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Serene moment from Norway.

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Couple of goats just enjoying the moment in a light mist.

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‘Tok-tok’ is the usual familiar sound one hears when visiting the beaches of Israel. It’s Matkot – a game where two players hit a rubber ball with wooden rackets as many times as possible without dropping it. When you’re local, you’re probably used to it. When you’re not a local, you look for nice and quiet ‘tok-tok’-less beaches. Beit Yanai, north from Tel Aviv, is the place to go. Peaceful, absolutely gorgeous beach for collecting seashells and munching some aubergine with tahini and seafood at their cosy beach restaurant.

travel

Best of Israel II

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travel

Best of Israel I

What I like the most about Israel, is the falafel. It’s juicy, just the right size and it’s green inside. The best falafels I tasted can be found at Jaffa Port in a restaurant called ‘The Old Man and the Sea’. Even better is a falafel at midnight in a kebabs no, with tahini, spicy sauce in a pita bread with a huge selection of salads. Ina city called Akko, a man has managed to make a big name for himself as the best falafel maker in the whole country. Ask for Falafel Arfa when there and you’ll be guided at the right direction by all the locals.

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Here’s a little falafel guide.

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Book review

Book review: Desperate in Dubai by Ameera Al Hakawati

As I was boarding my flight back from Dubai to London, my eyes glanced over a book that did in face give me an impression of a good mindless read directed towards women. Quite an expensive looking slightly Arab looking lady covering the front page, I read a couple of paragraphs and decide that I might as well buy it to be my companion for my 7-hour trip back to London. What probably drew me to the book was the familiarity as most of the story takes place in Dubai and London. As well the opportunity to take a look behind the veil. The book revolves around the lives of Nadia, a North African lady who followed her husband to Dubai; Sugar, Muslim-Indian-British girl, who has been running away from complicated past; Leila, a Lebanese minx, looking for a rich husband and Lady Luxe, who has it all, but being an Emirati, feels restricted by what is expected from her. By far, Lady Luxe is my favourite character.imageThe pages clearly made me envision her Midnight Oud by Romano Ricci scent, pink Ferrari and her rebellious character. Whilst travelling to Dubai I had the occasion, thanks to my friend, to observe an Emirati wedding and Lady Luxe, in a way, represents these women I saw there. Hidden by their veils in the society, yet underneath wearing the most glamorous gowns and refined hairstyles and witty brains. I’m sure Lady Luxe is an extreme example, but her character will most likely help one understand the realities of Emirati women. The lives of these four women become so intertwined throughout the book, almost feels like watching the multi-narrative movie Babel, but on the pages of a book. All in all, I recommend reading it, especially if you’re opinionated or want to learn more about lives of Arab/Muslim women. Think it could easily be a global bestseller as it’s one of those books you cannot put down once finished.

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Book review, Uncategorized

Book review: Looking for Transwonderland

Looking for Transwonderland is an utterly amusing travel book by Noo Saro-Wiwa,who grew up in London and goes to explore her home country Nigeria. As a child, her father used to bring her to Nigeria for summer holidays. All she could think of instead was going to a tropical island like her school friends and equalled it to ‘being in prison.’Her father, Ken Saro-Wiwa, environmental activist and a critic of the Nigerian government, insisted his children to experience various layers of their home country. Sadly, he was hanged by the regime of Sani Abacha in 1995. Noo hadn’t returned to the country since that time. Looking for answers to questions her father could not answer anymore, she boarded a flight to Lagos to have an independent view of the country.The pages of her book are filled with colourful overview of local means of travel, peoples relation to religion and numerous accounts of losing electricity at various points of time. I adore her non-judgemental insider-outsider views, that made me not want to put down the book.

Despite having a family in Nigeria and many of her relatives urging her to go back, she is not convinced. She observes that Nigeria is a place where ‘who you know’ is more important than anything else and her lenient view on religion is not most welcome by her family. However, she feels warm-hearted by the entrepreneurial character of Nigerian people and encounters people who point out huge prospects for agriculture and other industries, which have been forgotten under the shadow of ‘Black Gold’

Despite of her falling asleep whilst watching a Nollywood movie, she would turn on the TV every evening(in case there was electricity) to watch the next one as each of them would turn out to be better and open a new angle on Nigerian society. Similar is the impact of Noo’s book, expect for just being the right length, in engaging the reader right until the last page with stories that make you want to know more.

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The island of Slowing Down The Time

So, as I didn’t quite realize before,  August is the time of the year, when people like to go away. Preferably to a nice sunny warm place for holidays (Meaning: Days free from work that one may spend at leisure, especially a day on which custom or the law dictates a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event.). Being one of the many, I followed the same path. It happened that one morning in August I opened my eyes on a warm sunny island called Bozcaada. It’s Greek name is actually Tenedos and what took me there in the first place is what it’s famous for > wine. Not something you’d go to Turkey for, eh? The little island, roughly triangular is shape and 39 km2   in size, is full of for vineyards. One can taste the local wine in one of the many restaurants at the only village on the island, which feels I would say .. fellinesque. Cobbled streets, dim lights, barber shops, cats and dogs hanging about and not letting themselves be bothered by those occasional calls for prayers. The little fact, that it was Ramadan just as I was there, wasn’t obvious at all. The restaurants were plentiful of people and no-one seemed to say ‘no’ to a sip of wine.
Accommodated at a little pansion Gülerada I had the pleasure to have a great view across to vineyard to a beautiful quiet beach. I was very excited about the fact, that everything they offer at the breakfast table is ‘home-made’. The cheese from their goats, the eggs from the happy chicken roaming about and the jam from the fruit next door and the watermelons from the garden.
Talking about local wine ,well. They’re very proud of their local grapes kuntra, vasilaki, karalahna and cavus and the main wine producers are Corvus, Camlibag, Gülerada 🙂 and Talay. And not being an expert, I’d say that some of them tasted really quite nice, whilst others had a slight note of vinegar.

For those of you having more interest in Bozcaada wines, I’ve grouped some links below:
Corvus, wines from Bozcaada
Çamlıbağ winery
Talay winery
Gülerada wines and jaaaaam
The island recession forgot

Must say though, there’s no place other like Booo-cz-aa-daa.

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