Disappointing Travel Destination Pyramids of Giza | They are some masterpieces of ancient architecture, world wonders for a reason, but out of reach for tourists. The Pyramids of Giza are among those. Yes you did read right. We recommend not go to the Pyramids of Giza. Here is why:
When reaching the entrance to the Pyramids, a dozen of men will jump on your vehicle, bang on it and shout at you. They are trying to stop your car right there and get you on one of their mule-drawn carriages. This is illegal, but keep in mind: you are in one of the world’s poorest countries. People are desperate. Once you enter the site, there will be a constant nagging of merchants wishing to sell you souvenirs or offering a ride on their camels. It’s annoying, but you still want your selfie with the pyramids in the background! So you just continue to say no for the next 20 minutes. Now imagine this: Police has no more authority due to the lack of respect from the Egyptian people. This security vacuum led to an influx of locals including donkeys and camels. The stench of piss and shit is horrendous at the Pyramids of Giza. Everybody – humans and animals – are pissing everywhere. A layer of smelly shit covers the entire area. Watch your step. To make matters even worse: you don’t see that in the broshure. The area around the pyramids is just a big dump site for rubbish. Plastic bags and toilet paper with patterns on it fly around everywhere.
Meanwhile Egyptian media continues to state tourism has increased by this and that magical number, while failing to report that there are no more tourists at the Pyramids.
Instead of going thru that same lovely experience you might check in at Mena House. The historic Mena House Oberoi hosted Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille and soon maybe you. This hotel has managed to retain its charm. Stylish interior design makes you feel like you have traveled back in time. Having a nice but expensive lunch and a fancy coffee with the Pyramids of Giza in the background will be your reward.
Disappointing travel destinations Casablanca (Morocco) | There are quite a some movies, poems and songs out there that might leave you under the impression, Casablanca is worth the money. If you follow your manipulated inner voice and visit Casablanca, you will soon realize that it is by far the least-interesting place in an otherwise interesting country. Casablanca is nothing but a dumpy business district on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Other than an obscenely expensive mosque that the previous king had built, there’s literally nothing to visit. And this is actually quite surprising because Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco (5 million people).
Only outstanding point of interest: the Hassan II Mosque. It was designed by French architect Michel Pinseau. Situated right on the coast this mosque can host up to 25,000 worshippers. A further 80,000 can be accommodated in the attached courtyard. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 metres (690 feet). Hassan II Mosque is the largest in Africa, and the third-largest in the world. Work on the mosque started in 1980, and was intended to be completed in 1989 – for the 60th birthday of former Moroccan king, Hassan II. However, the building was not inaugurated until 1993. Authorities spent an estimated $800 million in the construction of this site.
What else: Casablanca owns the first skyscraper ever built in Africa – Immeuble Liberté – erected in 1949; a rather ugly building, not worth a picture.
The Moroccan Jewish Museum is the only museum devoted to Judaism in the entire Arab world. Not sure what exactly tranquilized the governing body in charge. Muslim authorities usually turn blue and throw stuff at you when it comes in other religions in general and Judaism in particular. It must have historic roots. Prior to World War II the Jewish population in Morocco was approximately 225,000. During World War II, King Mohammed V protected Moroccan Jews from being sent to concentration camps. Hitler demanded King Mohammed V to hand over the Jews of Morocco. But the King state: “In Morocco we don’t have Jews, we only have Moroccan citizens!”
After the war, a steady stream of immigration of Moroccan Jews to Israel turned into a flood after Morocco’s independence in 1956. Today’s population of Moroccan Jews is considered to number around 10,000 at the most. Since Moroccan independence in 1956, the ruling Alaouite dynasty has continued a tradition of tolerance and support toward the country’s Jewish minority. Hassan II was particularly active in the 1980s in trying to bring peace to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Prime Minister Shimon Peres was the first Israeli government minister to be invited to an Arab country: Morocco.
Countries to Avoid in Africa | The list of Travel Warnings for countries in Africa is endless. From Libya in the north to Lesotho in the south almost every country fills a chapter. But two countries in particular stand out from the crowd:
Countries to Avoid in Africa: Somalia
Countries to Avoid in Africa: Somalia | The so-called Federal Republic of Somalia does not exist as a country in the modern sense of politics and economics. Technically speaking what is described as Somalia has been in an ungoverned region of civil war since 1991 – the year that saw Mohamed Siad Barre and his Somali Democratic Republic fall into a political vacuum. The influence of the current government on Somalia’s 10 million people is at about zero. Somalis employ themselves. The informal economy is in an okayish state. For tourists Somalia would be very very dangerous. Fortunately there are none.
