All Aboard…

the train.  They’re taking me to Marrakech.

But not before a stop at McDo’s,

as it is called, for a banana smoothie.  Train leaves in about an hour.

Learning the ins and outs of the WordPress apps on the phone and iPad and should be able to make more posts with pics faster, easier.

Received great news this AM – the package from Egypt arrives in Portland on Friday!!  

But I am still hauling around the 3 pound stone carvings of King Tut, a scarab and Nefratiti!!!



After the earlier CSN post on tomorrow’s train ride, I reflected on the night before I flew from Ankara to Kathmandu about a year and a half ago……..and my thoughts about going to a place that was in a song that I listened to hundreds of times.

A reprise in order.



I think I’m goin’ to Katmandu,
That’s really really where I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
That’s what I’m gonna do

Kkkkkk, Katmandu
I think it’s really where I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
I’m goin to Katmandu

I got no kick against the west coast,
Warner Brothers are such good hosts
I raise my whiskey glass, and give ’em a toast,
I’m sure they know it’s true

I got no rap against the southern states
Every time I’ve been there it’s been great
But now I’m leavin’ and I can’t be late
And to myself be true

That’s where I’m goin to Katmandu
Up to the mountains where I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
That’s what I’m gonna do

I got no quarrel with the midwest
The folks out there have given me their best
I lived there all my life I’ve been their guest
I sure have loved it too

I’m tired of lookin’ at the tv news
I’m tired of drivin’ hard and payin’ dues
I figure baby I’ve got nothing to lose
I’m tired of being blue

That’s why I’m goin to Katmandu
Up to the mountains where I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
That’s what I’m gonna do

Kkkkkk, Katmandu
Take me baby cause I’m goin’ with you
If I ever get out of here
I’m goin to Katmandu

I ain’t got nothin’ against the east coast
You want some people well they got the most
And New York City’s like a friendly ghost
You seem to pass right through

I know I’m gonna miss the USA
I guess I’ll miss it every single day
But no one loves me here anyway
I know my plane is due

The one that’s goin to Katmandu
Up to the mountains where I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
That’s what I’m gonna do

Kkkkkk, Katmandu
Really really really I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
If I ever get out of here
If I ever get out of here
I’m goin to Katmandu

Ooh ooh ooh, ooh yeah



Written by Bob Seger
A ramble:

  • I will be off on the Marrakech Express tomorrow. I doubt I will see any pigs, as the lyrics say.  I will do some fact checking and ask some Muslims if there are any pigs in Morocco.  Probably just like Egypt – pot and hash is available, but not an ounce of pork.
  • I guess I need to think about soon humming the first cut on the album ‘Gaudi’ by the Alan Parsons Project.
  • BTW, I forgot to mention that I wore my Roger Waters t-shirt to dinner on the last night of my Nile cruise, because I knew none of the Muslim staff would dare say anything negative to me.


I Was Wrong

About where the medina and all the souks were.  It was directly behind the hotel.  When I set out after the last post I went in the opposite direction from where I had walked earlier today…….and bingo….. I was in the heart of the souks.

Shoes, dresses, luggage, shirts and more.


It was a pleasant experience compared to the ‘Hey Mister’ harranging of Luxor.  There was little sales pressure and initial prices seemed reasonable, but a tad high.  The explosion of colors was like eye candy. Took pics with the iPhone (the ones in this posting) and with the 25 meg pixel mirrorless Sony, which I am starting to love.

It started to get dark.  Both my guidebook and the man at the hotel desk cautioned against walking in the souk area at night, so I started walking towards where I thought the hotel was.

It was like a maze and I was the rat. I was hopelessly lost.

I walked with more deliberation and confidence, something I learned reading Paul Theroux.  It is hard to ‘walk tall’ in sandals, but I tried.

Without the map app on the iPhone I would still be there, wandering helplessly.

Stopped where I had dinner last PM and bought a 16 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice, added 3 ounces of vodka in my room and sat in the lobby and made this post.


