was only a block from the                                          Mediterranean Sea and taken to a rendezvous for daily bus or van trips across Israel.

                * Tel Aviv is the modern, anything goes city, with the Pussy Cat Club viewed out my hotel window. No, I did not  

                    attend their pole dance performance.

                * Everybody smokes and police cars always have their red-blue flashing lights on for maximum visibility.

                * Solar hot water tanks on roofs everywhere. Very energy conscious. A dry country with 4 seas: Mediterranean, 

                    Galilee, Dead (33% salt) and Red Seas and the most advanced water desalinization technology in the world.

                * Was able to find a copy of Around the World in 80 Days in Hebrew at a local bookstore, bringing my personal                                    collection of this title to 24.

                * Found Tel Aviv too busy, noisy, dirty, relatively expensive and not very much to my liking. However, it is was 

                    centrally located in the country which is only the size of Vermont or New Hampshire, making for easy day trips.


Touring Israel cities before Jerusalem:

             

                * Caesarea … ancient Roman ruins; origin of arana/arena (blood soaked) and hippodrome (circus). Learned religious                        colors: green/life – Muslim/Islam, blue/sky or water – Judaism and Christianity.

                * Haifa … seaport with Bahai Shrine and Gardens.

                * Rosh Hanikra and Acre … cable car into caves along the Mediterranean Sea.

                * Nazareth (smoking, bad drivers, trashy and overly commercial), Sea of Galilee (2 fish, 5 loaves of bread) and Jericho                      (~4,500 years old, 250 m bsl).

                * Jerusalem (850 m above sea level), with Bethlehem in Palestinian State.

                * Masada – Dead Sea (400 m below sea level and 700 m deep) is a National Park, visited Dead Sea Cosmetics 

                    (Lhava – love), watched briny swimmers.

                * Dead Sea Scrolls on sheepskins found here in caves, 1946-47 and 1956.


(5b) Jerusalem and Bethlehem https://en.wikiipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem

               

                * An hour’s drive from Tel Aviv (flat) to very hilly Jerusalem with walled off Palestinian State containing Jesus’ 

                    birthplace, Bethlehem.

                * Everything is beige colored save red roofs; the religious capital of Israel.

                * Black everything for religious reasons, including curls and prayer waist strands for ultra-orthodox Jewish men.

                * Mandatory military service at 18 years with boys – 3 years, girls – 2 years.

                * Military everywhere with A-47s and armored vehicles.

                * Troops stand guard at sacred Wailing Wall below the Rock of the Dome.

                * Diamond Capital of the World. Interesting visit to the Diamond Factory.

                * Shabbat dinner is the Saturday Sabbath celebrating mothers.

                * Bethlehem, birthplace of Jesus, in Palestinian State with poverty, trash and little hope. Over 12,000 

                    Palestinians commute daily through Wall for jobs.


(6) Jordan – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan

                           Exchange Rate: 0.17 Jordanian Dinar = $1.00 US (1.41)


(6a) Petra – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra

                * Picked up at hotel and vanned for 2 hours from Eilat through Aqaba and Wadi Rum to Petra with 8 tourists.

                * Learned that the camel is the GPS of the desert.

                * Girls must now be 16 years old to marry, a change from 9-10 formerly.

                * If a wife leaves the marriage, she may return to her family, who has the right to kill her. Great progress.

                * Everybody in the middle east says, “Eh?” for “What.” Not very polite.

                * 5-mile walk ‘down’ and back ‘up’ Petra was hot and tiring but fascinating.

                * This is a must-see site where an episode of Indiana Jones was filmed.

                * They called me Indiana due to my clothing and wide brimmed brown hat.

                * Returned to Eilat to cross border into Egypt and take overnight car to Cairo.


(7) Egypt – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt

                          Exchange Rate: 16.76 Egyptian Pounds = $1.00 US (0.06)


(7a) Cairo – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo


(7b) The Nile – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The Nile

                * Cairo unbelievably commercial with billboards covering the highways.

                * Many (most?) building in Cairo only partially complete with many empty (see through) and abandoned due 

                    to lack of funds to complete.

                * Traffic is horrific with people waiting to be picked up right along speeding vehicle with nobody following lane lines, 

                    and everybody honking all the time with tailgating the norm. Unsettling to say the least.

