Lovely Last Week in Lebanon

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Monday we went to Bikfaya for a wonderful lunch prepared by Violette, who is an amazing cook! Her husband Nassim showed me around their home, which is around 300 years old! I also met Dalal’s cousin Aida who is Nassim’s aunt. Although the house used to be just one home, now Aida lives in one part and Nassim and Violette live in the other part when they are in Bifkaya. After lunch, we took a walk around the area and stopped at an organic market for a coffee and some fruit. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, making it a wonderful afternoon!IMG_3485 IMG_3488 IMG_3496 IMG_3501 IMG_3506 IMG_3510 IMG_3518 Read the rest of this entry

Funny Questions, Observations, and Another Busy Week in Lebanon

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While traveling, I get many funny questions from people, so nothing much really shocks me anymore. When I was asked why I don’t paint my nails, my response was simple. I just told the guy who asked me that it is just not practical for a traveler like myself and although I used to do it a million years ago, I really just don’t feel the need anymore. Then he told me that my eyes looked tired and I should wear more makeup, which was even funnier because I was wearing my maximum amount of makeup already. Yet I had to consider where I was when getting asked this question because in Lebanon, the girls wear an abundance of makeup and it seems that they all paint their nails, so I guess I was a little too natural for his taste. I had honestly never heard about a guy that cares about nail polish or who likes girls to cake on makeup, but I guess there is a first time for everything!

Another first for me in this part of the world, I realized that here in Lebanon, three people call me something other than Cristine. Chrystelle calls me Cristin, Maya calls me Cristina, and Charbel calls me Cris, which are really my three most normal names. For whatever reason, Cristine (as many people call me in France and in my travels) has never really resonated with me, but I just go with it since Cristin seems so strange to many people. Yet even when I was studying French in high school, I never picked Cristine as my French name, so it is pretty cool that three people here in Lebanon picked up on calling me these names!IMG_3456 Read the rest of this entry

Seeing More of Lebanon, Plus More Amazing Food

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Friday we went to Restaurant Halibi for a fabulous afternoon with Maurice and Dalal. While there, I even got to see a lady making markouk, which is traditional bread from the mountains. Lunch was wonderful and we ate an abundance of more fabulous Lebanese food!

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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

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