The World 🌍 🌎 Seen From …

Exploring the world 🌍 🌎from different perspectives, be it:

riding

1️⃣a donkey while in Tenerife, Canary Islands 🇮🇨 – July1985

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2️⃣an elephant in Chiang Mai, Thailand 🇹🇭 – November 2007

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3️⃣a camel in Norita campsite, Uzbekistan 🇺🇿 May 2008

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sitting in:

4️⃣a carriage in Fontainebleau, France 🇫🇷 1986

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5️⃣a rickshaw in Vietnam 🇻🇳 March 2001

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6️⃣an ox cart in Madagascar 🇲🇬 May 2009

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7️⃣diving underwater in the Maldives 🇲🇻 July 2012

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8️⃣climbing up mountains in Bhutan 🇧🇹 October 2016

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or

9️⃣rising higher up above in a hot air balloon in Luxor, Egypt 🇪🇬 December 2016

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 😉

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 🏋️‍♀️ 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 🚿 and ☕️ in the garden listening to the chirping 🐦

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 🇲🇺 2014

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Le Negresco Hotel – Nice, France 🇫🇷 2014

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Lake Palace Hotel – Udaipur, India 🇮🇳 1998

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Riads – Marrakech and Fès, Morocco 🇲🇦 2016

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Shwe Inn Tha Floating Resort – Inlay Lake, Myanmar 🇲🇲 2005

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Beach bungalow Hotel Vanille – Manakara, Madagascar 🇲🇬 2009

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Local’s casa- Amantani Island, Peru 🇵🇪 2011

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Wooden boat – Mekong, Vietnam 🇻🇳 2001

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Nurata Yurt Campsite, Uzbekistan 🇺🇿 2008

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Campsites between Paro and Thimphu, Bhutan 🇧🇹 2016

From Place to Place

From place to place
Beauty standards change
Black, gold or white
A smile is a smile
Tattooed, toothless or carmine
It makes young and old shine
😄😄😄😄😄 

Vietnam 🇻🇳 2001 Applying black lacquer on the teeth of young coming-of-age women was a very popular rite of passage.

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Uzbekistan 🇺🇿 2007 Gold teeth are a traditional status symbol.

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Tea plucker – Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 2004

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Myanmar 🇲🇲 2005

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Laos 🇱🇦 2007

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Madagascar 🇲🇬 2009

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Peru 🇵🇪 2011

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Guatemala 🇬🇹 2013

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Laos 🇱🇦 2007

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Bhutan 🇧🇹 2016 Carmine or brown red teeth colour are a side effect of chewing betel nut, a very commun practice in SE Asia.

It’s a Wild Wild World

🇺🇸•🇰🇳•🇵🇷•🇭🇹•🇲🇽

// Part 4 of 7 //

Off the Riviera Maya, while snorkelling in the waters of the second largest coral reef between the “butterflies of the oceans” – stingrays – I felt overwhelmed by a feeling of sadness triggered by the following thought… I realised I ❤️ all creatures except the Homo Sapiens found in my birth country: the rulers and those electing them…the greedy and corrupt as well as the ignorants and bigots who put them in power…

The maligned animals of prey hunt out of hunger, ONLY…if they were to duplicate those Homo Sapiens’ greedy and auto-destructive behaviour, many species would have been extinct by now…

South Africa

After reflection, I realised I didn’t feel that way during the previous encounters with the animals in their natural habitat…

South Africa

On the contrary, I had some of the most exhilarating experiences while scuba diving in the beautiful Great Barrier Reef 🇦🇺 ( crossed paths with a white tip shark 🦈 )

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in the Maldives 🇲🇻

and in Sharm El Sheikh 🇪🇬…

Ditto on terra firma during our safari in South Africa 🇿🇦 

as well in Madagascar’s tropical rainforest 🇲🇬

and again in the Andes mountains in Peru’s Alto Plano 🇵🇪

and lately in Costa Rica’s cloud forest 🇨🇷 …

My moodiness must have been induced by the elections taking place at the time in my birth country…this charade had affected me despite the disttance…

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