elEven minutEs

We headed for the airport with five hours to spare and chilled in the lobby of the airport with our new Egyptian friends for an hour. We were eleven minutes late checking in for our flight to Nairobi and the ticket counter lady was stone walling us.
Initially, I believed that after serving others in the jungle and helping different organizations the time here in Africa might be less gratifying. Over the past week we have had numerous gratifying and meaningful interactions with the Egyptians and tourists alike in this country! Heidi and I have been blown away with the opportunities to share ourselves and our thoughts with people, at the same time receiving more than we could possibly give. In Aswan my huge obnoxious beard brought about an interesting conversation with a devout Muslim man and two days of apartment hunting with our brilliant friend Mason brought about several late nights discussing everything under the sun. We have been blessed and challenged beyond our expectations!

We decided to join the herds of tourists enjoying the Nile valley from the deck of a boat and so we boarded the vessel "The King Of The Nile" to travel up stream to Aswan. Three days of sheer bliss is actually much too generous but we soaked in the flavor of the valley and watched life pass by on the banks of the river that breathes life into this land. Having a place to store our gear for three days and meeting fellow adventurers and "soft" tourist was well worth the price and Aswan greeted us with open hands (asking for "baksheesh",tips, often : ) Two of our favorite days passed in Aswan starting with an idyllic feluca (sailboat) ride preceded by fierce haggling over the price. We asked them to take us across the river to a beautiful sand dune that we wished to jump down and it was all that we hoped for!

After playing with some kids in a Nubian village we sacked out for the night and slept fitfully for three hours until we were startled from our slumber by a knock at the door alerting us that our bus was about to leave for Abu Simbel, a famous ancient Egyptian temple. After three hours on the bus down to Lake Nasser we rubbed the sleep from our eyes and peared at the towering colossi of Ramses II. Two hours later we were herded back onto the bus for the long ride back. Still attempting to be the non-typical travelers we left the tour near the Aswan High Dam to float the Nile back to town. With five hours until our train was to take us to Cairo we plied the waters and pointed our bow down stream. Local feluca drivers exhibited the gamut of emotions, from cheering us on to one man trying to run me down, with two hours to spare we landed in Aswan and proceeded to prepare to leave. After a comical dinner party with fascinating fellow travelers Heidi and I ended up running down the platform to catch our train just in the nick of time.
After boarding the train we ended up sitting in the wrong seats on the train and had the greatest conversation and eventually two days with a local Egyptian woman named Monna! She literally took us under her wing and answered all of our ignorant questions about her culture, country, and politics and many other things besides. She treated us to lunch and an evening of conversation with her and her friend Muhamad. Her great sense of humor and intelligence won us over. We learned so much about her in such a short time and treated us like a true friend, thank you Monna!

So yes, we missed our flight by eleven minutes and now we are stuck in Cairo.
I think when we get to heaven God will say to Dave "Well done, you have used up the earth I gave you, you have gone and done as much as you possibly could!"

Karen Eubank


Camel Spit

Armed with a very little knowledge from late nights in the book stores reading guide books and not wanting to waist a single day, we hatched a plan to go into the heart of the tourist trade and visit the massive towering pyramids. We knew enough not to trust all the crowds of Egyptians trying to sell us a ride on their donkey or the folks trying to usher us into their shop, but we were duped before we even arrived at the pyramids. Being the thrifty traveler we rode the subway most of the way then a cheap group taxi and that is where we were taken. He befriended us on the way and ushered us in the ally way only to empty our pockets with sweet tea and cheap talk. We did ride a camel and a tired old horse through the blowing sands and thoroughly enjoyed our whole experience except for that sick feeling in my gut at paying double for a our excursion.
There are four pairs of underwear on this manikin . . .
Our time in Thailand wrapped up with only a few loose ends that Heidi and I had to pass off to other people taking our place. After only a week of traveling and seeing the sights we realize how much more rewarding working with a group like the Free Burma Rangers is. Their mission and values are easy to take on as our own! Heidi and I felt such a connection with our new friends at FBR and we are thankful to be involved with such a needed organization. We believe it was a total God thing for us to be there when we were and to do the things we did.

