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The Six Million Dollar King

President Abraham Lincoln’s Bible vs. a King Tutankhamun (“Tut”) Bust.

Two pieces of history — each carrying the weight of immense national pride for the individual subject — have interestingly, in recent days, moved in opposite directions for its next prized resting place. The Lincoln Bible has been donated by a private collector, legitimately passed down through generations, to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

Conversely, a roughly 3,000-year-old bust of King Tut referred to as “the boy king,” is heading for Christie’s high-end auction block for sale by a private collector. However, the rub is that there is speculation in Egypt that the bust was stolen. Therefore, Christie’s has no right to sell what is viewed by some as a priceless work of art of one of Egypt’s most famous individuals.

Who is right? Christie’s or Cairo?

However you may feel upon reading the following, this actually seems like a question for fictional adventurer and professor of history Indiana Jones or author Dan Brown and his fictional (though based loosely on himself) Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon to resolve.

Or maybe the decision should be up to real art collector and King Tut impression extraordinaire Steve Martin?

Returning back to the real world, Egypt’s only claim appears to be limited to speculation of theft. Still, one has to have sympathy for antiquities professionals in Cairo, like former Egyptian antiquities minister Zahi Hawass, featured in the video above, because of the definitive ambiguity surrounding the sculpture’s origin story. It’s quite difficult to determine a clear right and wrong regarding the near-future ownership of King Tut’s sculpture.

Regardless, the auction took place yesterday at the famous Christie’s auction house, as reported by CBS News.

“A sculpture of King Tut’s head was sold at Christie’s for $6 million Thursday.” 

A prized American treasure of the past, Abraham Lincoln’s Bible is in a museum for all to see while a prized Egyptian treasure of the ancient past, a sculpture of King Tut, will be displayed by a private collector for a restricted audience to witness in awe. This is a fascinating debate on public ownership vs. private ownership and the ever-changing value of art inside the debate of perception vs. reality.

As the legal adage goes, “possession is nine-tenths of the law.”

Unlike King Tut, Cairo’s claim of one-tenth of the law won’t peacefully rest for eternity until the face of its country is returned.

And the rest of us are hoping to serendipitously score an invitation to an exclusive home art show that will display more than just macaroni art on the fridge.

That’s a Wrap (For the Teaser Trailer)

People have an eternal affection for vintage.

Or, in this case, the ancient.

Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe and others have joined forces to bring the world the newest cinematic treatment of ancient Egypt and its magical lore. Deftly titled The Mummy, the first-look (not much of an exaggeration) recently hit the internet.

Looks like Mr. Cruise has yet another mission that seems impossible. The Mummy, depending on the full trailer, may be a movie fans will choose to accept.

What Day is it Again?

Within this rhyming poem are the clues that reveal my specific location.

So many options, which one did I choose?
Of course, it’s the place with the golden views
An adventure for sure, there is no doubt,
the wonderful destination is at the end of the route
The weather is not cold, I will give you that,
the ride may get bumpy, so keep hold of your hat
The deliberate paths don’t ease the confusion,
of fearing the worst: eternal seclusion
Those before you had to do the same,
which is crouching down like the Hunchback of Notre Dame
The darkness proves to be no friend at all,
so be sure to keep your hand on the wall…

And now, without further adieu, I am…

in the Great Pyramid of Giza! 

Taking “This Room Comes with a View” to a New Level

The streets are packed. Bustling with men, women and children, street vendors each attempting to lure customers to their products/food with the branding, “The Best…” and that beautiful girl in between the commotion with a face that stops time like the circus tent scene in the movie “Big Fish.” Bodies are encapsulating me in the narrow space reserved for my family’s walk to our destination. Some of those going about their daily ‘dance of life’ are questioning my families’ very presence. Existing in their bubble of reality can sometimes require an escape in the literal sense (to be more incognito) as well as the metaphorical sense.

How will this chaos stop and change into a friendly place to mingle and get a little lost in? Most times it can be alleviated in just a few predetermined steps. In some cases though, it may require an athletic hop, skip and a jump (as was the case in downtown Cairo).

