‘Zena and Rambo’ The Red Sea, Egypt

A yacht filled with Brits and us, 2 unbelievably fit “Americans” that seemed to baffle everyone.  It was quite the phenomenon for the first few days they told us until they caught word of us being in the stunt industry. There seemed to be a communal sigh of relief. “OH! Now it makes sense!” was said. The crew got quite a kick out of us as well and started referring to us as Zena and Rambo! Even more entertaining when they can barely speak a word of English.  I guess fitness doesn’t seem to have much of a place in the British or Egyptian lifestyle, but they have quite the sense of humor. We lucked out with a great group of people to be spending 24/7 with for the next 7 days. We hopped on board the Blue Voyager around 4:30 PM on Friday afternoon, were immediately fitted into our dive gear, served a welcome drink, escorted to our sweet little cabin, and told to settle in and make ourselves comfortable! How could we not! Simon’s face was priceless- Bam! -what a way to start our journey! Beckie, our firecracker of a dive instructor, set just the right tone and we knew we were in the perfect hands. Hammerheads being the mission on this dive trip, depth was an issue. Simon only had his Open Water so she recommended he go for his Advanced. Something else he had been wanting to do, so perfect. I, on the other hand, was still struggling with my cold and nervous about how it was going to affect my diving for the week. Having to sit out dives and wait for others to come back and hear all the amazing stuff they saw is not something I do well! Lol. Wiped out from our travels we decided to take a quick nap before dinner and spent the next 2 days taking naps all day long and literally out seconds after every dive. We were ‘neckered’ as the Brits like to call it. Totally wiped. Deep dives, jet leg, dehydration, trouble equalizing, damn cold, sinuses jacked up, trying to absorb Adv. PADI info, we could barely enjoy the luxury life of this amazing yacht! Then we came upon dehydrations sachets and a night of 8 solid hours. Monday came around and we were one with the world again! The itinerary for this trip was, ‘Simply The Best’ consisting of 3 pristine reefs: The Brothers Reef, Daedelus Reef, and Elphinstone Reef. Absolutely phenomenal! Not as much life as we had expected, or everyone else for that matter, but the crew and the service and the spectacular coral all made up for it. Not hundreds of hammerheads like I thought the woman I corresponded with mentioned, but 2 or 3 on each dive at Daedalus. I missed seeing a few up close because my ears got the best of me and I couldn’t descend past 12 feet.  Three minutes into the dive, I’m battling getting past 10 feet, ears screaming in pain, and I look down to my beloved hammerhead just feet away from my dive buddies and Simon. Thank goodness there was 100 ft visibility but I was gutted! I had a mild reverse block on the last dive the night before, but figured a night of rest would have done its charm. There was an outpouring of Sudafed and antibiotic ear medicine and ibuprofen and olive oil remedies and head wraps to keep the ears warm, that just when I thought I might be joining Chris for the rest of the week, I was now on a mission to make sure not one more dive got aborted. Chris burst his eardrum on Day 2, and did as well 2 years ago on the exact same trip. I gave him a lot of credit for cheering everyone on after each dive and putting on a happy face when having to hear everyone’s excited sightings stories. It was hard enough for me to do on one dive, let alone the rest of the trip. So, my ears perked up and a smile made its way back on my face. So much so, that on one of my last dives, Beckie and I practically danced our way through our drift dive. We did the YMCA, sprinkler, the makarena, moonwalk, running sidekicks, and pulled out tons of disco moves. We ascended, barely able to hold our regulators in our mouths from laughing! Beckie and Al, the dive guides, married for 10 years, gave up a secure office life in the UK and have never looked back. Their passion, love for diving and brilliant wit definitely highlighted our stay on board. Wake up, have coffee, dive, eat breakfast, relax, dive, eat lunch, relax, dive, eat dinner, have some beer, sleep and do it all over again is what just happened for 6 days and now it’s on to Luxor, Cairo, desert and 100 degree heat. Simon got his Advanced PADI Certification, we threw down a week on the elegant waters of the Red Sea and thank the Blue Voyager for an unbelievable time! Stay tuned for more!…

Picture credits: Simon and Alice


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‘Destination Hurghada’ Egypt

