Blogs from Middle East - page 6

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Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran December 24th 2018

Twenty years ago, if someone had told me that I'd one day be going to Iran, I would never have believed it. In fact even now I was met with raised eyebrows when I told friends and colleagues of my holiday plans. Requiring a deal with major world powers to curb nuclear ambitions, being a conservative Islamic republic and having recently and arbitrarily detained foreign nationals, the country gets a bit of a bad rap in Western media but even taking this into account, I was still slightly concerned about what might happen to me while over there. But then on the other hand, I had heard of many tourists who had been there and I had never heard anyone say a single bad word about it; only that the food was amazing, the architecture beautiful ... read more
Darband
Emarat-e Badgir
Tabiat Bridge

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai December 23rd 2018

Am Sonntag durften wir zum Glück bis etwa Mittag ausschlafen, nachdem wir ja erst um 02:00 Uhr ins Bett gekommen sind. Um 12:30 sind wir mit dem Bus los gefahren. Zuerst haben wir die Jumeirah Moschee von außen angesehen. Dann sind wir in die Altstadt und haben im Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding zu Mittag gegessen und haben einem Vortrag zur Dubai gelauscht. Danach sind wir durch historischen den Al Fahidi Distrikt spaziert, wo wir auch Reste der Stadtmauer gesehen und ein altes Haus mit Innenhof besichtigt haben. Im Anschluss daran haben wir das Dubai Museum in einem alten Fort besichtigt. Von dort sind wir bis vor den Palast des Sultans von Dubai gefahren und haben dort Fotos gemacht. Dann sind wir zurück zur Altstadt und haben mit einem Boot über den Creek übergesetzt. Danach ... read more
Jumeirah Moschee.
Das arabische Mittagessen.
Gewürz- und Goldmarkt.

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Hebron December 23rd 2018

Da un po di tempo non esistono fine settimana per il popolo palestinese, eterno perdente nella lotta contro Israele e piu' in generale contro tutta l'opinione pubblica mondiale; troppo complessi i problemi e troppo stratificate le conseguenze per poterne trarre un giudizio saggio ed equilibrato, inutile chiedere ai rispettivi protagonisti un'opinione imparziale e distaccata dai propri interessi, e non saro' di certo io qui ad ipotizzarne una soluzione: troppo superiori gli israeliani e troppo grande il cuore dei palestinesi per affrontare quest' impresa. Inutile anche fare una breve introduzione alla questione perche', come qualcuno mi ha fatto notare in questi giorni (sta a voi capire se israeliano o palestinese...), la storia non puo' essere raccontata a partire da una certa data ma deve sempre essere narrata dall'inizio e quindi, trattandosi nello specifico di una storia particolarmen ... read more
Hebron /Al Khalil
Il muro a Betlemme
Tomba dei patriarchi / Moschea di Ibrahim

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai December 22nd 2018

Nachdem ich aufgrund von Bedenken 13 Jahre lang nicht mit dem Flugzeug geflogen bin, habe ich jetzt wieder einen Versuch gestartet. Zuvor bin ich am Freitag vor Weihnachten ohne Probleme von Niedersachsen nach Frankfurt mit dem Zug gefahren. Der war gar nicht mal voll besetzt. In der Mainmetropole angekommen bin ich zu einem netten 5-Sterne-Hotel am Flussufer und habe eingecheckt und mein Zimmer bezogen. Dabei hatte ich einen Sparpreis gebucht und sogar einen Upgrade auf Superior Room bekommen. Dieser hatte auch eine Badewanne. Dann bin ich am Mainufer entlang zum Römer und habe mir die neue Altstadt angesehen. Die wurde ja nach meinem letzten Besuch eröffnet und ist sehr schön. Anschließend habe ich eine Feuerzangenbowle getrunken und wieder einmal gebrannte Mandeln gekauft. Den Abend habe ich dann noch mit Computerspielen und Fernsehen verbracht, bevor ich zeitig ... read more
Der schöne Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt.
Blick von meinem Hotelzimmer in Frankfurt.
Blick von meinem Hotelzimmer in Frankfurt.

