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

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

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

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

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Mochachino Mzaar Intercontinental Kferzebian Lebanon ­– 26 December 2017

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Café liégeois Liège, Belgium ­–3 Septembre 2018

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

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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.

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

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

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

The Thimphu Tsechu Festival, Bhutan – 12 October 2016

//Part 8 of 8 //

I’ve always longed to visit this remote kingdom, the Land of Happiness.The opportunity came to fulfill my dream : the Druk Path Trek. Before the inauguration of the asphalt road, this trail was the only route connecting the valley of Paro to the valley of Thimphu through high mountains passes including the Phume La (4210m).

After being off the radar for 5 days, after a lot of “ups and downs “ through breathtaking landscapes, lakes, mountains and valleys, we made it back to civilization as scheduled, in time for the last day of one of the biggest festivals in the country: the Thimphu Tsechu Festival.

This religious festival is held in the capital city for 3 days . Dressed in their best outfits, thousands of people gathered in the courtyard of the famous Tashichho Dzong; by attending it, they are believed to gain merits.

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We weren’t the only foreigners, we could distinguish a few other tourists equally enthralled by the colourful celebrations. It was a rainy day, however that didn’t affect the performers ( monks and commoners).

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Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (8 manifestations of Guru Rinpoche), Shaw Shachi ( Dance of the Stags), and many more are performed.

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That festival was a great finale to an exciting journey in this mountainous kingdom…

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Let the Party Begin

// Part 1 of 8//

Traveling in itself is a rewarding experience, and the icing on the cake is when you witness a particular celebration during your stay. If you do your homework properly, you can time your trip according to annual happenings in your planned destination. We did it when we visited Laos 🇱🇦 for the Boum That Luang Festival, worked it out to be in a Guatemala 🇬🇹 celebrating All Saints Day and next day’s colourful Day of the Dead …and while in Bhutan 🇧🇹, we ended the Druk Path Trek with a big celebration:The Thimphu Tsechu Festival.

However, you might stumble upon such events unknowingly and that’s even better…forget the anticipatory hype and the build-ups, the surprise factor doubles the pleasure and is truly the cherry on top of the icing on the cake..Talking from experiences, twice in Myanmar and 5 times in Peru !!

 


Noviciation Ceremony known as Shinbyu, Pagan, Myanmar – 8 February 2005

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Nat Festival, Mt Popa, Myanmar – 9 February 2005

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Boun That Luang Festival,Vientiane, Laos – 24 November 2007
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The 20th anniversary of the School of Civil Engineering at Universidad Andina Nestor Cáceres Velásquez, Puno, Peru­– 24 October 2011

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All Saints Day, Todos Santos Cuchumatan, Guatemala – 1st­ November 2015 

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The Day of the Dead  Zunil, Guatemala ­– 2nd November 2015

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The Thimphu Tsechu Festival, Thimphu, Bhutan – 12 October 2016

 

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