As I will be busy tomorrow morning heading south by train, I will add this now, but it would be a better post tomorrow.
Marrakesh Express

By Graham Nash
Looking at the world

Through the sunset in your eyes

Trying to make the train

Through clear Moroccan skies

Ducks and pigs and chickens call

Animal carpet wall to wall

American ladies five foot tall in blue

Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind

Had to get away to see what we could find

Hope the days that lie ahead

Bring us back to where they’ve led

Listen not to what’s been said to you

Would you know we’re riding

On the Marrakesh Express

Would you know we’re riding

On the Marrakesh Express, they’re taking me to Marrakesh

All on board the train, all on board the train

I’ve been saving all my money just to take you there

I smell the garden in your hair
As performed by  Crosby Stills Nash

Some Pics


Next stop Marrakech

In the Casablanca medina

Ready for some serious cooking.

Abackpackandadaysack waiting for a ride from Moro to the airport.

Cairo airport.

Abackpackandadaysack in my room in Casablanca.

Dinner last PM.  $7.00


At Rick’s
Screaming inet in the lobby of Hotel Central.  Finally.  Best speeds in 32 days.

Will upload more after another walk to take pics.  Good light for pics time.

Big, Real Big

Wiki says:

Hassan II Mosque

Hassan II Mosque is located in Greater Casablanca 

Location within Casablanca

Geographic coordinates 33.60826°N 7.63292°W

Affiliation Islam

Municipality Casablanca

District Casablanca

Prefecture Casablanca-Anfa

State Casablanca

Region Greater Casablanca

Year consecrated 1993

Ecclesiastical or organizational status In use

Status Active

Leadership King Hassan II

Architectural description

Architect(s) Michel Pinseau (France)

Architectural type Mosque

Architectural style Arab-Andalusian, Moorish

General contractor Bouygues

Groundbreaking 12 July 1986

Completed 30 August 1993

Construction cost $400–$700 million


Capacity 105,000 (25,000 indoors, additional 80,000 on Mosque’s grounds)

Dome(s) One

Minaret(s) One

Minaret height 210 metres (690 ft)

Materials Cedar from Middle Atlas

Marble from Agadir

Granite from Tafraoute[1]

The Hassan II Mosque or Grande Mosquée Hassan II (Arabic: مسجد الحسن الثاني‎‎; nickname: “Casablanca Hajj” (colloquial, microblogging and social networking language)[2] is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in Morocco and the 13th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 metres (689 ft).[3][4] Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca.[5] The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, worshippers can pray over the sea but there is no glass floor looking into the sea. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside grounds.[4]

I say:

I could not go inside.  There was a tour in an hour and a half, but I did not want to wait.  I wandered around the medina streets back to my hotel, after a nice 3+ mile walk.

Lunch at Rick’s Cafe

Wiki says:

Rick’s Café Casablanca is a restaurant, bar and café located in the city of Casablanca, Morocco. Opened March 1, 2004,[1] the place was designed to recreate the bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the movie classic Casablanca. Set in an old courtyard-style mansion built against the walls of the Old Medina of Casablanca, the restaurant – piano bar is filled with architectural and decorative details reminiscent of the film: curved arches, a sculpted bar, balconies, balustrades as well as beaded and stencilled brass lighting and plants that cast luminous shadows on white walls. There is an authentic 1930’s Pleyel piano and As Time Goes By is a common request to the in-house pianist.


Owned by The Usual Suspects company, this Casablanca landmark is usually described as the real Rick’s Café, finally bringing the legendary “Gin Joint” of cinema fame to life in today’s Casablanca.

I say:

Will probably depart Casablanca for Marrakech tomorrow, by train.  Have read and heard it is much less hectic.  At 4 million, CB is more city than I enjoy.


In the hotel.  5/24 at 8 PM.  Working out the kinks on inet connectivity.  Will write and upload as I can.