Harassed by countless taxi drivers, we finalized on one and made our way to the nearest bus station for destination Hurghada. Not speaking a word of Arabic, translation got a little dodgy as our driver stopped, ran out and came back with bought bus tickets for a bus station that was supposed to be a 25 minute drive turned a mere 5 minute drive. He assured us it was for Hurghada leaving at 8 am. What were we to do? Feeling skeptical, the taxi driver grabbed our hands and walked us over to the bus area to put someone in charge of making sure we got on the correct bus. Sure enough, every bus that came through, some local would holler at us to rush and get on it.  All of a sudden, it was everyone’s business to make sure the only foreigners there were well taken care of.  All eyes on us,  we made our way through the chaos in search of some reasonable food that could get us through the next 5 hours, but opted instead for some coffee, very strong coffee, so strong I could barely get it through my teeth. We found a seat on the curb across the way and I turned to see 3 guys staring at us from afar. I waved, and they instantly waved back with giant smiles and sheepishly made their way over. They didn’t speak any English, were still all smiles and continued staring at us, just much closer.  The young boy with them couldn’t take his eyes off our packs, so I asked him if he wanted to try one on for size? Super shy, with sweet little grin, he did a double take to make sure he understood and went straight for my pack. I got him situated, then added the daypacks, and motioned for him to walk around. What a blast! He was beside himself and slammed us a high five! Finally getting closer to 8, we made our way back into line and met DJ Fabric, who actually spoke English we could understand and offered to buy us each a soda. We were taken aback by his kindness! With just enough time to chug our drinks  and break the news to him that we, unfortunately, wouldn’t be around to make it to his gig, we made our way to the back of the bus per our assigned seats and met Hassam, who on the 20 minute break to Hurghada came back with 2 chocolate bars for either of us! How unbelievably thoughtful and generous! He was telling us how long it took him to save up for this bus ride and then he’s buying us food! We had 2 more hours to go and Hassam opened up his computer and shared all of his family pictures. He was extremely passionate on becoming FB friends and helping us out in Hurghada so that we wouldn’t get ripped off by the taxi drivers and insisted on paying for the ride! What?! He wouldn’t take our money, wouldn’t have it any other way and proceeded to walk us to the dive boat to make sure they had our reservation and all was well. We were absolutely blown away by his generosity! He went above and beyond. We couldn’t have had a warmer welcome into Egypt! We tried to buy him a drink or something, but he had to be on his way to meet his sister. So, 2 Long Island Iced Teas, a cold swim in the Marriot pool and when 4:30 hit we stepped aboard the Blue Voyager…..

Picture credits: Simon and Alice

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‘Reunited in Cairo’ Cairo, Egypt

After freezing my ass off at the Toronto airport for a 6 hour layover, literally bundled up in every layer I had in my bag, scarf wrapped around my ears, trying to get some sleep on the ‘oh so clean’ airport floor, the boarding process began and the real excitement started to sink in. In 10 hours I would be reuniting with Simon and our adventure would finally begin! I found myself getting on the plane with a big smile on my face. The boarding ramp was super warm, and had I known, I would have absolutely snuck in there. Definitely going to hit it up on my way back, when my layover gets doubled in time. Ugh. As I’m relishing the heat and making my way to my seat, I get hit with a cold front even worse than the airport. Wow, this is going to be a long day. More ugh. Then these two adorable, curious, little girls plop down next to me and silently watch me pop all my vitamins to assist me in destroying this heinous cold that creeped up on me a week ago. I tried to explain to them that you can’t dive with a cold, and that it must be annihilated by Saturday morning, but the one sitting next to me says, “Don’t you think that the more medication you take the sicker you get?” I concur, but these are hardcore herbs. Smile. I like her. Maybe the flight won’t be that long after all. As soon as I engaged them in conversation, it was a whirlwind of stories and me listening to just about every Selena Gomez and Sambaya songs she could get me to listen to. “Do you know what kind of cats like dogs?” Um…”Crazy cats. Only crazy cats.” Ok. I had a boyfriend once that had a cat who acted like a dog I said. He would play fetch and always bring his toy mouse back. “Why are you not with your boyfriend anymore?”… Not expecting that response, I told her that things just didn’t work out, but we’re friends now. “ Oh, ok, I get it, I’ve seen them do that in the movies”.  But, I have a new boyfriend now and I’m meeting him at the airport. “What’s his name and did you meet him on FB? That’s where I meet all of my friends.” She promptly wanted to see a picture of Simon and she approved. Phew!  “Alice, how do they change clothes so fast in these music videos?” Malek was her name, and she believed it meant the King in Arabic, but her sister quickly added that that wasn’t true. It actually means angel. I was sitting next to a little angel.

Malek and I counted down the minutes together and then cheered every time we got 15 minutes closer. I breezed through customs, so ready to grab my bag and throw my arms around Simon, but luggage took over an hour and my bag was practically the last to make it through. I broke out in a sweat. I’ve only ever had that happen once but it would have been a messy affair if it hadn’t made it, since we had such a tight schedule due to the dive boat itinerary. Anyway, it made it!  I rushed through the doors, scanning through all the locals and no Simon in sight. Now my heart started beating fast. I realized that we had not worked out Plan B and just as I thought this he ran up and kissed me! He flew into another terminal and didn’t realize till about 15 minutes prior that there were other terminals and that I would be flying into one of them. Ha. He said he raced over throwing money at the taxi driver to drive faster. lol  It was great to see his wonderful face so lit up with stories from his layovers in Cairo and Amsterdam. He was full of life!  We were reunited and it was time for our journey to begin!





