Monday, April 30, 2018

TRIP TO LEBANON!

Hey readers - this past week, I travelled for 12 days in Lebanon, which made it the 34th country I visited...I'm now just over one-third complete of my goal to travel 100 different countries!


I always wanted to visit Lebanon, as I had grown up & gone to school with my many Lebanese.

Now, being based in the Middle East, I'm doing my best to take advantage of seeing new countries, tasting new foods, and experiencing as many new cultures, as I can!

The timing of this trip was very tricky, as I was dealing with a big data transfers, with my online coaching. Meaning, that more than ever, I would be dependant on a good & reliable internet connection - of which is very tricky at times when away from your home base.

My first stop, was the nation's capital, Beirut. I landed @ 7 AM local time without any accommodation bookings...I got into a taxi, got a SIM card for cellular data, and got my driver to tour be around town!

After passing by the local Corniche, I decided to get dropped off at this big cafe, ironically called Le Petit Cafe which was known (according to Trip Adviser) for its good internet connection.

My "office view" for a couple days


Moca

I had a late breakfast, hammered some computer work, and booked a hotel a few minutes walk away. I worked until I was very sleepy, and then went and took a nap in my room, before returning to Le Petit Cafe for dinner, and hammer more computer work.

Shisha-ing

I did this 2 days and visited just a bit...




Once the computer work out of the way, I took an UBER to Byblos, one of the oldest inhabited villages in the world.

Room view

Panoramic room view

Lots of old school restaurants made out of rocks

Locals playing come cards


A fisherman working for our meals



Stayed there for two nights, and then made my way North some more along the coast, to Batroun, just South the city of Tripoli, where I would stay for 1 week.

Room/office view




Lebanese culture is very unique. A mix of Arabic, European, and American. It's pretty "free" in the sense of being able to buy alcohol most places. Not all that conservative (on the surface) and very vibrant.

Most signs are in French, English & Arabic. Locals will greet you in French, but don't speak it all that well...Especially as you get outside the capital..You can use US Dollar to buy pretty much everything!



With very diverse demographics, in terms of ethnicity's, and religion. With both branches of Islamand Christianity, practising their beliefs, side by side. There was also lots of foreign nationals working/living here.



The resort I stay in, The Sawary Resort, was one of my favourite places I have been. The cost was low, good internet, lots of options for good local food, clean beaches, mountains nearby, and generally pretty relaxed during the day, with some active nightlife.


All the while being right on the Mediterranean Sea, my favourite part of the world!




I also toured, in a taxi, the heart of Tripoli, which is home to 1+ million refugees from Syria, which is just a few kilometres up North from where I was staying...My taxi driver gave me a full rundown, on the history, past civil conflicts, and challenges that Lebanon faces going forward...Especially with an election coming up!

Reminds me of South-East Asia, or the far East as it's called here in the Middle-East


Fresh


All in all, I'm very happy I came and would recommend it to many. I always felt safe, and been to much more dangerous places. But I would not come back anytime soon...I would rather get a new stamp instead ;)

Last but not least, some food pics 😛

Fajitas

Mix platter 

Le petit dejeuner

Ummm



Yummm

Hummm Yummm

Quebec represent
Dinner



LOL

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Trip to Muscat.

Hey readers - last week, for a couple reasons, I travelled for a few days to the capital city of Oman: Muscat.

Travelling solo summons this raw sense of independence. But in revenge, it does make me feel lonely. It's always a pleasure to share the sights and tastes of a new destination, with somebody else...

Anyway, it was a pretty casual trip. I had a bit of computer work to do. I did the tourist thing, and I also rented a road bike.

Generally speaking, I felt that Omanis people carried a greater sense of humility than some of their neighbours. It was pretty laid back, and I was surprised when I took a taxi out of the airport, that the drivers are locals. It was also nice to see some mountains, of which I haven't really seen in a few years.

The infrastructure was surprisingly good. And just like many countries in the region, it was laced with foreign workers from various countries such as: India - Philippines - Lebanon - Nepal - etc.

I also learned a lot about the country's political history and it's role in the Arabian Peninsula. But at the end of the day, just like many Islamic countries, there were not many "fun" things to do and was a little bland...

Below are various pictures of my trip, with some relevant captions!

Selfie @ QURUM Beach

Sunset @ QURUM Beach

Contemporary structure @ QURUM Beach

Panoramic of QURUM Beach

Good morning QURUM Beach


Local & foreign football players running along QURUM Beach in the AM

The BIG BUS I took around the city

A ship out of water

An interesting fountain 


There were pictures of Sultan Qaboos all over - he obviously did great things for the country

A-ROUND-A-BOUT

Some government buildings

More images of Sultan Qaboos

A typical Islamic gate

Lots-of-flags

Mutrah Souq is the local market

Coffee/snacks

Market center

I did not buy anything

Although there was some cool stuff to see, smell, & taste

Panoramic

Looking outside, from the inside

Waterfront

Wave breakers

More flags

Locals just hanging out

Ummmmm

My rental bike

Selfie from the top

Selfie with the highway in the background

Trash

Panoramic shot from the top


A big local Mosque...I was actually told to leave moments after this pictures


Lamborghini with a patriotic colour scheme 

A Ferrari with a patriotic colour scheme 
Mercedez-Benz are taxis here

LOL...the sweet spaghetti place & home of chicken joy


Le GRAND Mosque

Le GRAND Mosque again

Le GRAND Mosque - final pic

The view from my hotel room

A plated chicken Shawarma - LOVE THESE

Post ride FRESH drink - Avocado, Strawberry, & Mango - LOVE IT

50M Pool @ The Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex
Anyway, it was nice, but I doubt I would come back again willingly...Maybe Salalah seems nice for training, or other more rural parts in the mountains...