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Middle East » Qatar » Doha July 18th 2014

It has been a while since I've written anything, but such is the life here. All work and no play (I won't finish that sentence because I'm actually watching a creepy show by myself in the dark...). Anyway. Just a quick breakdown of what has been happening. Work Life Upon returning from our great trip to Oman, I returned straight to work. It has become very busy for us here, even with the summer working hours. During Summertime in the Middle East, and Qatar in particular, you cannot work outside during the hot part of the day: 11:30am to 3:00pm. In addition, Ramadan began at the end of June. You do not know exactly what days Ramadan, or any Islamic holiday, will fall on until the sighting of the moon. In Qatar this typically means that ... read more
Tina's last night
Shannon at the Souk
My new artwork!

Middle East » Iran » North » Zanjan July 16th 2014

Alam-Kandi summers & the Shahsavan nomads of Iran Yes, visiting the nomadic tribes can be amazing especially when they, mostly, do not speak the official language of your own country! :D but seems that translators are everywhere like these beautiful children. :) P.S. I hope that you know the name of official language in Iran is FARSI which is very different from Arabic! ;-) Fortunately, this time we could catch these wonderful nomadic in Alam-Kandi summers ;-) It is always interesting to hear about their lifestyle, drinking tea with them, eating fresh dairy products while being in their tented accommodation! I am very lucky that I had the opportunity to meet a great variety of very kind and friendly people there. These Azeri-Turkish speaking pastoralists migrate between their winter quarters, qishlaq, and their summer quarters, yeylaq! ... read more
me just in front of their tent. unfortunately they were not that much camera friendly
i loved these colors :)
on the way

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beşiktaş July 15th 2014

Yeash, it has been awhile. So for starters, you all haven't missed much. Things have slowed down considerably lately due to high heat, a mid-term exam, and recently being more caught up in little league baseball than the average bear. However, the other day my roommate and I did go on a grand adventure to the Istanbul Modern Art Museum. This was one of the many times I am grateful for being a student in this country, there are so many discounts! Once we were inside we were greeted with a "plane" emerging from one wall, four glass walls puckered with bullet holes surrounding a staircase in the middle of the room leading to the bottom floor, and a mural of colors that covered a wall completely from floor to ceiling. Now personally I have never ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Ephesus July 14th 2014

There were stones piled everywhere. Lengths of columns. building blocks, sections of red-brick arches. Some marked with nomenclature numbers while others had no identifiers at all. Weeds grew between the stones as if they hadn't been moved in a while. We were in Ephesus which is a premier destination for folks visiting Turkey though not many people will spend a night here. Most visitors arrive via tour bus from Izmir and most of these are cruise ship passengers taking a day trip. Ephesus was one of ancient Rome's greatest Asian cities. A fine natural harbor and the commerce it invited supported a population that, at one time, reached between 35,000 and 50,000 residents. Founded by the Greeks around 1,000 BC it didn't reach its zenith until the Romans arrived about 150 BC. After the harbor silted ... read more
Mosaic Floor
Smartest Person In Ephesus
Street To Old Port

Middle East » United Arab Emirates July 13th 2014

In November 2014 we will have been married for 10 years. Looking back so much has happened in those years, its been great, but it was nice to take a break from our life and parental responsibilities and chill out, shop and see some sights in Dubai. After our hectic year Dubai was just what was needed, easy, fun and with lots of Ramadan sales on, lots of shopping was done. Special thanks to my Mum, aka Grandma Lois, who watched our 3 kids, dog, 2 rabbits, 2 tortoises and staff for a week :)... read more
Burj Al Arab at night
Souk shopping at Madinat Jumeirah
Burj Khalifa

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Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Izmir » Konak July 12th 2014

The old Turk reeled in a flailing, silver-gray fish from the clear-blue Aegean water. Three cats waited behind him patiently. The rising sun tracing feline heads in wispy golden-hued halos. Unfortunately for kitty this fisherman had other plans. He stowed his fresh-caught lunch in a Styrofoam cooler strapped to his bike. No worries. There were dozens of women fanning out along the sea-side promenade, filling water bowls and distributing food amongst Izmir's furry denizens. We pulled out of Canakkale on an early morning. The night before we had shared a last meal with Hatice and Neuraz on the waterfront. We will miss them greatly. They showed us every kindness they could, assuring that our time in Turkey was as pleasant as possible. It worked, as Canakkale is now permanently etched into our 'Gotta Go Back There' ... read more
Western Turkey
Hasan Checks The Menu
Matt and Joy

Middle East » Iran » North July 10th 2014

Throne of Solomon, fire&water&earth&wind as gifts of God The world heritage of Takht-e Soleyman (Throne of Solomon) complex was occupied as far back as the 5th Century BC during the Achaemenid period. There are many websites which explained about this historical site in detail. Just google the name and you will find a lot! However, I will tell you a little about it with some practical tips. At the site’s heart is a fortified oval platform rising about 60 meters above the surrounding plain and there are an artesian lake, a Zoroastrian fire temple(6th and 7th centuries), and a Sasanian royal sanctuary. The site has strong symbolic and spiritual significance related to fire and water (the principal reason for its occupation from ancient times) over a period of some 2,500 years. There is also a temple ... read more
this was royal dinning room so feel like a king when you are there ;-)
Start!
door to the throne:D

Middle East » Cyprus » Paphos July 9th 2014

I had an opportunity to visit Cyprus, the pearl of Mediterranean, in May 2002. That was for presenting a paper in an international conference, hosted jointly by the Commonwealth Science & Technology Secretariat and WAITRO. After a change of flights in Dubai I landed in Larnaca, the international port of entry for Cyprus. I headed for Paphos, a resort town in the western part of Cyprus and host city for the conference. The drive along the southern coast of the island was breathtaking with the azure blue Mediterranean Sea keeping company all along! We crossed the port city of Limassol on the way. Limassol also thrives on software development activities thus attracting a sizeable population of expatriate Indians. Smoothly weaving through the hillocks of limestone and plains growing oranges and grapes, the four-lane highway brought us ... read more
Paphos Harbour
Petra Toy Romiou - Birthplace of Aphrodite
Sanctuary of Aphrodite near Paphos

Middle East July 6th 2014

What a great time we had with Adventure Tours as our motor coach traveled through Marion County, Oregon June 26-28, 2014! Thirty-two of us were on our way to the 80-acre Oregon Garden in Silverton, 42 miles south of Portland on Highway 213. This is Willamette Valley fruit and vineyard country. Around noon, on our four-hour drive from Walla Walla to Silverton, we stopped to ride a train through the Hood River Valley. Over 15,000 acres of pear, cherry, and apple trees surround Mt. Hood. At 11,000 feet, the snow-covered mountain glistened in the sunshine. It seemed close enough to touch! I had lunch in the dining car with two new friends, Karen and Margie. We were served Chicken Salad Wraps, tender asparagus, a choice of chocolate cake or cherry cheesecake with a free beverage. As ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beşiktaş July 5th 2014

This time on Darrah's adventures through Istanbul! So yesterday a group of my fellow summer term students and I decided to travel into the Old City so that they (practicing Muslims) could do Friday prayer at the Blue Mosque. To start the day however, I was awoken by the pitter patter of rain against my windows. Maybe it's just the mid-westerner in me but I say it was the best present I could have woken up to here in Turkey. The rain had stopped though when we left around noon as we took a bus, then the tram, to the Blue Mosque. Getting there was easy, getting inside was the same. After covering our heads and shoulders we entered onto the mosque grounds and made our way inside. I have to say that the Blue Mosque, ... read more
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