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem December 15th 2018

"Non è la prima volta e non sara' l'ultima. Ma ieri e' corso il sangue dentro la Basilica del Santo Sepolcro dopo che l'ennesima disputa tra pope greco -ortodossi e monaci armeni e' degenerata in una rissa da saloon, a calci e pugni, ceri branditi come bastoni, tabernacoli rivoltati, inseguimenti e agguati nella penombra delle navate, i pellegrini in fuga terrorizzati. Con intervento finale della polizia israeliana in tenuta antisommossa e arresto di due tra i piu' focosi contendenti." No, non e' la prima volta e non sara' nemmeno l'ultima che il Mercante vi racconta cazzate ma in questo caso e' tutto vero: il virgolettato e' preso parola per parola da La Repubblica del 10 Novembre 2008 e comunque questo genere di "battibecchi" sono davvero frequenti. Ma come siamo messi quest'anno in vista del Sacro Natale? ... read more
Cupola della Roccia
Muro del Pianto
Tel  Aviv vista da Jaffa

Middle East » Jordan » North December 8th 2018

Day 18: 'Dougie at the Mosque' is how I shall remember today. While a quick tour of Doha was good (and eerily quiet of tourist's), and having company (Kaitlyn) helps majorly with logistics, I think my 40 minutes with 'Dougie the converted' will resonate for years. Entered the national mosque to be met with dismissive Arabians who said I cannot enter due to my shorts being 2cm too high - a lower waistband in it by my reckoning. Then my Lord and saviour, Dougie from Surrey, comes out and says he'd take on the burden of potential backlash from elders. Thick British accent, grey-browny hair to the top of shoulders and strawy beard (no moustache though). Surprisingly colloquial chat, but great to learn about the place. Then the speakers roared into action and the chat was ... read more
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Middle East » Jordan » South » Aqaba December 4th 2018

We are looking back at a few great weeks although it took a bit of effort from our side to fall in love with Jordan and the Jordanians. Maybe it's because we could let our guards down completely for such a long time in Iran that now suddenly we feel we are the subject of scams and tourist traps or at least not always very friendly attempts of the locals working with tourists to get more of our money without delivering any service, product or value at all. Suddenly we are the target of an army of men trying to sell us something we don't want for too high a price. If we don't specifically ask on beforehand about the exact price we know for sure we will end up in an argument about a suddenly ... read more
Amman
Amman
Amman

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Abu Dhabi November 27th 2018

A lie in was had after the late night last night. Bethany and Nick were still asleep by the time I got up and showered. Once dressed I started my usual routine of getting some cups of coffee. I sat out on the balcony to start my blog I hadn’t written the night before. The air was humid from the rain that had hit the main island the night before and I lazily lay back on the balcony furniture whilst recalling an exciting, exhilarating and a once in a lifetime day. The moment of the race that stood out for me was the three world Champions (Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso) doing donuts on the start finish straight. A great tribute to allow Alonso to join them after a terrible few years with McLaren. He will be ... read more
Abu Dhabi Hill
Sunset from the stand
the not quite Red arrows

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Abu Dhabi November 25th 2018

I wake up in panic. There is a knock on the door. Jesus have I overslept. I stagger bleary eyed to the door to find Lisa. “You wanted me to wake you for your run”. This was not mentioned the night before and it was apparent that Lisa had dreamt the whole thing. She apologised and I close the door I collapse back into bed look at my phone and it is just after 6am. Having got to sleep at 2 am last night I receded back into sleep until my alarm went off at 9.30. The usual morning routine takes place. I shower, dress and sit down for a cup of percolated coffee before departing to Denny’s to get our fill before we get the taxi to Yas Island. Today is race day and as ... read more

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Abu Dhabi November 24th 2018

The alarm went off at 8am and I roll over and switch it off remembering the texts my wife was sending me a few hours before. Probably not appreciating the 4 hour time difference she seemed determined to wake me. The run for this morning was out of the window. I staggered bleary eyed into the kitchen and again praised Lisas hospitality as I poured myself a freshly percolated coffee she had prepared before leaving for work. Outside the streets were busy with weekend traffic and the city looked alive with energy. I took my coffee back to bed and put on an audiobook in order to kick my brain into gear. A couple of cups of coffee later, having showered and dressed I knocked Nick and Bethany awake. I left them to carry out their ... read more




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