Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Lebanese in Dubai heading back home? Here's what you need to know:

In the midst of the pandemic happening globally, there has been a lot of concerns and confusion regarding when we can fly again. And I am almost certain that most of us Lebanese are wondering how can we go back home specially with all the problems taking place in our home country, be it the economic hardship, currency collapse, electricity cuts and potential scarcity of food.

Many of us are scared and worried to go back and not just because there's a pandemic cloud reigning over our heads. 

From my side, I decided to go back home to see my family and see if there is anything I can do to help and show support. I booked my flight with Emirates, so I will share below the steps you need to keep in mind, it's quite straight forward once you know what they are. I assume the process is similar for MEA.

Photo: Woman checking in at an Emirates counter in DXB airport during Covid19
Source: Emirates.com



GDRFA Application Number text box on Emirates.com flight booking form

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Traveling during Covid19? A possibility!

Current situation

When the airports are closed, your vacations canceled and your plans shattered, most of us human beings are realizing how much it is okay to be home, specially those of us blessed with a roof over our heads, food on our table and the basic necessities. 


Monday, December 30, 2019

The beautiful country we can learn from - Rwanda

When the opportunity came up to join MAG Adventures group on an exploration trip to Rwanda, I immediately jumped on it because seeing the mountain gorillas has been top of my list for a while now. Other than that, I did not have many expectations as I didn't know much about the country.

Member of Umubano family

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Yoga Retreat in El Nido with Dina Ghandour

The below is written by a fellow yogi who was part of our group for this yoga retreat. I thought it captured the essence of this amazing destination and the yoga retreat, that I can definitely not write it better. Written by Osman and you can find him on his instagram (p.s. he's also a yoga teacher). 

A 15 min hike up a stairway made of bamboo to reach a humble tent. No AC, no heated water. Showering with a frog or a "cuuuuuuuute" red spider dangling from the ceiling simply to check you out.

Birdhouse, El Nido - Palawan

Friday, July 19, 2019

10 things to do to keep yourself entertained while traveling

Travel can take up long hours as we still didn't invent teleportation. So sometimes it can take up a whole day and even 36 hours if you're crossing multiple continents. I thought I can compile a few ideas on how to be prepared to keep yourself entertained while traveling just in case you’re not someone who magically falls asleep anytime anywhere because let's face it, that would be the best solution.


Treat all your senses and more:


Monday, July 15, 2019

Quick Guide to visiting Prague

Destination: Prague
Travel Companions: (1st time: Jennifer & Caline; 2nd time: Mom)
Duration: 3 days
Budget: 350$ pp (excluding flights)

 
I remember being in a fast food restaurant back home after one of those late nights, grabbing a man'ouche back in early 2000s, back when I was still someone who had never been on an airplane, I had only been to Syria for a US Visa run, and Jordan for a Girl Guides trip. That night, I caught this documentary about Prague on TV and I couldn't stop staring. I thought to myself that this was a gorgeous city, something I've never seen anything like before, and I immediately put a goal to myself, that I will visit it one day. And I did, twice!

Old Town Prague

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Ultimate Guide to Lebanese Vegan Food

One of the things I love about the Lebanese cuisine is the fact that a big chunk of it as already plant-based. Though I am not vegan, I hope I get there one day and I thought such a post could be helpful for vegans visiting Lebanon or wanting to be inspired by Lebanese cuisine (some also are Levantine).

Whether you're vegan or not, you're in a for a (vegan) treat because the food is simply delicious and you'll find a large variety which will ensure you never get bored. Below is a list of the different food you can order at restaurants and feel confident in your choices, or if you're renting an airbnb, maybe try and cook some of these yourselves? ;)

You'll find 6 categories below:
1- Mezza
2- Breakfast
3- Salads
4- Main Dishes 
5- Soups
6- Desserts

Lebaneze Mezza. Source: Zomato.com


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Lebanon Food Tour for a real Lebanese experience

Lebanese cuisine is quite popular and well known all over the world. The first thing that comes to mind is the Lebanese Meza, which is our appetizers such as Hommos, Cheese Rqaqat, Moutabbal, Kibbe Nayyeh, baba ghanouj, etc.... However, this post will not be about our Meza, this post is about specific food I'd like you to try when you're visiting Lebanon in order for you to get the real Lebanese experience, whether it's a specific food item that you can find anywhere in Lebanon, or it's specific to a restaurant or a town.

Disclaimer: There are more food I'd like you to try, many Lebanese dishes (in La Tabkha), Boneless chicken sandwich (from Bouery with extra garlic), Fish, sea food, Kebab.. all of which should spread around the world. For now, I limited them to 30 only and this was not an easy job.

p.s. A Vegan only post is coming soon as well, moreover some of the below options are vegan.



