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Middle East, 2003

a travel blog by Jason Kester




Three months were gone and I was still walking the earth and blowing through the life?s savings. Too much good stuff to report. Too many entries to reasonably expect anybody to read. Time to start a new chapter in the web log.

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PBRs and Mini-corn dogs

Dhahab, Egypt



Tonight, I'm drinking Johnia Waaker Black Label. No typos there, it's genuine egyptian whiskey. Aged almost six weeks. Tastes much like the local hootch in Thailand.

I'm doing my rescue diver course at the moment. Underwater Combat would be a better title for this thing. For two days now, I've been trying to subdue panicked divers at the surface and below, while my mask is being pulled from my face, my regulator is being ripped from my mouth, and I'm being kicked and beaten about the head and neck by the thrashing scuba tank of my 250 pound instructor. Even when we're doing basic things like taking our gear off and on at the bottom, this guy will come up and turn your air off to see what you do. Too much fun!

One more day of this and I should be certified. After a bit of celebrating, I think I'll hop the ferry into Jordan. This place is great, but there's only so much relaxing a fella can do before it's time to move on.


permalink written by  Jason Kester on June 11, 2003 from Dhahab, Egypt
from the travel blog: Middle East, 2003
tagged Diving and Drinking

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Nuweiba', Egypt




permalink written by  Jason Kester on June 12, 2003 from Nuweiba', Egypt
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Al 'Aqabah, Jordan




permalink written by  Jason Kester on June 12, 2003 from Al 'Aqabah, Jordan
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Wadi Musa, Jordan




permalink written by  Jason Kester on June 12, 2003 from Wadi Musa, Jordan
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Kester of Arabia

Amman, Jordan


I spent the last couple days trekking about in the desert at Wadi Rum and sleeping on the roof of the government resthouse. Even found and filled my water bottles at the spring that Lawrence used to use back in the day. Nice. The place was empty, too. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the US Government for continuing to issue terror warnings for every country that I visit. It really helps cut down on the crowds!


Petra was just plain amazing. What a great idea! Giant buildings carved right out of the rock. Why didn't anybody else think of this? The place is still inhabited by the descendants of the people that have lived there since the day, but now they've got souvenier stands. It's great, you get your own little Bedoin kid following you around trying to sell you rocks. Already got some, kid. The place is made of rock. Want one out of my shoe?

I may spend a day down at the Dead Sea, then it's off into Syria and certain death. Wish me luck!

permalink written by  Jason Kester on June 23, 2003 from Amman, Jordan
from the travel blog: Middle East, 2003
tagged Petra and WadiRum

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Livin' Large in the Axis of Evil

Damascus, Syria


So far, Syria has not been quite as deadly as the State Department would have you believe. Mostly, it's just awesome! Damascus is amazing. Best city in the mideast, as far as I'm concerned. You can really tell that it's the end of the Silk Road, the place where East meets West. It's still chock-full of typical arabs, with Arafat headdresses and ninja-gear women. But there's also quite a few women here who dare to dress western (a HUGE offence everywhere else in the mideast). And the busses here look like they came straight from Bangalore, complete with chrome-plated everything and thousands of multicolored lights. In short, I'm sold on the place. I was planning to leave this morning, but I just couldn't drag myself away.

I think I'm going to give Lebanon a miss. Too bad, since it probably would have been cool, but it's just so expensive to get there and back, since you have to buy a new Syrian visa to return. And really, Beirut is all about the nightclubs, and I'm not much for hitting them by myself. My hotel in Damascus is really nice, and where just about all the backpackers stay. Unfortunately, at the moment it is devoid of "lets go party in Beirut" hooligans to make the trip worthwhile.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on June 26, 2003 from Damascus, Syria
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Adana, Turkey




permalink written by  Jason Kester on June 30, 2003 from Adana, Turkey
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Goreme, Turkey




permalink written by  Jason Kester on June 30, 2003 from Goreme, Turkey
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Fourth of July

Antalya, Turkey


Not too much festivity here for the 4th. Though I did celebrate Canada Day on the 1st. A group of Canadians showed up at the Pension in Goreme, complete with their own flag to hang above the pool.

I'm being shown around by a couple Turkish girls now, and try as I might, I just couldn't convey to them the concept of Independance day. Turkey has changed hands so many
times, and this last time it went in 4 stages, so the idea of a single day of liberation doesn't quite fly with them. They'd have a dozen days spread out over the year.

I'm on the beach at Olympos now, enjoying life in mediterrainean Paradise. There's not much to do here, but that's not really the point. After a couple more days of this, I'm going to take a 4-day sailing trip along the coast to Oludinez & Fethiye.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on July 6, 2003 from Antalya, Turkey
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Cavus, Turkey




permalink written by  Jason Kester on July 7, 2003 from Cavus, Turkey
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Jason Kester Jason Kester
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Hey! I wrote Blogabond so I guess that makes me your host. Welcome!

I spend about 9 months a year on the road, chasing the sun around the world in search of good climbing and surfing. I carry a laptop along with me, and take on small programming contracts to take care of expenses.
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