Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My hopes for you


These are the gist of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs right now. It says so much about life. These are my hopes for you..

I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

Monday, November 29, 2010

Base Camp

You know you've been in Egypt for a while when:

- You don't actually remember how long you've been here for.
- You no longer take a picture a day.
- You no longer notice all the people who smoke indoors (especially where it's illegal).
- You can give a taxi driver directions and not get lost.
- The taxi driver can't tell right away that you're not from here (but he will figure it out eventually).
- You finally find a proper gym to join.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


If I dont say this now, I will surely break
As I'm leaving the one I wanna take

Somehow, I've become very good at saying goodbye. It started out by telling everyone "I will only say see you laters, no goodbyes" but that quickly turned into "goodbyes". Sometimes I sit and wonder how I managed to pack my bags and leave everyone and everything I've held near and dear for the last ten years. July 2010 I said too many goodbyes to count. I told everyone see you later, but in essence, they were all goodbyes. Every time I'm in a country long enough, I long to keep moving, which means more goodbyes. If I get too comfortable somewhere, I say, keep going. Is a feeling of comfort such a terrible thing when traveling?

There now steady love, so few come and don't go
Will you won't you, be the one I always know
When I'm loosing my control, the city spins around
You're the only one who knows, you slow it down

Recently, many friends have been asking me when I'll be coming back to Canada, coming home. See, I have a small personal problem with the word "home". I was born in Kuwait, where you don't get the nationality if you're not originally a Kuwaiti, so your ID card always says Foreigner. I moved to Canada in middle school. Culture shock at 11 years old. Foreigner. I just moved to Egypt, what some people might consider my "home" (even though I've never lived here for more than a month or two during the summer break) because of my ethnicity, yet somehow, everything I do and everything I say seems to be Foreign. The taxi drivers can usually tell I'm not "from here" before I even open my mouth. In the countries I visit, whether for research or tourism, I am the Foreigner. Home connotes a base camp. A place of constant familiarity. Somewhere your heart longs to be. You can see why I have a small problem with "home". My heart longs to be everywhere on this Earth, exploring, discovering, unearthing.

She says most assuredly
Be my baby
I'll look after you

Maybe I've become good at saying goodbyes because I dislike being attached to a geographical location. I feel it limits your character, your ideas, your thoughts. So in a way, maybe I'm homeless (donations welcome). And yet, there is some sort of longing for something familiar that is starting to rise to the surface. If I could personally define what "home" means to me, this longing might be called.... homesickness.

(Look After You, The Fray)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Days 115 - 120: Mauritania

October 29 - Nov 3
I didn't stay for very long at all and I didn't visit the Sahara (unfortunately) but Nouakchott (the capital) was interesting enough. It was much more about the people I met and the Pular culture I experienced than it was about the actual city.

A Mauritanian wedding affair! Glitz, glamour, good music that's too loud, food that's actually pretty yummy, a singer, a comedian, and every cousin in the family!

Tea - the more bubbles the better. An aspect very similar to Moroccan tea.

Henna session. Very very detailed work.

How the henna lady makes sure you don't ruin her 1.5 hours of work: she wraps your hands in (pink) tissue paper then covers each hand with a (blue) plastic bag, then asks you to stay like that for 3 hours. Ya.

The infamous stray goats! The reason I took this terrible pic in the dark was because I felt so weird jumping out of the car and taking a picture of them in broad daylight. They were really cute though, I promise.

Days 102 - 114: Morocco

October 16 - 28
Click on the pics for a larger image!


At the Hassan II mosque - the third largest mosque in the world after the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's mosque in Medina (both in Saudi Arabia). Postcard-much?

View from the inside.

The name of the road where my hotel/hostel was located. Gotta chose wisely ;)

Rabat (capital city)

View of the Atlantic Ocean from a terrace in the Old Medina.

At the Jardins Exotiques, a huge landscape of interesting looking flowers and gardens just outside of Sale (a city right next to Rabat).


Zellig details inside a small mosque. Can't really remember the name...
(It says: Alizato Lelah - Glory be to God)


Inside one of the most peaceful places on Earth: Kairouan Mosque. Also reportedly the first university in the world. Close your eyes, feel the breeze, listen to the fountains, take in the sunshine, make a prayer.

At the infamous leather tanneries. Pretty smelly place to be honest.

Moroccan henna session!

At Clock Cafe, one of the best places I visited, just inside Bab Jeloum in Fez Medina.

Fassi Master calligrapher Mohammad Charkaoui writes my name in my favorite style during my one on one calligraphy class at Clock Cafe.

My first plate of Moroccan couscous with my friend Ab. Two adults couldn't finish this plate.


It's not called Red Marrakesh for no reason! Another favorite door.

Fresh home made bread daily? Yes please! Perks of staying with a family and not in a hotel.

At the beautiful (but small) Jardin Majorelle, dedicated to Marakkech by Yves St Laurent.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Days 95 - 101: Tunisia

October 9 - 15, 2010

Please click on the pictures for a larger size.

Some pictures from my adventures in Tunisia.


One of my first encounters with Tunisian doors. The beginning of an everlasting love affair.

The oh-so-very European downtown area.

Statue of Ibn Khaldoun, a famous Islamic scholar and philosopher.

My absolute favourite door in Tunisia. Found in the Old Medina (ancient city).

Is this a beach resort? Nope, just a clearing between the tight alleyways in the Old Medina.

Red hot peppers - a staple in every Tunisian meal. Used to make Harira, a spicy paste used to cook with.

My first Tunisian plate of couscous! Mmmmmm.


Tombstones at an ancient Phoenician sacrificial site. At 8am. Place gave me the absolute creeps.

The Mediterranean as viewed from the ancient site of the Antonine Baths.

The beginning of my other love affair: with arches, shadows, and alleys.

Then I discovered a room full of ancient mosaics at the site of Roman villas.

More Mosaics.

Sidi Bou Said

Watching a henna session.

Blue doors and shutters - the defining features of Sidi Bou Said.


At the Companion's Mosque - the Mosque of Oqba Ibn Nafi. Over 300 Roman columns at this mosque, and no two are alike.

Traditional trade in the Old Medina; a lady working a wool loom.

Tunisia: where the sky is always picture perfect. On the way back to Tunis.