Most tourists go to Havana, Trinidad or maybe Santiago de Cuba. Hidden in the middle of these three cities are Camagüey. This is Cuba’s third largest city on dusty plains in the middle of nowhere. Camagüey is a long way from Trinidad but even longer from Havana or Santiago de Cuba. For me it was an eight hour long bus ride from Santiago de Cuba arriving at the hotel in the middle of the night. Most people go to bed at that time but Camagüey fantastic photographic opportunities surprised me. It was darkness like a Charles Dickens city with colors, shades and reflections from the colonial buildings. I grab my camera and tripod for a several hour long stroll through the darky Camagüey.
If interested in Cuban music one should go to Santiago de Cuba. This is the swinging city of Caribbean music particularly just before and during the carnival. Santiago de Cuba is a hotter more vibrant city than the more cool and relaxed Havana. Havana has the amazing old architecture while Santiago de Cuba has the fabulous music. The Patio de Artex is one of the wonderful music clubs along Calle Heredia on the way down to Parque Céspedes. On the square old men playing different instruments are trying to fork out some CUC: s from visiting tourists. A cross Parque Céspedes one can find Casa de Don Diego Velázquez museum. Even the museum has their performing musicians a couple of times a week.
Bagan is South East Asia most important tourist site in the same league as Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Bagan is divided between New Bagan called Nyaungu and Old Bagan. In Nyangungu one can find all the services of a town, police station, hospital, market, restaurants and the cheaper accommodations. This is the arriving point for the buses from other cities. Old Bagan is in a bend of Ayeyarwaddy River several kilometers southeast of Nyaungu. In this part of Bagan are all the better hotels with higher standards since it is closer to all the old famous Padogas and temples of Bagan. I arrived in the middle of the night in NyaungU so I stayed overnight at In Wa Guest house. They offered a nice room with air-condition, toilet, shower and beddings for 5 US$ (2007). This was dirt cheap compared to our guest houses charging 20US$ for the same standard.
The mighty Kanadan River flows through the Rakhine state of Myanmar into the Bay of Bengal. The area around Kanadan River was once the most important farming area of the whole mainland South East Asia feeding millions of people with rice. After the British walk out of Burma leaving Myanmar to be ruled by despots of different kinds this farming area has dwindled from its glory days. Nowadays it can´t even support its own inhabitants with rice for the day, maybe not even bring rice to the people of Rakhine state. For the brave few backpackers who dares to go to the remotest corner of the world it has been a wet dream to do the Kanadan river journey. I turned this wet dream into an unusually wet river journey in the rainy season of 2007. Are you thinking about going? Please dream on Rakhine state are now closed and the Kanadan River Journey impossible. I will keep feeding your dreams with pictures and ideas from my river journey on Kanadan River.
If you are staying in Madaba it´s possible to make a very nice round tour to different sites of Dead Sea area. This can be done by taxi or rental car. Drive south out of Madaba following the ancient King Highway to Libb.
In Libb turn right to Mukhawir and continue for about 15 km until you come up on a high ridge with a splendid view over the Dead Sea and Herod’s the Great Palace of Machaerus ruin. This is the place there Salome danced her famous seductive dance for King Herod.
My flight from Vienna in Austria arrived at 01:35 in the middle of the night at Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan. My choice for the night was Mariam hotel in Madaba. Madaba is only 18 km from the airport and located south west of Amman. This is a centrally located base for travelling around Jordan and even for a visit to Jerusalem. Read more
I used Madaba and Mariam hotel as a base for my travelling in Jordan. The best strategy for travelling long distances in Jordan is renting a car. A rental car work out far cheaper than Mariam hotels very cheap taxi deals on long distance travelling. You might think it´s difficult to drive in Jordan? I can say it´s surprisingly easy! It´s also very safe, Jordan has few accidents and many speed bumps. This brings the speed down in road crossings. As a matter of fact there are two speed bumps in every road crossing on the main roads. Jordan has millions of speed bumps.