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One Bucket at a time..

Checking off Alice’s Bucket List is no easy task. It’s filled with generous portions of extreme adventures and it comes with a mission to check off at least one a year! To name a few I’ve been lucky enough to scratch off would include: √ trekking to Everest Base Camp through Tibet, √ swimming with Humpback Whales in Tonga, √ snorkeling with hundreds of Whale Sharks in Mexico, √ climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, √ my first liveaboard experience in the incredible Komodo Islands, √ mud wrestling in the Irvine Lake Mud Run, √ road tripping for 6200 miles on the back of a Harley from LA to Alaska, √ backpacking with my mom and sister through Thailand and Borneo, and the list goes on. Now, here I am,  ready to embark on yet another fun filled adventure of which I hope will include: riding through the Egyptian desert on a camel, running to the top of a Pyramid, diving the Red Sea with hundreds of hammerheads, having a romantic Mediterranean island love affair, rock climbing limestone cliffs in Kalymnos, devouring an incredible 5 course meal in Prague catching up with old friends and volunteering at the Mtdendere orphanage in Malawi. I leave for my trip on June 12th and won’t return for another 7 glorious weeks. But, wait, there’s more to this story…

Let’s go back a couple of months and visualize me sitting home alone. Bummed out. Lack of work, lack of love in my life, lack of air conditioning in my apartment. I’m a sweaty mess that can’t seem to make a move off the couch and I can’t help but start scrolling through my frequent flyer options. I’m on the hunt for incredible climbing meets outstanding diving. Kalymnos, Greece comes to mind with some diving in the Red Sea, not a bad combo I think. Flights are doable, economy savers abundant and being of Libra mind, which means making committed decisions is not exactly a strength, I chose to accomplish something for the day and figured this would be a good a time as any! Commitment made for a one way to Cairo!  For sure auditions and work would be pouring down on me in no time! Unfortunately, and to my surprise, that was not quite the case. Wavering on the return flight, I made a stop at my agent’s office at Sports and Lifestyles Unlimited. Karen Osborn proposed, once again, that I join her in Malawi on a volunteer mission at the Mtdendere Orphanage and help kids through sports. It’s been 5 years that she’s asked me to come along, and it’s never really felt like the right time. I left her office promising I’d check into flights, but felt the odds were near impossible.  No way would I find a one way for 40,000 or less from Africa! Funny enough it turns out that the saver flights from Europe just vanished! Gone! Poof! Two days ago there were tons of options from Athens and Istanbul and Prague and now nothing! How is that possible? Malawi shows up with ONE 40,000 mile option on the day everyone is leaving, August 7th. I sat there staring at it for a good two hours and then had no other choice but to commit! It was meant to be? No? Did phone calls and bookings happen soon after like they usually do? Nope. Nada. Nothing. I”m actually meant to go on this trip? wow.  Then….

I meet this very handsome and rugged, Australian, named Simon Potter at the Taurus Stunt Awards. We hit it off and think hanging out some time would be a great idea. We waste no time – our first date was 2 days later: Paddle boarding in Malibu with a bright and early start (love working out early in the morning – he got bonus points for that btw),  late breakfast on the beach, followed by 2 hours of hardcore boxing at 818 Boxing Gym, and then a fabulous dinner with mutual friends. Not a bad first date huh? Two days later we hang out again, and again it’s fantastic. Why am I meeting him now that I”m going away for 7 weeks? At this point my trip is 3 weeks away. After going into detail about my trip, he says he’s always wanted to hit up Europe and I said, “The you should join me!” Ha! Little did I know – he’s not of Libra mind.  3 days later I get a text saying: “Jet ski sold. check. subletter found. check. Let’s do this! Can we sit down to buy my ticket tomorrow? ” I couldn’t believe it! How fun! But there’s more! When we were looking at tickets, flying to Cairo from LAX was quite a bit cheaper than flying into Europe. But I had myself booked on a livaboard on the Red Sea the day I landed. He took one glimpse at the website and without a doubt wanted in on that too.  I sent the Blue Voyager an email asking if there were any rooms left since I was sharing a cabin with another female. The reply was that there was one cabin left but it was on hold till that night at midnight. If they didn’t book it, it would be ours. We woke up at 6am to a wonderful email saying it’s ours! So it looks like we will be starting our journey with a 5 hour bus ride from Cairo to Hurghada, with I”m sure some crazy taxi rides in between, and hopefully checking off diving with hundreds of hammerheads in our first few days on board! Here’s the link to the “boat”- haha – JT would kill me!  www.blueotwo.com – The Blue Voyager and the link to Simon Potter’s blog: http://newcastle76.tumblr.com Wish us luck and stay tuned!…



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