How To Be Fearless In A Crystal Cabin

It’s good to be a little fearless in life, that way your life will always be an adventure.

When it comes to heights I am a bit of a wuss, but keeping true to my “be fearless”  philosophy I decided to tackle my fear of heights with a ride in the crystal cabin on the island of Lantau, Hong Kong.  The 360 cable car is a popular tourist attraction that takes you on a 5.7km cable car ride over  Tung Chung Bay and up over the North Lantau Country Park to the village of Ngong Ping.  It takes about 25 minutes and in that time you will be treated to spectacular views of Lantau Island, the busy Hong Kong airport and the South China Sea.

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Citygate shopping center, Lantau Harbor
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Higher and higher to wear only birds fly
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Busy and beautiful South China Sea
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At this point the cabin begins to sway as a light wind blows through the valley, fearless..

You have two options to consider when you take the 360 cable car, standard or crystal cabin.  The reason it is called a crystal cabin is because you are practically inside a glass box.  A glass box dangling in sky for 5.7km, it’s like having an extra window except it’s underneath your feet.  Apart from the extra window another great reason to take the crystal cabin is that the line is much shorter than the standard cabin.  The 360 cable car is quite popular and queues can get quite long.  I went early to try to avoid the lines but at 9.30 a.m there were already about 300 people queuing.  They run a pretty smooth operation so the queue moves quite swiftly I only waited in line for about 30 minutes.  The first 15 minutes in the cable  car is a bit daunting but once you get over the unnerving feeling of having nothing under your feet but air you start to feel brave, well I did anyway.  It’s a great feeling to conquer a fear even if it’s just a little one.  Just take a deep breath, smile and stand up, it’s just like flying.

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Standing fearlessly and smiling while I do it
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Birds eye view of the Lantau National Park

Cairo Time

Cairo you make me smile when I think of you.

A city that is home to 23 million people, over 2000 Mosques whose turrets dot the skyline amongst apartments, office buildings and motorways.  This city is a lively one and well worth a visit just for the experience of such a busy, chaotic and at the same time charming city

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The view from the Mosque of Mohammad Ali, Old Cairo

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Tahrir Square, Cairo
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Corner of Tahir Square, Cairo

When I first saw Tahrir Square it looked so different to the images I had seen on the nightly news in 2011 and 2013.  Perhaps the absence of millions of people crowded into the square and main roads during the revolution was why.  My guide showed me a video from the 2013 revolution, like so many others he and his friends went to the square to bring about change they strongly believed was needed.  The 2013 revolution was much larger than 2011 and really shows what can happen when people unite for a single cause, Muslim, Christian, men and women standing strong together.  It was quite surreal  to be standing exactly where this extraordinary event took place and discussing it with someone who was actually there.  As I looked out over the square it was like looking at a completely different place compared to what I had seen on the news.   The grand old Egyptian Museum can be seen with people just going on about their business as normal. However  behind the museum you can see the charred remains of a ministry building set on fire in the 2011 revolutions,  a stark reminder that something big went down.

Recently I watched a documentary film by Jehane Noujaim named The Square that followed the lives of four Egyptians from the 2011 uprising right up to July 2013. This documentary which is banned in Egypt and nominated for an Oscar in 2014 gives a very honest and balanced account of events.  After watching this film and the conversation with my guides I can really understand why the revolutions needed to happen and have the highest respect for the Egyptian people who marched to the square to end a regime in 2011 and a failed president in 2013.

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Cairo has a certain hum to it mainly consisting of traffic and car horns which is interrupted through out the day with the call to prayer.  Cars are not the only wheels on these busy streets, horse and carts, mopeds and fresh pita bred being transported by foot or bicycle will cross your path.  As you wander along the streets you will come across shoe shiners and market stalls selling everything from fresh vegetables to souvenirs.

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Vegetable market on a Cairo street
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Fresh pita bread yummy

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You can stop for a wonderful cup of coffee, indulge in an apple shisha and watch life in Cairo pass you by at one of the many coffee shops through out the city.  There is no shortage of great places to eat and Egyptian cuisine is certainly one the countries great experiences as is the hospitality shown.

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No shortage of coffee shops in Cairo
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Corner shop Cairo
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Local coffee shop, Cairo

When you visit Egypt make sure you take some time to explore this amazing city filled with so many people who are passionate about their vision for the future and love to make visitors feel welcome.  Next time I travel to Egypt I plan to spend more time in Cairo as I know there is so still so many things for me to experience.

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Pyramids of Giza view from Old Cairo