After chasing our tails with the Brazilian Embassy we finally freed ourselves of their grasp and abandoned the big city, Cairo. We took an over night train "saving money on a hotel" but believe me that plan did not pan out as the bus careened through mountain passes and over giant pot holes tossing us to the ceiling. We did enjoy a pleasant day in the tourist trap of a city called Hurghada. After surveying the property we promptly donned our swimsuits and swam out to an old boat that had sunk in a storm, then over to the adjacent property and snuck through the gate. I gave Heidi her first windsurfing lesson in the light breeze off the Red Sea. The kiddie water slide was fun then we retired and nursed our sunburned bodies in our hotel room. The next morning we made our way into town and caught the first bus out of that town for Luxor.

At this moment Heidi and I are exhausted after a tiring day of driving our bicycles all over Luxor exploring the valley of the Kings and other nearby sights. Over the loudspeaker the Muslim call to prayer is lilting through the air adding a surreal feeling to the hot evening sun peeking through the cracks in the un-finished, semi-covered roof we are sitting on. All this after a fitful nights sleep on this same roof of our hostel listening to the sounds of a city like a child that will not close its eyes to rest. Thankfully Heidi has seemed to recover fully from her duel with the little malaria bugs. We must be careful as sometimes those little creatures hide in the liver and make a nasty come back down the road a piece.

"Cheap rubbish for sale" he said with a smile "why should I lie!"
Bazaar shop owner in Luxor


Poke Me, Prod Me

Yesterday Heidi and I experienced the Thai health care system. We were very pleased with the whole experience and we heard today on the final results from the tests. We know for sure it is not twins!!

These few weeks we have been out of the jungle have been punctuated by huge transition for Heidi and I. It is interesting to say the least to go from the jungle where at most moments we are within easy striking distance of the bad guys and many of the people have fled within the past month or year. There we were sleeping on the floor, eating much the same thing every day, walking anywhere and everywhere you needed to go. Maybe living simply is the best description, the only concern is where the bad guys are, how to help the good guys, food, shelter, and a bath now and then, that is all. The contrast to here in the city is so vast, we have not a drop of fear in our veins, all of our needs and many of our desires are easily met, a warm comfy bed waits for us and a hot shower. The deadliest issue around is driving the streets and those pesky mosquito's buzzing around. If you walk through the markets there is more food and trinkets and JUNK than I ever knew existed. Heidi and I have asked ourselves over and over why we are the ones that come and go so easily and in reality have this seemingly perfect life. We keep repeating the truth to each other "to whom much is given much is required and we try to do more and give more, and ask God to show us how to do it better.
Through our time in the jungle both Heidi and I waited eagerly for the day when we would see an elephant. There were numerous signs of their presence but all we managed to see were their mountainous piles of poo and the gigantic foot prints they left behind. In order to satiate our desire for the mighty elephant this past Saturday we joined the other tourists and went for a ride on one of the beasts. The crazy tourist type folks we met and the giant animal between our legs made for a great day and a fun adventure.

As for the hospital visit Heidis test came back negative for Malaria, Typhus and Dengue Fever (sorry no baby either) : ). Praise God we are in a place where we have doctor friends who speak English and deal with these problems every day. The Malaria is a tricky one and several varieties do not show up on the tests so at this point we have not ruled it out. Heidi feels fine today but yesterday she felt quite ill. Please pray for her health and a fast recovery!
My beard is getting obnoxious and hot and not fun. Heidi is getting board of the three shirts she has (especially now that I have washed them with my clothes and marred their brilliant colors). We lost over ten pounds each in the jungle but the ice cream twice a day hasn't helped keep it that way. Thai parking tickets are 12 dollars, don't be alarmed if they keep your drivers license until you pay.
From what I can tell people are getting decapitated all the time in here but the Saints have never been in the Super Bowl, I gotta go!