I caught some eats (inspired by C. Johnson/USC theoretical physicist), to "fuel up" in order to combat my flu. Then, I found a power-outlet & paid $18 Euro for a 24 hr WiFi T-Mobile connection. I then wandered over to the upper level to find a more comfortable blogging place, & ran into 2 Internet guys doing the same. We laughed about how the "watering hole" attracts PC users: power-outlets! I paid another $18 for 24 hr T-Mobile connection, & they checked out the QTVR eclipse pano (stitched by Robert Fisher), see above. At around 11:30pm I noticed my charge indicator went away..all of our laptops were NOT charging. Apparently, the power outlet was switched off. We quickly re-packed, & went searching for another power-outlet..we found one near the security checkpoint. We sprawled out, & spent there until 4am. Uh Oh, no T-Mobile signal for me! But, Laurie/Estonia found a Vodafone signal & it was 30 min free. Except, no uploads allowed. So, some fancy network setup by Laurie (using reverse Ethernet cable to mine) allowed uploading. We also discussed my RealTimeWebcasting project, & how Technology is difficult to get embraced by general community (see T-shirt logo). We messed around, until we couldn't STAND IT ANYMORE..4am like. We caught some food at the 24 hr store, & parted ways. I later ran into Laurie..on his way to Japan. This guy is a Linux wizard, he works for a security company in Japan. Wade is a Web specialist from Colorado, in process of relocating to England. We had some interesting discussions on history, culture, ethnicity, etc.
I never thought my overnight stay in Frankfurt would be such a rich experience.
Lufthansa Flight #580 to Frankfurt was straightforward, I really enjoyed the BBC program on the 2006 World Cup in Leipzig/Germany. Lots of good material on competition & winning, i.e. Game Theory. The Swiss guy next to me was a geologist turned Environmental Scientist working for Siemens. He's looking at my eclipse pictures, & we discussed on science subjects. When I brought up Alfred Wegener (proposed Continental Drift, i.e. what we know now as Plate Tectonics) he said "of course, he is our patron saint". He even had a Scientific America, which ironically had a front cover about Particle Physics. We exchanged emails for future correspondence.
Overnight bus-trip from Dahab to Cairo was OK, slept half-way decent. Had a raging temperature (because of 2nd camel-ride) just before I left, so I was really concerned about getting sick on bus. Got into Cairo @6:30am, & got whisked off to Magy Hotel by their driver. Blogged some pics from their DSL terminal, then took a couple of hour nap. Woke up, & scrambled to start packing the 3 70 lb cases. Archived the images on my Powerbook. Running behind, left @12 noon. Man, was it chaotic getting out of our parking area, it was crammed w/vehicles. Got to Airport @12:50 (flight leaves @2:40pm), & there was mess involving baggage weight allowances (won't repeat it here). Got to plane @2:40pm..man, is that cutting it CLOSE or what!!
Camel ride to Abu Galum, from Blue Hole. Scenery was incredible, the contrast between desert & sea was amazing. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
Abu Galum is just a few huts on the beach, a few families. I ended up getting sick & cramps..again! Just like on the camel ride @Giza/pyramids. I had to dismount from the camel, & walk back on the return leg. My tender butt couldn't take it anymore.
I spent the day on a camel tour @Giza pyramids. Got a lot of photos, incl sunrise from a rooftop. Went inside the pyramid (incredibly humid) & saw the tomb. Did some QTVR panoramas. Went up a hill, & got some long distance view of pyramids. Late in the day there was a sandstorm & rain! Got sick, because of lack of water/food. Sunset pic opportunities was nil (because of rain), & headed back to hotel for rest. I leave for all night bus-trip to Dahab in 20 min.
A steady rain greeted me, as I woke up @9am. Hmm..this is not good for my stress levels. 1st, a fairly significant car problem. 2nd, issues with lack of freedom-of-movement for our 4x4 (can't offroad south of Sallum near Egypt/Libya border). 3rd, weather issues. Rain is NOT a welcome sight near eclipse-day! However, see previous post for clear sky prediction (Univ of Athens) for Wed/Mar 29. This Low pressure area should give way to dual High-Pressure areas (sandwiching Sallum)
In the background of pic, is the Libyan Plateau (where many observation areas are setup, incl Scientist-Area). The plateau goes all the way to the Mediterranean.
I didn't expect our 4x4 scout mission..to turn into mud-bogging!!
everyone is excited about blogging pictures of themselves to the Internet
Blogging setup from house (Awaad's brother), using dialup connection. Had to bring in car-battery + Radio Shack inverter to power Powerbook. The 220VAC -> 120VAC adapter blew up in Marsa-Matrouh
Blogging & Sleeping.
Uploading multiple large files (video especially!) takes a long time, so I take a nap in between. Wakeup an hour later, & wrapup upload. I'm posting @5:43am, & have been up for 2hrs trying to get latest weather report. Looks good for Wednesday (Mar 29) E-Day, for 12:00 UT (about time of eclipse). No clouds expected, & high-pressure area dominant.
Here's what I expected:
1) freedom of movement (using 4x4) south of Sallum 2) difficult Internet access (if at all)
The exact OPPOSITE happened: almost no movement allowed south of Sallum (because of Egyptian military presence on Libya/Egypt border), & GREAT Internet access!
Dang, a eclipse LiveWebCast could be done from Awaad's brothers house! I probably come back to house after eclipse, & upload a few eclipse pictures before I head back to Cairo.
uh-oh.., pessimistic weather prediction for Wed (Mar 29), eclipse-day
A more optimistic weather prediction (Univ of Athens/Greece)..some hope.
A corresponding optimistic weather forecast, corresponding to above
We visited the (only) hotel in Sallum, & discovered Dr. Serge Koutchmy had been in on Fri (March 24) inquiring about a place to store his telescope equipment. He is staying in Sidi Barani. As I was leaving, I was called over by a person (teacher of Arabic) who gave me directions to the high-school where Dr. Koutchmy will be observing eclipse. We plan to visit tomorrow, to exchange information/strategy on eclipse.
We had extensive discussion on itinerary for Monday (March 27):
- military presence on border, rules out any 4x4'ing recon missions near Libya/Egypt border (south of Sallum) - trying for various places south of Sallum: last house, at base of "cliff" (Libyan Plateau) - south & southwest of Bugbuq - two hills in southern Sallum - scientist-area on Libyan Plateau west of Sallum