Things Are Looking Up: 4 Places I’ve Truly Seen The Stars

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Africa, Alberta, Americas, Canada, Continents, Egypt, Europe, Italy, The Gambia, Worldwide Vacation

Aurora Borealis at Jasper Dark Sky Festival 2012 at Pyramid Island, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Aurora Borealis at Jasper Dark Sky Festival, Alberta, Canada by Yuichi Takasaka

If ever there was a time to call to mind a Hamlet soliloquy, I’d say mid-stargaze is that time.

Which of us doesn’t seek out beautiful night skies on our trips? Man by nature is in love with ‘this most excellent canopy the air…this brave over hanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire…this congregation of vapours.’

Yet ‘what a piece of work is a man’ indeed; the irony is that as light pollution prevents us from seeing the wonders of the night sky, we must go where men are not in order to truly see the stars.

Here are the four places I’ve ventured this year where man is wonderfully outnumbered by the stars in the sky…

How To Do A 10 Point End Of Tax Year Assessment – Travel Blogger Style

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Africa, Asia, Cambodia, Continents, Egypt, Northern Ireland, Opinion, The Philippines, Worldwide Vacation

Happy New Year

Chinese New Year Sign at Le Creuset, Hong Kong

This week a brand new tax year started, and those in traditional jobs have been running year-end assessments and shuffling spreadsheets left, right and centre.

So I thought I’d do some rather taxing assessments of my own and calculate the 10 best things I’ve done this financial year, and their real value – monetarily and of course in less quantifiable ways.

Here they are, my top moments of the tax year ending April 5th 2013. According to my calculations it was a good one.

Snorkeling In Sharm El Sheikh – Choosing The Right Trip For You

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Africa, Continents, Egypt, Opinion, Worldwide Vacation

snorkeling in Sharm El Sheikh

Sunshine and snorkeling in Sharm El Sheikh

I’m the first to be picked up for today’s boat trip to go snorkeling in Sharm el Sheikh, so I get chatting to the rep as we take the minibus to the next hotel.

Like the rest of the staff at Emperor Divers – and as I soon realise the clients too – my guide is a Brit. I ask him how he ended up in Egypt and the explanation that follows about why Egypt is the perfect mid-haul holiday destination is far more straightforward than I expect…

After the Whitewash: Tahrir Square In Photos, October 2012

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Africa, Art & Culture, Continents, Egypt, News, Opinion, Photo Journeys, Worldwide Vacation

Murals on Mohammed Mahmoud street Cairo

A man sits in front of a mural depicting God’s messenger. The slogan reads: ‘We have given our lives for you’

Think of Cairo and you’ll imagine Tahrir Square, mob rule and flag-carrying protesters. But Cairo and Tahrir Square has changed in the last 20 months – at the end of September the Egyptian authorities pushed forward with a major clean-up of the city’s revolutionary hub. Having turfed the square they made the controversial decision to whitewash the political graffiti which adorns the walls of the American University, serving as a commentary on and a monument to the uprising.

By the time of my visit new messages and paintings had sprung up in their place – here are my photos of Tahrir Square today…

Ten Essential Arabic Phrases To Transform Your Trip

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Africa, Continents, Egypt, Opinion, Top Ten Travel Tips

Arabic signs in Downtown Cairo

Arabic signs in Downtown Cairo

Learning a few key words and phrases of a language always helps your trip to go more smoothly. Unlike some countries where your best linguistic efforts go unappreciated – or worse you’re answered in perfect English –  Egypt and other Arab countries smile on those who try a bit of Arabic.

A few words and a little bit of willing goes a long way to build rapport and can literally be the making of your trip.  Here are ten essential Arabic phrases you’ll hear and use over and over again …

Where To Shop In Cairo: City Stars

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Africa, Continents, Egypt, Searching For Soya, Shopping, Worldwide Vacation

CityStars, Cairo Starbucks

Get your shopping and Starbucks fix in Cairo under one roof at CityStars

Real Egyptians don’t spent their time hanging out at the pyramids or shopping in Khan el-Khalili, obviously.

So where would a girl like me head to on a Saturday afternoon for a spot of retail therapy and a gossip with friends, as well as a soya latte to keep up the shopping spirits?

 If you want to know where to shop in Cairo, the answer is CityStars, a huge modern mall that has everything from H&M and Marks & Spencer to Starbucks and frozen yoghurt. 

Revolutionary London, Egyptian Style

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Africa, Continents, Egypt, England, London, Opinion

The Egyptian Flag: Better known around the world than this time last year

On first learning of my Egyptian heritage, my boyfriend’s grandma told me the story of her memorable moment at the pyramid of Giza as a young girl during the height of the British Empire. Chaperoning a friend in 1930’s Cairo, she was invited on a tour of the great pyramid’s interior. Stooping to make her way by candlelight through the cramped dark passageways that lead to the burial chamber, she felt someone push and shove behind her…