Busy day. Moro’s car to the Cairo airport, then a 5 hour plane ride across north Africa,  then took the train to downtown Casablanca, then a cab.

Many stories to tell.  Stay tuned.


Roseann RoseannAdanna Revisited

Last year while traveling in Turkey I wrote a blog called Rosanne RosannAdanna. I had a RosannaRosannAdanna experience in Egypt over the last 24 hours.


Yesterday Moro picked me up to take me to a shipping store, Aramex, so that I could ship home the 14 shirts, my books on Egypt and the other stuff that I had picked up or brought along that I no longer need on the next leg to Morocco.  We went to Aramex and Moro double parked out in front of the store. There are no parking garages in Egypt. You park anywhere you can.

I went inside and sat and sat and waited for 30 or 40 minutes for my number to be called while Moro stood out on the street and watched his car, making sure it did not get towed or got a boot put on the wheel. Finally my number was called and I went up to the agent and I said ‘I need a box.’ He looked at me quizzically. I called Moro on his phone and he came inside and I told him I and need a box to put all the stuff in. After five minutes the agent brought a box out and I started to put my things that I wanted to ship in the box.

He looked at the papyrus prints all rolled up in a shipping tube and he said ‘Let me see what’s in there.’ I showed him and he said no no cannot ship – might be an Egyptian antiquity. Next were the stone carvings I had of Nefertiti and King Tut. He said no no cannot ship might be antiquity. I had some other things, a carved scarab and other assorted carvings out of stone and he said no no cannot ship might be antiquity.

The agent basically wanted me to unpack everything that I had carried to the store and spread it all out on the floor and the desk for him to look at every single item. I told Morrow that I would rather not do it in front of 14 people in the store that maybe we should go to his house and I should pack only the things that I know I can ship and take the items that I cannot ship out of the box. So I packed everything up and went to Moro’s house where I unpacked everything sorted and re-boxed everything.

Next we went to a DHL store.  I went in to just get a quick quote on what it would cost to ship 8 kg or about 15 pounds of items to the United States. He told me $480.00, as in American dollars. I left frustrated and got in the car with Moro. He apologized repeatedly but I knew it was just the Egyptian way.  I did not blame Moro,  it’s just the  Egyptian way.

This morning I was talking to the hotel owner of the Osiris Hotel and I told him that now I must carry to Casablanca 20 extra pounds of crap-  15 extra shirts, my books on Egypt and other things that I just do not want to carry with me for the rest of my journey. I lamented about the high cost of shipping items to the United States. He said that he would take me to the Postal Service or the post office behind the train station in downtown Cairo and I could ship my items cheaper there. We set off in a cab with one of his helpers carrying the box of my clothing. We got to the post office, the owner negotiated and I paid roughly $130.00 to ship my items. The hotel owner explained to me the Egyptian way – like shipping items in Nepal – it is all about who you know and your connections.

I have no idea if my items are going by boat or airplane- or if they will be delivered in 4 days or 3 monrhs or not at all.  Lets just say they will arrive, inshallah.

The good news is that I will be able to travel to Casablanca much lighter tomorrow.

Like RoseanRoseannAdanna says “It is always something.”

It is especially true when traveling in foreign countries.


As I was typing and finishing this post, I received a call from Abdou at Venus in Luxor.  He wanted to know how I was doing, if everything was OK, when I would leave Egypt.

He cared for me and treated me like a brother, like many others on my 30 day journey in Egypt.  Many friendships, amazing hospitality and everyone always very willing to help – everyone from the hotel owner here at Osirius, to Sphinx Abdoul, Pyramid View Abdoul and, of course, my very good friend Moro.

On a bus ride today, the fare/ticket taker offered to cut my hair.  It was a nice gesture, but I declined.  He was being friendly.

30 days in Egypt was amazing.. Hope you were able to follow me on the journey.  If you have ever thought about visiting, I would be happy to,share with you my contacts. Be assured, they will treat you well and you will be safe.