Whether enduring the camel two-step on the way to the awe-inspiring ancient Pyramids of Egypt or the economic metropolis of Hong Kong with its towering presence, each cannot be fully seen without a proper entrance. Sights of the mythical desert Sphinx, a pristine beach on the Seychelles Islands and the ceiling of a Norwegian barn were crisper, sounds of giant flies in the Australian Outback, crashing waves off the Sydney Harbour and the swoosh of snow while the snowmobile ahead of me is trying to avoid hitting an adult buffalo in Montana were heard with tremendously clear acoustics and smells of spices, fish and heat itself shocked my nose because of how and where I arrived at each of these various locations.

A reservation and simple entrance, made after an exhausted day of traveling in planes, trains and automobiles, can make all the difference in establishing a destiny of an exciting journey or tour bus boredom. It’s the contrast between television’s regular definition and high definition. Quite literally, there is no comparison.

Walking into the right hotel lobby in cities and countries all around the world has repeatedly solidified incredible enjoyment of countless vacations and trips (A quick shout-out and “Thank You” to my parents as I have been very blessed to travel and stay in the places I have). A busy European downtown, Swedish countryside or Canadian ski town can open up and reveal itself in ways so spectacular that they are nearly impossible to observe otherwise. You no longer feel like a visitor or tourist, but as one of the locals. You see small shops on the corner and quickly scurry in to take a gander at the delicious treats. Disguised restaurants down alleyways are discovered and result in being a wonderful adventure in more ways than one. You transform into an unrestrained explorer.

A grand, uniquely original, expensive and inexpensive hotel alike can take your trip and turn it 180 degrees into a once in a lifetime vacation.

My family’s vacation’s have taken me to: the original Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, a Stabbur in Norway, the unforgettable Club SA (Salvation Army) in Reykjavik, Iceland, a hotel next to a prison in Chiang-Rai, a gorgeous beach side resort in Bali, the stunning resort in the Seychelles off the east coast of Africa, a hotel in the jungles of Costa Rica, a hotel literally in the shape of a crocodile in Kakadu National Park in Australia, a hotel in Berlin, Germany where we, no joke, slept in the floor (each room was different & one had coffins…), a castle in Dublin, Ireland, an ultra-modern and high-tech tower of a hotel in Cardiff, Wales (best beds on the planet!), in the middle of the Wahiba Sands desert in Oman in a black and white tent with no electricity and in a room in the docked Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, to name only a few.

Goway Travel Experiences Ltd. online
Ice Hotel
Taber Holidays online
Oman Desert
Condé Nast Traveler online                                    

Rooms that are cramped with bunk beds are not viewed with a heavy sigh, but instead laughed at with amusement. A hidden and ‘experienced’ (code word for old) hotel in the less populated and less glamorous area of the old town can be viewed as a once in a lifetime moment off the beaten track of every other traveler (FYI-Old Dubai and New Dubai are correctly distinguished as such).

But now, I have a much wider view and appreciation of Dubai than most because of the unconventional choice made in regard to the hotel that night.

The decision to stay at a luxurious hotel for a night in Hamburg, Germany during the 2006 World Cup proved to be a sound decision. As luck would have it, the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team was staying at this hotel! It became clear on the drive up that there was something going on or somebody special was staying there because the surrounding area was blocked off with heavy security. Not only was it special to see the players casually walking around, but the room was magnificent. It is without question one of the moments from that trip I will never forget.

Those same jam-packed streets that are reminiscent of episodes of “The Amazing Race” were soon seen as a charming means of visually capturing the culture on the way to a museum with ancient artifacts and treasures. Hotels are vital to not only a night’s sleep, but is directly related to the experience and consequential memories that greatly define our perspectives. They are an important ‘first step’ during trips/vacations.

Perhaps most importantly, the right hotel will grant you a temporary resident’s visa with a uniquely special suspended outlook of the grand nature of a city, town or village. Your acclimation to your new surroundings gin up an adrenaline rush that is both exciting and full of curiosity. There is this freedom of knowing that you are just visiting and that there are very few (if any) consequences to your decisions while staying inside the boundaries of common decency and respect.

It sparks a renaissance within yourself about life and the world.

Even domestically, choosing a hotel is paramount. It was only a few months ago I was in a familiar city: New York. I picked the hotel for its surprisingly affordable price and because of its proximity to Central Park for a concert the next day. Hotel wise, I was staying in a new area and decided to take a stroll on that Friday in the early evening. As a result of the hotel I picked, I happened to walk past (& ultimately returned to) this gentleman on the street who I recognized standing in front of his hotel.

Once again, it was an amazing pleasure to meet you Dave Grohl.

Me and Dave