Are You a Massage Lover?

There are two different types of people: the massage lovers and the others. I belong to the first group and admit having tried almost every kind of massage one might have heard of…yes, wherever my wanderlust bug took me I thrived to indulge in my favorite pastime.

While the “Razzie award” belongs to the Inca massage in Agua Calientes, Peru (it triggered pain in my neck i.e. Brufen was my best friend for quite a few days ), some of the best experiences were in :

Siem Reap, Cambodia – 25 February 2003 : advertised as “massage by blinds”, all the employees in this center were professionally trained visually impaired masseurs and masseuses.

Sri Lanka : Ayurveda treatments

Spice Gardens in Matala, Sri Lanka – 24 February 2004

and the star of them all, the Shirodhara – oil dripping technique 27 March 2017

***

29 March 2017

***

-Bali – 22 August 2012 : yummy treat(ments) i.e. coffee scrubs, chocolate massages…

Maldives – 10 July 2012 : the outdoor picture perfect spectacular setting

Shanghai, China – 4/5 September 2011 : relieved me from a chronic back pain in only one session…like magic!

Chiang Mai, Thailand – 15 November 2007 : Sleep inducing reflexology

– Chiang Mai, Thailand – November 2007 : the 2-hour body massage felt like seconds

Bagan, Myanmar9 February 2005: Room-reflexology

***

Madagascar: much needed pampering between hikes

Reserva Forestal Los Santos, Costa Rica – 22 March 2018 : excellent “surround sound system” reaching us from the surrounding rainforest…chirping birds, cascading waterfall… live, no CD.

However, the one treatment that left me with the strongest impact was closer to home…Yes, here in Abu Dhabi where I enjoy an established yet dynamic routine.

Honestly, I went to the spa at the Emirates Palace out of curiosity…understandably, it’s the most luxurious spa I’ve ever been to. I suspected the tag price to be associated with the lavishness, the splendor of the surroundings.

***

***

I found out it wasn’t exactly true: the treatment was above my expectations…pure bliss is a cliché! Words fail me… I can’t describe the burst of emotions I never knew existed and caused my eyes to well up with tears towards the end of the treatment, once I felt, inch by inch, a warm blanket descending on my back before being left there and covering me like a warm cocoon.

***

Heroin! It’s like heroin! Yes, well suddenly this particular article came to my mind…I read it twelve years ago in a Glamour UK issue while visiting my daughter Sara in Beirut. It was the addiction journal of a teenager who revealed that the first time she tried heroin it felt like she was being enveloped in a warm blanket. I still remember that I thought then and there why wouldn’t she simply envelope herself in a warm blanket instead of letting herself be sucked into the downhill spiral that could have cost her her life?! Strange how our memory works.

***

Anyway, back outside sipping on my minted tea in the relaxing area, a smooth transition before exiting the enchanting “realms of the senses”, I inquired about the “heroin effect ” treatment.  They don’t have it on the menu, it was bespoke! They came up with it when I asked for a “brain teaser” : a relaxing and energizing treatment.

Still under the spell, I left the premises with the feeling that the treatment I just experienced could really lead to a habit, a guilt free and harmless habit.

This Cup of Coffee

This cup of coffee, the morning cup is the “jewel of all coffees “..it has absolutely no match. It simply tastes different…forget the brew, forget the blend, it’s the whole experience…an experience one fails to recreate later on throughout the day; I’ve endeavored to duplicate it though…for a certain period of time I’ve been wondering with each sip of the magic brew whether it tasted as good as the earliest one only to admit the evident: regardless of the place, whether outdoor or indoor, sipping my first coffee in silence seems the most enjoyable mission . This recurrent daily small pleasure is one of the simplest and cheapest life enjoyment, it’s the ritual I look forward to when at night I close my eyes in bed , and despite the build up I’m never disappointed. It’s a selfish pleasure…no company needed…

One home requirement though: the mug…I stick to on specific style and it shouldn’t be heavy, absolutely not…who wants to do weight lifting  in the morning?!

However I have to admit, my morning coffee is not the crowned King of all beverages … I have another daily ritual: the afternoon tea …and that’s another love story.

Arabic coffee, at The Emirates Palace Hotel’s Beach tent, Abu Dhabi UAE7 December 2018

***

Capuccino italiano, Hotel Villa d’Este Cernobbio, Lake Como, Italy ­– 15 July 2016

***

Palace cappuccino sprinkled in real 24-carat gold flakes at Le Café,­ the Emirates Palace Hotel’s – Abu Dhabi UAE 24 April 2015

***

Latte, historic Demel Konditorei (1786) ­Vienna Austria ­– 12 July 2016

 

***

Mochachino Mzaar Intercontinental Kferzebian Lebanon ­– 26 December 2017

***

Café liégeois Liège, Belgium ­–3 Septembre 2018

Café gourmand Champs-Élysées ­– 9 September 2018 & Butte aux Cailles ­– 8 September 2018 Paris, France ­

***

Kopi Luwak AKA civet coffee Bali, Indonesia ­–20 August 2012

It includes partially digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian civet. Coffee producers claim that this process improves the coffee due to the following:

⁃ selection as the civet choose to eat certain cherries only

⁃ digestion affects the composition of the coffee cherry

Although kopi luwak is a form of processing rather than a variety of coffee, it has been called one of the most expensive coffees in the world, with retail prices reaching US$700 per kg.