Somalia – What will you miss out on? Nothing. There are neither natural nor cultural sites worth visiting in Somalia.
Countries to Avoid in Africa: Madagascar
Countries to Avoid in Africa: Madagascar | Known for some super gorgeous, unique and diverse landscape, Madagascar provides travelers the opportunity to visit thick jungles, swamps, deserts, and miles of just stunning coast lines. As a tourist you’d be able to view wildlife and nature that you cannot encounter anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately here the story already ends, because Madagascar is politically very unstable, and there are many potential dangers, scams, and annoyances going on in this otherwise beautiful country. You can’t drink water from the tap, you can’t dring local milk or creamer, you can’t eat local meat, you will most likely get either Malaria, Dengue or Chikungunya, or all three diseases at once. There is no functioning public transport, and traffic rules do not exist. The many stray dogs on this island carry rabies. Theft is a wide spread profession. The police will put you in jail if you do not carry your passport. Last not least, in case you have no choice but to travel to Madagascar: Under no circumstances never ever fly Air Mad. You have been warned.
Madagascar – What will you miss out on? For example Ifaty = on the coast of southwest Madagascar. Offshore, a 60-mile long coral reef. And you will miss out on The Avenue of the Baobabs = a group of truly astonishing big baobab trees lining the road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina. Ile Sainte Marie = an island off the east coast of Madagascar with protected bays and inlets that already drew the attention of pirates during the 17th and 18th centuries. The wrecks of several pirate ships can still be viewed from the shallow waters of the Baie des Forbans.
Nefertiti Bust Taken Down | An obviously not-so-perfect replica of the bust famous ancient queen Neferiti sparked an outcry in Egypt, that resulted in taking it down. Initially the intention was honorable: Officials wanted to place something nice and Egyptian at the entrance of Samalut – a city located half way between Cairo and Luxor. Just the artist was not able to master his self-chosen challenge: creating a copy of the famously beautiful bust of Queen Nefertiti. 20 years ago nobody except the local arts teacher might have raised a finger. But now we live in the ago of social media. Pictures of this bust went viral, and the damage was done:
“This is an insult to Nefertiti and to every Egyptian,” … “It should be named ‘ugly tasteless artless statue’… not Nefertiti.” … Many Egyptians felt offended by the failed attempt to replicate the iconic bust directed their anger at the sculptors: “If you don’t know how to make statues don’t go and do something so unfair to the beautiful Nefertiti,” … “Not only are you distorting the present but also the past! I ask that the original bust not be returned from Germany, at least there she’s got her dignity.”
Thousands of Egyptians did use the hashtag “Nefertiti” in Arabic, comparing the replica to the original bust, often using sarcastic captions like this one: “This is how Egyptian art has evolved over the years”.
Queen Nefertiti ruled Egypt alongside her husband in the 14th century before Christ. Her beauty is simply legendary, and her name in fact translates as beautiful woman has arrived. Our modern image of this ancient female role model has been largely shaped by that one single bust which currently feels save in the “Neues Museum” in Berlin, Germany. Unearthed in 1912 its ownership is subject of frequent debates between Egypt and Germany that go back to Hitler’s days. The bust is notable for exemplifying the extremely high understanding Ancient Egyptians had regarding realistic facial proportions. Nevertheless to Egyptians, Nefertiti remains a proud symbol of their country’s impressive history and beauty.
Quite frequently Egyptian authorities demand the return of Queen Nefertiti’s bust from Berlin’s “Neues Museum”. They claim that a guy named Ludwig Borchardt (he uncovered the 3,400-year-old bust in 1912) deliberately misled Egyptian officials about its true value. He must have known it was a bust of the pharaonic-era queen but instead listed it simply as a plaster bust of a princess. There have been demands for a return in 1925, 2007 and 2009. And in 1935 things actually looked pretty promising: Germany agreed to hand it over, but then Adolf Hitler nixed the deal.