I am not the best food photographer, but I "know the taste of my mouth" (Lebanese expression that means I am just a big foodie).

Without further ado, here are my favorite 30 Foods & Drinks to try in Lebanon:

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Best tips and recommendations on things you can do in and out of Sofia

Destination: Sofia
Travel Companion: Graham
Duration: 5 days
Budget: 700$ (including flights)


The name "Sofia" came in the 14th century from the temple of Saint Sofia. It holds a lot of history having been under the Byzantine empire for a while, then occupied by the Ottomans and until  recently under the ruling of the Soviet Union. All of these brought different flavors and spices together to create something different on many levels. It created a place that is certainly worth visiting.

Sofia is quite wonderful, it has beautifully decorated restaurants with refreshing outdoor spaces, many large free for all parks, and great value for money. It's the kind of city that will definitely make you want to go back, it's quite low-key and chill, it's not Paris or London or Prague, and it's not Berlin or Antwerp, it simply is a humble city, represented but its modest and friendly residents.


Sofia - Bulgaria

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Quick Guide to visiting Barcelona

Destination: Barcelona
Travel Companions: (1st time: Jennifer; 2nd time: Maria, Sandy, Nancy and Elie; 3rd time: Bechara, Marie and the little Rafael)
Duration: 5 days
Budget: 550$ (excluding flights)

 
When I visited Barcelona back in 2011, I wasn't writing down any travel tips. But fortunately, I went back again two more times, so hopefully there's enough to help you plan a trip to Barcelona with some quick recommendations and must do's.

La Sagrada Familia

Vacation Do's and Don'ts

I shared this on my page:


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Quick Guide to Chicago; The Windy City

Destination: Chicago
Travel Companion: My awesome Dad
Duration: 4 days
Budget: $650 pp (excluding flights; FYI internal US Flights are around 200$)

 
Chicago was such a pleasant surprise. I've been traveling to the U.S. for over 12 years now, and visiting at least once a year for the past 6 years. I've been to 5 states so far. So I decided to start exploring more of the U.S. and visit a new state, after all, this is a huge country with a lot to see! I picked Chicago because a friend lives there and suggested I check it out, moreover it was one direct flight away for both my dad and myself. So I went for it!

The Cloud Gate aka Chicago Bean - Millennium Park


Chicago definitely exceeded my expectations, even though the weather wasn't very nice to us and my dad and I had only packed t-shirts only with just one hoodie, yet we still made it work!

Anyway, here's a quick guide to things you can do in Chicago! If you're ever in the U.S., do check it out. I can easily say Chicago is one of my favorite American cities so far.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Cambodia: The Land of Enchantment & Complexity

Destination: Cambodia
Travel Companion: Betty & Maria
Duration: 10 days
Budget: $560 pp (including internal flight)


Cambodia was the last stop during my South East Asia month, right after Laos and Vietnam. What first led me to Cambodia was a yoga retreat I had chosen to attend in Siem Reap which was situated among temples and nature, however my plans changed once I found out my friends were going to be in Cambodia at the same time as me. 

Our itinerary mainly included spending time in two cities: Siem Reap and Sihanoukville; the latter took us to a nearby island called Koh Rong Samloem for one night, which is a smaller island than the famous Koh Rong and supposedly more exotic.



Monday, May 14, 2018

An overwhelming but equally incredible country, it's time to Vietnam

Destination: Vietnam
Travel Companion: Anthony & Pia (Ha Long Bay & Hanoi), met up again with Kate - from Laos (Hanoi), Gayle (Hoi An) and met Sue (Ninh Binh)
Duration: 14 days
Budget: $1,500 - $2,000 pp (including internal flights - they're as cheap as $25 one way)


I did everything I could to get the chance to visit Vietnam, including working with an agency that charged me triple the price of what I would have paid if I planned the whole trip by myself, just because that was the only way I was able to get a visa. Vietnam, will overwhelm you, whether it's its past or its present. But spoiler alert, when you leave Vietnam, it will leave a mark on you and you will remember moments from your trip at random.

Warning: this is a very long post, but well... it's because there is a lot to say about Vietnam. To make it a bit easier on you, you can see below the different sections I am covering, so feel free to jump to the section that is the most pertinent to your ask!

In this post I will cover the following:
  • Duration & Budget
  • Visa Info
  • Location & Itinerary
  • Accommodation
  • Transport (Bus, Train, Plane, Tour or Car)
  • Money (Cash or card)
  • One to Two Day trips in and out of Hanoi
  • Places to Visit in Dong Hoi
  • Places to Visit in Hue
  • Places to Visit in Hoi An
  • Food & Drinks
  • Vietnamese words you can use
  • Fun Facts about Vietnam and Vietnamese people 
Ninh Binh - Vietnam