Blogs from Middle East - page 870


Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai December 24th 2006

Whenever we had an icy cold shower or no shower at all, or got leg cramps from using squat toilets, James and I would say just one word: ‘Jumeirah’. The hotel was intended to be our little slice of luxury on this trip. It turned out to be a massive wedge of indulgence! We left our hostel and headed for the airport (reason: free pickup by the hotel only available from the airport, and it was cheaper to get a taxi to the airport than to the hotel). Once there we met our driver who loaded our gear into our transfer car, a top of the line Mercedes van. We sat quite happily on our leather seats, adjusted our headrests and started reading the complimentary newspapers. It took us about 30 minutes to get to our ... read more
Check out our fancy bathroom!
View from our room
James checking our emails on the television

Middle East » Yemen » Sana'a December 24th 2006

Yemen - part I Hello everybody, finally I've now arrived in Yemen's capitol Sana'a. But to tell you the truth for a long time I thought this vacation was lost to me. Actually this story started before I took off from Stockholm International Airport the day before yesterday. It started when I applied for my visa to Yemen. I started looking for information on how to get a visa already one month ago. The problem is Yemen doesn't have any embassy in such a small an insignificant country as Sweden. So I have to apply for visa elsewhere. But where and how was my worries a month ago. After some looking I learnt that the Yemenia Airlines office in Stockholm can arrange for a visa application to be sent to London. I applied for the visa, ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem December 24th 2006

David here. Rabbi Hachen will be back tomorrow. Today was another incredible day with sunshine all day long. We were on the run from the very start. We heard speakers about the success and struggles of Reform Judaism and I was very proud as Rachel received a mounted certificate acknowledging the Butterflies she collected from our Religious school. There is a program here where they are trying to collect 1.5 million drawn paper butterflies, decorated by children to remember that same amount of children who perished in the Holocaust. While this is not a pleasant subject it is gratifying to see my daughter begin to learn the importance of not forgetting this horrible time. From there we went to the old city and before going to the Jewish quarter we saw the place that is recognized ... read more

Middle East » Israel » South District December 24th 2006

Hello!! Happy belated Chanukah!! And Merry Christmas (tonight)!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. I had a great Chanukah here in Israel. The first night also happened to be Shabbat, so me, my roommate Vanessa and our friend Yonatan made shabbat dinner together. I made latkes for Chanukah and chicken. Ok, well I cooked, and they helped, hehe. I am the cook of the group, and I enjoy cooking, so it works out well, cuz then they have to clean up! hehe. So we lit the Chanukah candles, and sang some songs, and had a lot of fun. It was really nice. We lit candles every night at our apartment, and it was nice. Chanukah is not a big deal here. Its not a huge deal really in Judaism, but its made to ... read more
the spring at ein ovdat
the view from the top of ein ovdat
fire dance performance

Middle East » Turkey December 24th 2006

Woke up in the abandoned building feeling nice and refreshed. To be greeted by a bone crunching 7km up hill climb. Joy to the world. But stopped near the top for a famous Bellen kebap. Good stuff and good fuel for the engine. Were greeted at the top of the mountain by a belting 10km downhill run. Smashed it. reached about 70 km/h passed a stack of trucks and buses on the way down. Cruised into Antakya. A very historic city. Look it up on the web there's some stuff there I couldnt be bothered plagerising. Aiming to be in Syria in the next couple of days. Bit of a homesick bunny today. (Blog fatigue has set in as you can see. Writing this now on the 2nd feb in Turkety. İts snowing outside. Uncool.) ... read more


Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra December 23rd 2006

There is only a very early morning bus and a mid-afternoon one going to Amman from Damascus and I missed the early morning one so I had to negotiate a taxi. I found a indian-british guy who was heading the same way so we teamed up and after an hour of waiting managed to get enough people to fill the cab. We made it quite quickly to the border where the driver greased our way through with a little bakhsheesh so we didn't have to wait for the hordes of turks that were ahead of us. Arriving in Amman I managed to get a cab right away to the bus station I wanted to take. As mentioned in my previous blog I didn't want to linger too long in Jordan, not because the country didn't interest ... read more
Petra's rock
Around Petra

Middle East » Iraq December 23rd 2006

Dear Friends Things have been pretty bad here. We lost two soldiers earlier this week. I knew one of them. He was a good fighter - better than me, and we practiced combatives together a few times. He was a nice guy. I pray for his family. I didn’t know the other man, but I pray God will comfort his family, too. It hit me pretty hard, and sobered me up. What if that had been one of the guys here? What if I hadn’t shared the love of Christ with them? God sent me here on a mission, and I must be on “duty” for Him all the time. It’s been a few days now, and time and busyness go a long way to dampen the impact. We also got a ton of mail yesterday, ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem December 23rd 2006

Shabbat has ended, very full day. It began at Ben Gurion airport in Lod (near Tel Aviv). I arrived first, and then waited for the two other families from Temple Beth El. They flew from Newark; me -- from JFK. Won't bore you with flight details, suffice it to say that I made it along with 4 duffels of stuffed bears and children's clothes which are donations for children in Israel. The bears were collected by Amanda B., the clothes by temple members (thanks Nursery School!) And in spite of some last minute fooling around by Continental Airlines, the whole Paster family made it on the plane! As I waited for the Beth El folks to arrive (I was an hour earlier), Chanukah began -- last night. Some airport workers pulled out a chanukiah (menorah) and ... read more

Middle East » Turkey December 23rd 2006

Another day on the bike. In agreeing to do this trip I was always a bit worried that I wouldnt really be into the bike riding side of things. Sure it sounded good, riding from town to town having adventures and solving mysteries but from other experiences I also knew it would be a hard slog. Constantly getting up each day and riding for long periods of time, eating basic food and covering in one day what, on a bus, would take about 1 hour to do. But I think it was sometime during this day I started to find my groove. My legs were much stronger, I was feeling more energised and the hospitality and general interest shown towards us was much greater and more welcomming than that shown to the tourist cruising through on ... read more

Middle East » Qatar » Doha December 23rd 2006

I wasn't sure how long it would take to get my work done at the undisclosed location, so I didn't book a return until Friday evening. That means that today was a free day in Doha. I took advantage of the spare time to sleep in, but I'm over the jet lag thing apparently. I was out of bed by 8:00. Oh well, at least I'll get to suffer when I get back home on Saturday. I went out and decided to head toward the Corniche. I was excited to see restaurants at the end of the Dhow pier, but as I approached, it was obvious they were closed and being torn down. By the time I got back to an area that had restaurants, they were closed. I was able to get some street food: ... read more
digital minaret
The Maharaja
Back at the souqs

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