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Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem May 16th 2007

Hi! heute waren wir auf einem Volksfest und eine alte Frau hat Mutti* zum Tanz aufgefordert ausserdem ist dort ein chinesischer Austausschueler mit Regenschirm rumgelaufen *) moechte anonym bleiben... read more
Chinesischer Austausschueler

Middle East » Lebanon » Beirut May 15th 2007

Tripoli - Beirut By the end of our first day in Beirut we have found ourselves sat in a tent making polite conversation with alleged terrorist leaders, sharing tea with teenagers while being shown posters of martyrs, watched an Arab megastar filming a Coca Cola advert, passed numerous civil war bomb sites alongside brand new boutique shops, been searched by soldiers with machine guns & tanks, eaten sushi and had a big night out on the town drinking beer & wine and dancing. Lebanon is expensive & Lebanon is small. We planned for no more than a week in the country, perhaps just a couple of days, if that, in Beirut. It wouldn't work out quite as we expected. We began in Tripoli, a Mediterranean city a few hours north of the capital Beirut. Much like ... read more
Mosque
Hole In The Road
Street Sign

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv May 15th 2007

Today started off as a good day. I woke up with a bit of a headache & upset stomach, but popped some Pepto & Advil and was good to go. Noah, Josh, and I took a bus to Bat Yam to meet Leore. The central bus station in Tel Aviv was a little confusing, but we eventually found our way and made it to our final bus. When we got off, Leore was at the stop to meet us, and then she took us to see her apartment. Afterwards, Noah and Leore went to her art exhibit, and Josh and I went to get some food near the beach and to lie in the sun. IMHO, Israeli girls are some of the best looking girls in the world! Maybe Spain will change my opinion, but what ... read more

Middle East May 15th 2007

Today is a holiday in Palestine. It's Nakba Day, the anniversary of the creation of Israel. It's translated to mean "great catastrophe". It marks the establishment of the Palestinian camps, including Dheisheh. Dheisheh commemorates this by constructing tents on the main road (to Hebron) outside the camp. The tents remind the people of their situation and struggle. It is also a way for people to gather together to celebrate culture. Next to the tents is a stage, at which plays and performances will be held. Shiraa is not partaking in the festivities, as it is an impartial voice in Palestinian politics. Yesterday was a productive day. I'm seeking creative ways to create employment for camp and area residents, as well as to find markets for those unemployed. The current rates of unemployment in Palestine is at ... read more

Middle East » Iraq May 15th 2007

Why hello all! Now I realise that this diary entry is a long time coming but I have my reasons and you will find out in due course as to why it has taken so long. Now I am writing this from the safety of my home back in NZ as I am back for a few weeks on holiday after actually making it to graduation in Dunedin. The Month of April OK. From what I remember Spain was the last time I made an entry. I got called back from Spain as I was intending on going to India to do an oil pipelay job for a month or so. Oh did those plans change. When I got back there were delays in getting my Indian visa (who would have thought you need a ... read more
Search and Destroy!
Toys and more toys

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo May 15th 2007

I’m typing away on my laptop in the breezy sitting room of my hotel in Aleppo. On the couches next to me, a group of Syrians on holiday are digging into a massive plate of shish tawook - the tomatoes and onions and skewers of chicken filling the room with a mouth-watering pungence. I’ve already fattened myself on a plate of kebabs nearby, chasing it down with an ice cream cone that, at S£5 - or about ten American cents - is bound to be my latest vice in the sweltering days ahead. The girls - plump and smiling and wearing lavish amounts of make-up - are giving me suggestive looks over their chicken, while their chaperone talks in a deep, melodious Arabic that rises and falls like it’s being carried out to sea. If ... read more
Streets of Aleppo
Door detail, Aleppo
Dusk, Aleppo

Middle East » Turkey May 14th 2007

Night buses in Turkey are quite an experience. Most people in Turkey travel by bus rather than plkane or train, so they are very nice. First of all you are assigned a seat on the bus; single women cannot sit next to a man they do not know. This might lead to innaporpriate contact during the night. Second, there are no bathrooms ususally (it has been called to my attention that the more well known companies do have bathrooms). The bus makes stops every 2 hours or so. This can lead to issues for some people. The bathrooms at the reststops are usually the typical turkish toilet- a hole in the floor, no toilet paper, and a water bucket along side for washing your parts afterward. I had much fun with these after being woken up ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul May 14th 2007

Meehaba (hello in Turkish) Well that's Turkey done and dusted. Yestersday we had a fantastic time with the owner of the hostel giving us a tour of the Cappadocia area on scooters. Sianne was on the back of the one I hired and I even think she was startıng to enjoy it after the four hours. We even got in some off roading until the scooters wouldn't go any further up the trail. About half way up to an old cave church it started to bucket down and we spent about 30 minutes ın a cave cafe drinking apple tea ın the middle of a thunderstorm. They seem to have shops and cafes in the strangest places. Worst part so far was the 12 hours last night on the overnight bus back to Istanbul. Our necks ... read more

Middle East » Israel May 14th 2007

Shalom!!! I am now in Israel at the Bar's house. The trip from Istanbul went surprisingly well. We woke up aroun 9am, went for some breakfast, hopped on the subway, and Alex, Marcel, and I parted ways at the Otogar station. Bon voyage guys! Enjoy Sofia for one more day, and then Greece! Just to backtrack a little, last night we ran into the Canadian couple we met from the bus from Borgas. Imagine the odds in a city of 12+ million people. We went for beers and continued our conversation from the bus ride, exchanged contact information and went our separate ways later that evening. On the subway I met a girl from Madrid who was in Turkey visiting her friend. Naturally the topic of my upcoming trip to Spain came up, and she gave ... read more

Middle East » Lebanon » Baalbek May 14th 2007

High plateau between the mount Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges, linking the Syrian interior with the coastal cities of ancient Phoenicia. Used to be very much agricultural, it isn't that much flousishing anymore, apart from the "cannabis" cropping. Fortunately, it is now better known as the centre of Lebanon's burgeoning wine industry. From Beyrouth, which is my starting point for every trip I make inside the country, I have been so far to Baalbek and Zahle. Baalbek, mostly notorious back in the 80's for being the seat of Hezbollah (party of God) and helding hostages hidden in the valley ( such as William Buckley, head of the CIA at that time), it is still the "Sun" city of the Ancient world and the most important Roman site of the whole Middle East (dixit The Lonely Planet, ... read more
Saint Secours "Mother Help" little church
Balbeek
The Bacchus temple




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