                * Toured Giza Pyramids & Sphinx across from my Cairo Pyramid Hotel.

                * Toured Egypt Museum (outstanding) and a papyrus factory in Cairo, plus a rug factory and the Step Pyramid 

                   (recently opened) in Sakkara Valley.

                * Streets are very busy, dirty with everyone saying, “Hello, where are from?” then trying to sell you something or 

                    asking for money.

                * Fly to Aswan for dam and city tour, then boarded Royal Ruby to cruise down the Nile to Luxor and fly back to Cairo.

                * Visited transplanted Philae Temple and Island by boat in Aswan.

                * Met Lloyd (lawyer) & his wife, Laura (doctor) from Puerto Rico on board the ship during meals as well as two ladies                          from the Czech Republic.

                * Visited Kom Ombu Temple, Crocodile Museum, Edfu Temple, Esna river locks with their ship hawkers, then Karnak                          and Luxor Temples.

                * Visited the Valley of the Kings (east) and the Valley of the Queens (west) on the banks of the Nile to see Hatshepsut                        Mortuary Temple below the Al-Deir al Bahari cliffs where Tom Thompson was terrorized in 1999.

                * Return to Cairo by Egypt Air to catch up and transfer to the Hayat Hotel for great view of the Sphinx and the Cheops                        Pyramid Light & Sound Show.

                * Egyptians always seem loud and angry. Given quality of life, not surprised.

                * Fly from Cairo to Casablanca on Egypt Air just days before bus bombing in front of my Cairo Pyramids Hotel. Whew,                        another near miss.


(8) Morocco – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morocco

                           Exchange Rate: 9.65 Moroccan Dirhams = $1.00 (0.10)


(8a) Casablanca – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casablanca


(8b) Marrakech – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marrakech

                  

                * Met up with Northern Morocco group and Intrepid tour guide, Khalid at the Amouday Hotel.

                * Went to Rick’s Café of the movie Casablanca fame by taxi and had a wonderful meal and experience.       

                   “As Time Goes By.”

                * Proceeded in 16-person van to Rabat, Moulay Idriss, Volubilis (partial filming of the movie Gladiator here), Fes,                                Chefchaouen (aka hillside Blue City), Tangier and then an over-night sleeper train to Marrakech.

                * Casablanca the largest city (7+m) and on the Atlantic Ocean is busy, dirty and the current economic engine  

                    of Morocco.

                * Found northern Morocco to be hilly and warm, then green and pleasant as we arrived in Tangiers (15 kilometers)                              across from Europe and the Rock of Gibraltar. There is a similar tour of southern Morocco from Marrakech that 

                    some from this tour took as a follow up, but it is hot and desert.

                * Tangiers is the up and coming economic capital of Morocco, though Casablanca still holds that title.

                * Marrakech is surrounded by flat desert and is the religious capital.

                * Took 2-day Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour before flying Iberia Air to Madrid.


(9) Spain – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spain

                           Exchange Rate: 0.89 Euros = $1.00 (1.12)


(9a) Madrid – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrid

              

                * Overnighted at Airport Hilton which was super nice and convenient.

                * Flew to Boston Logan Airport, again on Iberia.

(10) Boston – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston

                           Exchange Rate: $1.00 US = $1.00 US (1.00)

               

                * Turns out this was the coldest, most expensive city on my ATW tour.

                * Visited with Rossmann’s and attended Alice’s Harvard graduation.

                * Molly came down from Hanover and I gave both goddaughters the same graduation gift, namely, a copy of 

                    Around the World in 80 Days.

                * Decided not to attend Molly’s Dartmouth graduation and returned 7 days earlier than expected after attending my 

                    55th Class of 1964 Reunion at Yale.

                * Drove rental car to New Haven, arriving Thursday evening for the reunion.

(11) New Haven – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wike/New Haven

                

                * Stayed in first floor room at Pierson for three nights.

                * Conversations with classmates, attending faculty lectures and entertainment were all special, given this 

                    Class of ’64 55th Reunion.

                * Somehow lost new prescription glasses and used old ones I brought. Had to replace only 3 months old 

                    glasses when I returned home.

                * Drove rental car back to Boston area (Foxborough)for one night before flying home to Kona on United.

(12) Hawaii – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii

                * Home after 53 days, 13 countries and 32,000+ miles going westward Around the World.