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10 Tips for Surviving a Souq

Souqs, or Arab outdoor marketplaces, are typically, but not always, crowded, busy and loud, harboring hundreds of aggressive shopkeepers trying to get you to buy their goods. Filled with locals and dotted with tourists, souqs are also full of energy, culturally revealing and photogenic. The first time I was in a souq, in Jerusalem, Israel […]

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The Frankincense of Salalah, Oman

Salalah, Oman is well known as paradise to the people of the Persian Gulf, yet most of the world has never heard of this charming town of 180,000 lying quietly on the Arabian Sea. Tourists by the thousands flock to its shores from neighboring towns and countries during its annual monsoon season, which brings cooling […]

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The Lights of Dahab – Photo Essay

Dahab is the most enchanting town in Egypt. This mellow, sunny spot lies quietly on the Red Sea in the southern Sinai, swimming in a peaceful yet exciting atmosphere of Arab exoticism. Its indigenous people are a mix of Egyptian and Bedouin, its sizeable expat community largely Scandinavian and British, its tourists primarily Russian and […]

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Returning Home – Why Don’t I Have Reverse Culture Shock?

I anticipated that my return home to the U.S. for a few months after two years in the Middle East would be fraught with multiple cultural difficulties. I wouldn’t understand the values and behaviors of Americans anymore, and they certainly wouldn’t understand me. Accustomed to speaking primarily to non-native English speakers, I would accidentally communicate […]

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Dahab’s Relaxation Goes Five Star at The Hilton Dahab Resort

Most people who visit Dahab, Egypt walk away, reluctantly, feeling that this is one of the most, if not the most, relaxing place on earth. And it truly is. I’ve spent a total of six laid back months in this peaceful little town on the Red Sea, but my last several days were the most […]

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Ever Yearned for Your Own Bed While Traveling? Me too.

I’m making this post excessively short because I have so much to do before I leave Dahab tomorrow. At noon I’ll be taking a bus to Cairo, where I’ll be spending one night and one day before I…fly home. It was two years ago that I left. What is the one thing about my home […]

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Making Mosaics in Madaba, Jordan

I adore mosaics. Any time during my travels that I found there is a mosaic nearby, I go see it. This ancient form of art dating back to the 3rd Century B.C. sure can’t be found anywhere in my modern-day home country of the United States, but happily I see mosaics frequently amidst the thousands-of-years-old […]

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Traveling Through Egypt via Sleeper Train – Safe, Comfortable and Easy!

There are so many ways to travel around Egypt: plane, train, car, bus, taxi, minivan and ferry. And let us not forget camel. I’ve used all of these modes of transportation (except camel), and I have to say the one I’ve come out enjoying the most is the train. Short-distance train travel through Egypt I […]

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Simplicity is Delicious – Baking Bread in Dahab, Egypt

Last night at midnight I was walking with my Egyptian friend and his cousin down a dark, sandy road toward home when my friend said abruptly I want to buy bread. So we veered off the road onto a path, also dark and sandy, at the end of which stood several small buildings. Only one […]

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Egypt’s Presidential Election and the Future

I am so thrilled to be in Egypt at this moment in its history. Yesterday and today are amongst some of the most profoundly important days ever in Egypt, as the country has just held its first free presidential election in over 30 years. I have hope for Egypt but have to wonder, along with […]

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My Pre-Blog Travels – Enchanting, Exotic, Salalah, Oman, Part II

If you ever want to go off the beaten path in the Middle East, you must head to Salalah, Oman. This breathtakingly exotic town on the Arabian Sea in the south of Oman is a quite popular draw for Mid Easterners yet virtually untouched by the Western world. Its annual khareef or monsoon season, which […]

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Animals in Restaurants – Cute Complement or Health Hazard?

As I sit right now in one of Dahab’s dozens of restaurants on the Red Sea, I am a little lonely. Why? There are no cats sitting on my lap. In Dahab, Egypt, you see, stray cats are more plentiful than the stars in the desert sky. They roam freely not just on the roads […]

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