***

Coffee with a spectacular view Hotel Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman ­– 13 October 2017

***

Tent service “morning coffee” campsite between Paro and Thimphu, Bhutan ­– 11 October 2016

***

“On cloud nine” coffee between London-Abu Dhabi, Airbus A380’s lounge Etihad Airways – 18 October 2018

Come On Baby Light My Fire

Rincon de la Vieja -1,916m. It has 9 craters and a large number of fumaroles and hot springs on its slopes. The name means “The Old Woman’s Corner”, a reference to a local legend about a girl whose lover was thrown into the crater by her father. She became a recluse living on the mountain, and was credited with powers of healing Costa Rica – 18 March 2018,
  *** 

 Arenal -1,670m. This conic volcano has a crater 140 m in diameter. We made it in time for the sunset Costa Rica – 15 March 2018

                                                                      ***
Kilauea1,247m.We were lucky it was active. The hotel concierge advised us to take our chances and head there instead of calling the monitoring center to inquire about the volcano’s activity because that may be misleading as by the time we reach there the eruption might be over. Later on, we followed some other tourists’ recommendation and biked, then hiked in a pitch-black night to observe the incandescent lava flowing into the ocean Hawaï, Big Island – 24 April 2017
                                                                      ***

Haleakala crater- 3045m. This massive shield volcano forms more than 75% of the island. Another volcano forms the western 25%., Maui, Hawaï – 20 April 2017
                                                                      ***
Lake Atitlan’s famous trio San Pedro’s-3,020m-, Atitlan-3,535m-, & Toliman -3,158m. Guatemala31 October 2015
                                                                      ***
Agua 3,760m. This almost perfect cone is covered with a thick vegetation like many other volcanoes in Guatemala. On the right side, the volcano Fuego (3,763) is constantly spewing small ash clouds- last major eruption was in 1974. Antigua, Guatemala – 29 October 2015  
                                                                      ***
Mount Fuji 3,776m. This iconic conic snow-topped volcano is the highest mountain in Japan, and a World Heritage site since 2013. Majestic, despite the works beneath Honshu, Japan – 28 March 2015
                                                                      ***
2010, Indonesia, Bali, Mount Batur – 1,717m- is an active Volcano. We left the hotel at 3:00 am; after around a 2 hours hike we reached the caldera and along with another friend, I resumed the last leg up to the peak- another half hour. From our promontory we watched silently the sunrise bringing life to the still life around us.
                                                                      ***
Mount Eden-196m. This dormant volcanic cone overlooks Auckland and offers one of the best views of the city Auckland, New Zealand – 8 April 2008,
                                                                      ***

Mount Teide – 3,718m. According to hubby, the honeymoon turned out to be more like a boot camp…day tours and night shows: barely few hours’ sleep Tenerife, Canary Islands – 16 July 1985




My Secret Lover

This is for all the good times I enjoyed with my secret lover. Yes, I’m admitting it now, I’ve had one for many many years.

This relationship only brought me extreme happiness and fond memories. I still remember how I used to check furtively the time while helping the children out with their homework.  I’d steal a glance at my watch longing for our daily dates then I’d rush quickly – literally running outside  – in anticipation of the strong emotions I’d feel whenever I feast my eyes on my lover…and because being one minute late meant I’d be stood up!!

I didn’t mind this zero tolerance stance because of the flexibility I was allowed: my love never missed a date, followed me everywhere even to Lebanon and didn’t mind if I was too busy to show up!

The other thing I enjoyed about my lover: I could be myself; I didn’t have to dress up for our daily date…casual outfit, no salon visit.

How convenient is that!

How did I manage to keep this relationship going on for so long? Honestly it wasn’t arduous despite my lover ‘s dynamic schedule (a fluctuation range of one and a half hour plus or minus ) for I was fortunate we lived conveniently near the Corniche so I cleverly timed my routine jog according to our daily dates.

Our relationship came to an abrupt halt when we relocated to a new house, quite distant from the Corniche…just like that.

For all those waiting for me to reveal the identity of my secret lover, sorry to disappoint, no juicy info: it’s the Sun right before it sets…

Well it must be something really out of this world to be able to compete with my hombre

22688876_10208156685234289_5549900175311255468_n

Aswan Egypt – 4 December 2016

03BB83F7-8F64-406E-BEB5-1559E3137E0D
Phnom Bakheng, Siem Reap Cambodia – 26 February 2003

5485922C-C761-4D77-9CA7-4297AD082B90
U Bien Bridge Amarapura Myanmar – 5 February 2005

95B73A91-F0A6-4938-8761-A64E77490699
South Africa – 12 April 2009

8502BF50-9F2B-439C-9F7C-0D167525F4DA
The Canal des Pangalanes Manakara Madagascar – 8 May 2009

AC674766-4A6B-4F56-A488-AD9439EB1636
Bali Indonesia – 20 August 2012

0EAC3014-B434-4BD8-A82D-4D53147B6FCB
Sant Josep de Sa Talaia Ibiza Spain – 14 June 2015

C1798EC3-2924-44A4-B1C7-73B9123D782C
Temple of Kom Ombo Aswan Egypt – 5 December 2016

D6C31AFD-33FC-4EB8-8596-E4D33B241C11
Duke Kahanamoku Beach Hawai USA – 23 April 2017

EE7BA3EF-8EFF-4E2D-860F-1D08099BFF0E
Athens Greece – 4 April 2018

DA2A15A0-F7D1-4300-9F20-5EAEED51F38F
Bhamdoun, Lebanon – 19 August 2018