Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gulf of Aden: Somalia to our Left ~ Yemen to our Right

With hummingbird speed and size, they skim the surface of the sapphire sea in which we are now cruising.

Flying fish, they are called.

Sometimes in small schools and other times alone, these tiny entertainers are providing a continuous show as we enter the Gulf of Aden -- yes, that, Gulf of Aden, the one making headlines in recent days.



It is the Gulf where pirates have gained notoriety and where war ships recently gathered. Somalia on the Horn of Africa is to our left and Yemen on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula is to our right.

We've not seen land on either side - yet. Today though,with increasing regularity, we are passing more and more freighters traveling on this shipping route to and from the Red Sea and Suez Canal. Aside from the freighters, we've watched flying fish on this our first of four sea days it will take to reach our next port of call, Safaga, Egypt - our gateway to Luxor.


We were officially introduced to the Middle East with Monday's stop in Salalah, Oman. The exotic sights, sounds and smells didn't disappoint. While we'd left the humid Far East we hadn't left the heat. The sun was relentless as we walked the city's streets - some shops providing an air-conditioned reprieve and others being small ovens with no cooling systems.

Although brain-numbing hot, the dress for both men and women is conservative in this Arabian country. I posted this photo of myself on Facebook following our visit in Oman as an example of the conservative dress required to enter a mosque: womens' ankles, wrists and head must be covered and men must also have long pants and conservative shirts. Feet must be bare (yes, those tiles were hot). The rules are much the same for the Buddhist wats we visited in Thailand and the Hindu temples we entered in India.

The cultural differences, the astounding history we are discovering, the religions we are being introduced to are simply overwhelming. We find ourselves in need of 'de-compression' time back on the boat - to process all the incredible experiences we are having.

I had The Scout pose with our wad of  Indian Rupees before setting off to explore Mumbai on our own last Friday. We'd exchanged $100US and in return had a stash that filled my purse. ($1 = 63.2IND).  Currency calculations and shopping has been an inexperience in itself as vendors offer their wares with machine-gun-like rapid fire persistence and enthusiasm.

We find it difficult to believe that we are already more than half way through this amazing adventure - we really are much richer, even without those Rupees, for the experiences we've had on this 35-day Oceania cruise on board the Nautica.  We thank you for being with us. I have many more tales to tell about the Middle East, so move over Scheherazade, I may just top your tales that filled Thousand and One Arabian Nights.

For now, we have some flying fish and freighters to watch!

Linking this week with:
Travel Photo Thursday
Weekend Travel Inspirations

27 comments:

  1. Oh, the places you'll go!

    What an awesome adventure.

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    1. This really is an awesome adventure. . .and each day just gets more exotic - I feel like I am living out the tales of the Arabian Nights! Thanks for the visit - hugs, Jackie

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  2. Jackie, lovely photos of you and Joel. My goodness, I can't imagine all that you've seen so far, and still so much more to discover! Yes, you are definitely richer in mind, body and soul for having travelled to these faraway places, so different than your own. It must be unreal at times. Thanks for sharing your news; it's always so intriguing to see what you are up to!

    Hugs,
    Poppy

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    1. Someone once said that travel is the one thing you can buy that makes you richer, and this trip is certainly an example of that. Our hearts and our heads have absorbed so much that we continue to count our blessings - both for the lives we are living and for those lives that we've gotten to be a part of if even for a short time! Safe travels to Canada, Poppy!

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  3. Hello Jackie and Joel

    Being at sea must provide a welcome relief following being ashore. Wishing you continued joy as your journey onward. Looking forward to your next post

    Helen xx

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    1. Thanks for taking time to comment, Helen. It is nice to be ensconced in our little air-conditioned cabin as we sail between Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

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  4. What a fascinating trip you are on. I can appreciate that returning to the boat and the same cabin is a great way to decompress and start to process all you've experienced.

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    1. Donna I can't begin to tell you what a haven the ship and our 'nest' on it have become! Thanks much for the visit!!

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  5. I'm following your adventure as a virtual traveler and I'm so enjoying your "Tales from the Middle East" - especially the little notes of acceptable dress and the fact that the tiles are hot in bare feet. Such a fabulous adventure!

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    1. As I had predicted, we've had a lot of 'We aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto!" moments and they just keep coming it seems! Thanks for following along Anita!

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  6. Wow, passing through gulf of Aden - that's quite an adventure! Thank God you had a safe passage. It's amazing how travels open our eyes to contrasts as well as common grounds of different cultures. Having so much lands and seas to cover, I'm sure you have collected wealth of such eye opener. I'm glad you got off the ship in India and had a great insight into its intensity. I look forward to hear more about your tale about the Middle East.

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    1. Oh such wonderful places we would never have seen had we not taken this cruise, Marisol! We are brain-dead - simply numb - from the sights, sounds and smells. . not to mention the magic that have enveloped us at each port! Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. It is coming soon, Carole -- I hope! Thanks for the visit!

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  8. What a brilliant experience. You would have definitely had a sensory and cultural overload of the very best kind.

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    1. It is an amazing experience, Paula! I am at a loss for words to describe it, but I'd do it again in a nano-second!! Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. What a wonderful trip this sounds like! And Egypt is fascinating!

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  10. What a wonderful trip this sounds like! And Egypt is fascinating!

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    1. Yes, Rachel the little taster we had of Egypt already has us talking about when to come back and where to expand our travels there. Thanks for the visit.

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  11. This post made me think of my review of the film "Captain Phillips". Were you aware of increased security measures taken on your ship? Actually, I think I remember a Facebook picture taken during a pirate drill aboard your ship. You are certainly traveling through an "interesting" neighborhood of the world. Safe travels.

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    1. Actually Suzanne, we discussed Captain Phillips over sail-away wine leaving Oman as we were sailing from the same port that he did and heading the same direction. We were aware of actions taken by the crew and directions we had been given for that portion of our journey. And the pirate drill was one of them. I will do a blog in the future about some of the actions! We are now in Jordan, Aqaba and looking across the tip of the Gulf we are looking at Israel. What a fascinating part of the world - we must come back. Thanks for the visit and good wishes for safe travels!

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  12. Jackie you write very well. please keep posting these type of tips

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  13. Really enjoying this. Looking forward to talking when you are back!

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  14. What an adventure! You must be just a wee bit relieved to have left the pirates behind!

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  15. What a trip! I'd love to be on a long-distance cruise! Thanks for joining Weekend Travel Inspiration!

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  16. That's quite an outfit! Can't imagine wearing it in that heat!

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