A Few Lebanese Cultural Observations

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Eddie arrived on Saturday afternoon and that evening we went out with Georges, Chrystelle, and some of their friends to a restaurant with traditional Arabic music. Of course it was interesting to go to an authentically Lebanese place and the food was fantastic! Sunday night we went out to eat again with them and Maya and Walid also came, who were really fun to talk to. Maya speaks French and Walid speaks English, but somehow we were able to have a good conversation. My Arabic is not so great at all, I only know a few words and phrases, so it is very much appreciated when I get to spend time with people who speak French or English with me. Although everyone here speaks Arabic, and some people speak French or English, or both, I have spent quite a few nights in mostly just in Arabic. However, before Eddie arrived when Maurice and Dalal were taking me around, it never seemed to be a big issue to communicate with people, even when they were older and less likely to speak English or French. Eddie can understand and speak more than me, so he does his best to translate a little of what everyone is discussing. It is all part of the experience, and even if I have no idea what anyone is talking about, it is still pretty amusing to go out with all of these people for an Arabic speaking evening. Hopefully I will continue to learn some more of the language while I am here!IMG_3266 IMG_3269 Read the rest of this entry

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Arriving in Lebanon

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Yes, I am in Lebanon. Despite the paranoid comments of a few friends (gratefully, my family all supports me enough that they do not give me any kind of negative comments about where I choose to travel) and besides the warning from the United States’ embassy, I still decided to come here for a month to stay with Eddie’s family. For quite some time Beirut has been on my travel wish list because of all of the amazing Lebanese people that I encounter all over the world. So when Eddie’s parents, Maurice and Dalal, invited me to stay with them for a month before I return to Paris, it was an opportunity that I just could not pass up!

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Dublin 

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My arrival in Dublin began with a disgruntled bus driver snapping at me to move my stuff, which I was obviously in the process of doing anyhow. Yet luckily when I arrived at my hotel, the girl working there was a very sweet Romanian who reminded me of all of the other wonderful Romanians who have helped me along my journey. Then I headed out to find some dinner. Since the Morehampton Townhouse was the best place I could find for price and location, I was a little disappointed that it was about a thirty minute walk to the city center, but at least it was doable. Later my friend Gina who is planning a trip to Dublin informed me that there was some type of big deal sporting event going on, hence why I could not even find a private room at a hostel for three straight days. How would I have known this since I could care less about any sports?IMG_3013 IMG_3020 IMG_3025 IMG_3032 Read the rest of this entry

Dingle

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When I arrived in Dingle Town, I made my way to this Marian House that I had found listed under budget accommodation. After my experience in Tralee, I was not sure what I would get, but this time I had done more research and actually checked the reviews on Trip Advisor, which were all stellar! Luckily, my positive expectations were more than exceeded. Not only did it only cost me only 25€ a night, but it was spotlessly clean with fresh towels everyday and a delicious breakfast each morning. Brendan, the wonderful owner of this bed and breakfast, went out of his way to take care of each guest, which was really sweet! There was a Swiss girl staying there the whole time I was there who I ate breakfast with most days. Brendan was so kind to make us breakfast even when we woke up late. Needless to say, I ended up deciding to just stay there for nearly two weeks. Although I had planned to go to Galway, I was unable to find anywhere to stay for under 80€ a night, which seemed kind of stupid to pay since I had at last found a fabulous place to stay in Ireland, so I just stayed put!IMG_2768 IMG_2772 IMG_2775 IMG_2800 Read the rest of this entry

New Moon in the Dingle Peninsula

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Although my time in Tralee had been rather challenging staying at Finnegan’s Hostel, I did not allow that to tarnish my opinion of Ireland or the Irish people. After leaving Tralee, I took a quick trip to the stunning Dingle Peninsula. Along the way, I was amazed at the enchantingly green scenery! Traveling by bus in Ireland is an excellent opportunity to see some of the countryside and get a taste of what lies beyond the cities.IMG_2751 IMG_2753 IMG_2758 Read the rest of this entry

The Rose of Tralee at the Worst Hostel Ever

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Since Eddie was only staying in Cork with me for three days, I sent out three Couchsurfing requests to see if I could find some cool people to hang out with in order to have a more enjoyable, cultural experience during my time in Ireland. Yet unfortunately, I did not have any luck with that so I decided to go to Tralee. When I went to book my train ticket online, it was 12,99€ for the fare from Cork to Tralee but my French bankcard was still not working properly. So I was quite shocked that it was 24,98€ when I purchased it the next day at the station, but I had no choice but to pay twice the price.IMG_2571 IMG_2589 IMG_2639 IMG_2642 IMG_2647 IMG_2652 IMG_2660 IMG_2679 Read the rest of this entry

Journey to Ireland

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After Tenby, I took a bus to a ferry from Pembroke Dock to Rosslare. Luxurious and much like the ferry I took last summer in Greece, it was nothing like the crazy ferries in Southeast Asia I have recently taken! Four hours later, I arrived at Rosslare Harbour, walked ten minutes uphill, and at last I arrived at my hotel. Since I was in a new city, I had planned to check out Rosslare a bit. Yet when I asked someone how to walk to the city center, they laughed and said it would take me a couple of hours, so I decided to just head to Cork the next morning since Eddie and I had plans to meet there. A few hours later, I arrived in Cork. After two days of traveling, I was pretty tired, so I ate dinner and went to bed. However, despite the fact that this hotel was nearly 80€ a night (and the cheapest I was able to find even weeks ago), I could hear every noise, including the guy downstairs farting in the morning. So after a rather sleepless night, I asked to change rooms and thankfully they moved me the next morning just before Eddie arrived.IMG_2478 IMG_2492 IMG_2503 Read the rest of this entry