The friendships, hospitality and assistance I received throughtou my journeies in Egypt make the problems seem so minor and insignificant.

Fly direct to Casablanca at 9:30 AM tomorrow on EgyptianAir.  17 hours from post time, but not before another night in Cairo with my friend Moro.  We meet at 8:30 PM.

Carpe Diem


The Coptic Church of St. Mark. May 21, 2016



Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria)

31.198290°N 29.899403°E
Location Mahatet el-Ramleh, Alexandria
Country Egypt
Denomination Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
Founder(s) Saint Mark
Dedication Saint Mark
Consecrated 60 AD.
Style Coptic
Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria is the historical seat of the Pope of Alexandria, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The cathedral is said to stand on the site of the church founded by St. Mark the Evangelist in AD 60.

St. Mark the Evangelist (author of the second Gospel) has been connected with the city of Alexandria since earliest Christian tradition. Coptic Christians believe he arrived in Alexandria around AD 60 and stayed for about seven years.

During this time, Mark converted many to Christianity and performed many miracles. He is considered the founder of the church in Alexandria and the first Bishop of Alexandria. According to tradition, St. Mark was arrested during a festival of Serapis in AD 68 and martyred by being dragged through the streets. He was buried under the church he had founded.

Relics of Saint Mark

In 828, relics believed to be the body of St. Mark were stolen from Alexandria by Venetian merchants and taken to Venice.[1] Copts believe that the head of St. Mark remains in a church named after him in Alexandria, and parts of his relics are in St. Mark’s Cairo’s Cathedral. The rest of what are believed to be his relics are in the San Marco Cathedral in Venice, Italy.[2] Every year, on the 30th day of the month of Paopi, the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates the commemoration of the consecration of the church of St. Mark, and the appearance of the head of the saint in the city of Alexandria. This takes place inside St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, where the saint’s head is preserved.

The head of St. Mark was moved around a great deal over the centuries, and has been lost for over 250 years. Some of the relics from the body of St. Mark, however, were returned to Alexandria from Rome in 1968 during the papacy of Coptic Pope Cyril VI.

The present St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral is of recent date, but is said to stand on the site of church founded by St. Mark himself.[3]

History of the Cathedral
Facade of the cathedral.
In AD 311, before the martyrdom of Pope Peter the Last of Martyrs, he prayed a last prayer on the grave of Saint Mark, the church was then a little chapel on the eastern coast[citation needed], and it contained bodies said to be of Saint Mark and some of his holy successors. The church was later enlarged in the days of Pope Achillas, the 18th Pope.

The church was greatly ruined in 641 when the Arabs invaded Egypt. In 680 Pope John III rebuilt the church. In 828, the body of Saint Mark was stolen by Italian sailors and was taken from Alexandria to Venice in Italy. However, Saint Mark’s head remained in Alexandria.

The church was destroyed again in 1219, during the time of the crusades, then it was rebuilt once more. Sixteenth-century French explorer Pierre Belon mentions the founding of the church in 1547.[4]

The church was pulled down during the French invasion of Alexandria in July 1798. The church was rebuilt and opened in 1819 by Pope Peter El Gawly in the time of Mohammed Ali Pasha. The church was renewed in the time of Pope Demetrius II and by the supervision of Bishop Marcos of El Behira in 1870. Between the years 1950–1952, in the time of Pope Yusab II, the church building was pulled down and another, larger building was built with reinforced concrete after the basilique style. The six marble pillars were transferred into the outer entrance of the church. The icon carrier was accurately cut into parts, each part given a number, and then it was cautiously returned to where it was originally. The two minarets were not pulled down as they were reinforced with concrete and were decorated with beautiful Coptic engravings. Two new bells – brought from Italy – were provided, one for each minaret.

Between 1985 and 1990, the church was widened from the western side after the former style with great accuracy, keeping the two minarets in their places, so the entire area of the church was doubled. The six pillars were transferred to the new western entrance of the church supervised by Pope Shenouda III.[5]