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: advertised as “massage by blinds”, all the employees in this center were professionally trained visually impaired masseurs and masseuses.

-Sri Lanka : Ayurveda treatments; and the star of them all, the Shirodhara – oil dripping technique.

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

-Maldives: the outdoor picture perfect spectacular setting

-China: relieved me from a chronic back pain in only one session…like magic!

-Thailand: the 2-hour body massage felt like seconds 😳😲

-Madagascar: much needed pampering between hikes

-Costa Rica : excellent “surround sound system” reaching us from the surrounding raiforest🌳…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.

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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 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.

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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 young 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.

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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 ☕️ 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 ☕️ 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…it should fit one specific style and 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 @ The beach tent

Palace cappuccino sprinkled in real 24 carat gold flakes @ Le Café

  Emirates Palace Hotel – Abu Dhabi, UAE 🇦🇪

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Café liégeois- Liège, Belgium 🇧🇪

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Café gourmand 😋 @ Champs-Élysées, and @ Butte aux Cailles-Paris, France 🇫🇷

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Latte @ historic Demel Konditorei (1786)-Vienna, Austria 🇦🇹

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Capuccino italiano @ Villa d’Este – Como, Italy 🇮🇹

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Mochachino @ Mzaar Intercontinental- Kferzebian, Lebanon 🇱🇧

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Coffee with a spectacular view @ Alila – Jabal Akhdar, Oman 🇴🇲

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Tent service “ morning coffee @ campsite between Paro and Thimphu- Bhutan 🇧🇹

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“On cloud nine” coffee – A 380’s lounge, Etihad Airways 🌍

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Kopi Luwak AKA civet coffee – Bali, Indonesia 🇮🇩

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 k

Come On Baby Light My Fire 🌋

2018, Costa Rica, 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.


 

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


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2017, Hawaï, Big Island, Kilauea-1,247m.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…😲

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2017 Hawaï, Maui, Haleakala crater- 3045m. This massive shield volcano forms more than 75% of the island. The western 25% is formed by another volcano.

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2015 Guatemala, lake Atitlan’s famous trio San Pedro’s-3,020m-, Atitlan-3,535m-,& Toliman -3,158m.

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2015, Guatemala, Antigua, 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.

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2015 Japan Honshu 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 🤷🏻‍♀️

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2010, Indonesia, Bali, Mount Batur – 1,717m- is an active Volcano. We left the hotel at 3:00 am; after around 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.

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2008, New Zealand, Auckland, Mount Eden-196m. Thisdormantvolcanic cone overlooks Auckland and offers one of the best views of the city.

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1985, Canary Islands, Tenerife, 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🤷🏻‍♀️🙈😂



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 furtively check the time while helping out the children 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 : 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 ‘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

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Awan Egypt 2016

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Phnom Bakheng Siem Reap Cambodia 2003

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U Bien Bridge Amarapura Myanmar 2005

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South Africa 2009

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Madagascar 2009

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Bali Indonesia 2012

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Ibiza Balearic Islands Spain 2015

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Aswan Egypt 2016

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Hawai USA 2017

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Athens Greece 2018

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Lebanon 2018