Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde Sans The Evil Streak …a Woman of Many Contradictions

My sister once said to me, you are like Lebanon, the country of contradictions…

You are devout and a party animal… you endeavor to practice your 5 daily prayers and more, the beautiful voice of one specific muezzin makes you stop everything to listen to his beautiful call for prayer, but again certain songs can pull you to the dance floor with shameless abandon…

Your friends? Social butterflies and literati. You are equally pleased in the company of the younger in their 30s as well as the older with experience in their 80s.

What else? I love a good workout as much as I love farniente. I enjoy living in the fast lane, enjoy the adrenaline that helps me cope with a hectic lifestyle but equally enjoy a relaxing morning just catching up on the world or reading a catching book, staying home and not having any planned outings…

In the morning, I look forward to the peace and quiet of the night and the rituals preceding the “machine switch off” while at night I look forward to the morning “waking up process” and its routine – a warm shower and coffee in the garden listening to the chirping birds.

These contradictions must be explained by the following: my yin and yang DNA is probably the “joint account “of 2 extremely different ancestors.

Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I enjoy the luxury of 5* hotels as much as I enjoyed the overnight homestay in Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca in Peru , the shared sleeping accommodation – we were 12 – of a wooden boat during a Mekong cruise in Vietnam, the rudimentary comfort of a traditional yurt in Uzbekistan, and camping in Bhutan under torrential rain  i.e. muddy terrain.

Anyone like me?

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Four Seasons Hotel Anahita, Mauritius –3/6 December 2014

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Le Negresco Hotel Nice, France – 14 June 2014 

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Lake Palace Hotel Udaipur, India –15 February 1998

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Riads, Morocco – 6/14 April 2016

Les Jardins de Shehrazad Fès 7/8 April         Riad Nashira Marrakech 10/12 April

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Shwe Inn Tha Floating Resort, Inlay Lake Myanmar – 10/11 February 2005

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Beach bungalow Hotel Vanille, Manakara Madagascar – 8 May 2009

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Local’s casa, Amantani Island Peru – 22 October 2011

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Wooden boat, Mekong Vietnam – 22/24 February 2003

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Yurt Campsite, Nurata Uzbekistan – 8 May 2008

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Campsites between Paro and Thimphu, Bhutan – 8/11 October 2016

Dressing up

Dressing like the locals gives you a feel of the place, whether for:

-a photoshoot: India, China, Peru and Japan

-modeling the outfit for your travel companions: Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan and Guatemala

-going out for dinner: Cambodia

-dressing up as an empress for dinner in a “palace turned restaurant”: Vietnam,

Or for the whole stay: Iran.

7F20F976-E068-4F14-AFD2-80A61A436855Udaipur, India – 16 February 1998

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Beijing 31 August 2011   China   25 Cheng Du April 2012

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Lake Titicaca, Peru – 21 October 2011

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Kyoto, Japan – 2 April 2015

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Sri Lanka – 24 February 2004

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Uzbekistan –7 May 2007

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Guatemala – 30 October 2015

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Siem Reap, Cambodia – 26 February 2003

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Hue, Vietnam – 16 March 2001

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Shiraz 28, Isaphan 30 Apr 2003 Iran Kangavar 9 May 2001         

 

Wonders of the World

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// Part 3 of 7 //

As of May 2018:

63 countries

6 New Wonders of the World out of 7

I hope it’s not a pattern; Brazil has been on top of my bucket list for so long! I don’t want to visit 7 more countries before I get to see the 7th.

The Roman Colosseum, Italy – 24 July 1993

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Taj Mahal, India – 10 February 1998

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Petra, Jordan – 3 September 2001

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Great Wall of China –2 September 2011

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Machu Picchu, Peru – 26 October 2011

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Chichen Itza, Mexico – 7 May 2018

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The Great Pyramid of Giza Egypt7 December 2016    Why?

Somehow I feel it belongs… I just couldn’t rule out of my “Wonders’ List” the oldest and only vestige – remarkably quasi intact – from the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World !