Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back in the Motherland

       It's been 4 days since I've been back in Beirut.  Trying to get internet here is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  Once you DO get internet, have fun trying to find a decent connection.  I have to place the computer in a specific spot to get full bars (just like I did in Saudi, on the edge of my bed rotated at a 20 degree angle to the door lol).  Oh well, c'est la vie.  Its good to be back here!  The weather is definitely cooler than in August.  Beirut wasn't humid at all, there was a beautiful summer breeze.  I'm currently in the South of Lebanon, and I have to say the scenery here is beyond words. 

Yesterday afternoon we took a trip down the valley to a cute little cafe near the river.  They serve coffee and freshly pressed juices and ofcourse the customary sheesha!  I ordered a "laymoonada" which is arabic for lemonade.  I ended up with a fresh orange juice, but it was so good I couldn't complain that it wasn't actually lemonade.  I don't know how they do it here, but the fresh orange juice tastes spectacular, no matter if they're not in season.  I suppose its always the little places that hold the largest gems.  
        Again, I was surprised at how much I had missed small places like this.  Its a completely different world!  No one speaks English in the South, just Arabic and French if you're lucky.  The subject of conversation is always about politics, family gossip or what someone nearby is wearing/doing/saying.  Life is simple here.  You wake up, go to work, come home, eat and go to sleep.  The older generation have no idea what the hell internet is and what the outside world holds.  Just yesterday my grandmother's cousin was talking about how the younger generation go out "almost naked" and smoke sheesha all day, young girls smoking cigarettes as young as 13.  All I could think was, "That's it?" Come to North America and people actually ARE naked, and some 13 year olds are losing their virginity, doing drugs.  Like I said life here is simple as it gets. 
       I've been trying to start my plans for the trip I want to take around the country.  Since I'm in the South I can visit Tyr which is about 40 minutes away from where I am. I'm just waiting for the weather to get a little cooler.  It's still a little hot during the day.  As I visit places I'll post my thoughts and pictures here.  If I happen to find places I didn't originally have on my list, I'll add them to my map!  On the flight over there was an article about all the fun things to do in Lebanon, such as paragliding, RVing, having dinner in a glass restaurant 50 meters above ground. It truly is great here!
Happy Tuesday! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sunday Secrets!

I know its not Sunday, but I haven't done a Sunday secret post in a while and I figured  there's a few days before the next batch are posted. I'm thinking it should be a weekly thing now. I love the whole idea of Post Secret. If you haven't come across it yet, you should check out the Post Secret website. Its updated every Sunday.

I think the reason it appeals to me so much is because of the idea of being able to rid yourself of something that no one else knows about. It has to be somewhat liberating to share a secret, however funny or serious it is, with someone you will never meet in your life. I've always wanted to send one in., maybe one day soon.  The secrets I picked this week are all quite different in their subject. 

I love the first one because I've made this promise to myself before, in a similar place.   Yet, its such a hard promise to keep.  Try as you may, there are so many moments wasted in your life, just waiting. I always find similarities between myself and the secrets sent in.  In the end I think we are all the same in what we experience and what we ultimately want from the world. 

I LOVE this one because its so funny.  Stephen Colbert is hilarious, and its even more hilarious that someone is thinking about the nasty things they want to do to him.  That's the last thing I want to think about when watching Colbert Report.  Also, I love the sketch of Colbert, its spot on!

This secret annoyed me.  It made me want to scream " NOT ALL MIDDLE EASTERNERS ARE TERRORISTS!"  I've wanted to scream that more than once in my life., unfortunately.  I wish Americans would understand that the Middle East isn't just one single entity.  Jordan and Lebanon are completely different, Iran and Iraq are two opposite sides of the spectrum.  Afghanistan and the Taliban have nothing to do with Arabs (they actually speak Farsi and Pashtu).  A Middle Easterner isn't necessarily Muslim, and vice versa.  There are Christian Middle Easterners.  There are  American Muslims. Yet in the end they are inevitably tied together, and these small distinctions don't matter.  A Muslim is synonymous with a man strapped with explosives, Islam is so closely related to terrorism today, its created so much hate for a religion that preaches peace, love and acceptance.  If people stopped and peeled back that layer of propaganda painted so perfectly for them, they would realize the Middle East is rich with knowledge, culture, beautiful sites and most importantly, very hospitable people.  Its a shame a few bad seeds ruined the whole crop.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Site Changes

Hey everyone!  You'll notice a few changes around here at Daily Thoughts.  I'm changing up the blog a bit, updating a few things.  So please bare with me for the next day or two while these changes take place!  Its been almost a year since I started, so I thought it could use a bit of a "spring cleaning" so to speak.  I will keep posting but, in the meantime don't mind the mess! Read on my friends, read on.

My Route Through Lebanon

View Larger Map

This is the route I mapped out for the places I want to visit. You can see how far apart some of the places are. I haven't even covered all of them, I still have a few more to add! I put in the photo and wiki options so you can check out the areas if you want. I hope I can make it to all!

Heading back "home" soon

I don't know if many of you know this but I'm originally Lebanese. So Lebanon is considered home, although I only visit once a year during the summer. I'll be honest. I don't know my own country very well, and as a child you don't really consider the value of something like that. I'm twenty-two now, and I feel like its more important than ever to understand for myself where I come from, what history my beautiful, albeit small, country holds.

As a result, I'm planning a trip around Lebanon in the 3 weeks I'll be there from mid September to mid October. I KNOW Lebanon has a million and one things to offer, from great nightlife, to beautiful beaches, huge mountains, high waterfalls, amazing cuisine and of course the people. I was once told it was the only place you could go to the beach and ski in the same day. I wonder if you really can. Anyone done it before?

Well anyways, here is what I plan on doing and seeing. Hopefully.

Jeita Grotto Caves:

I think this should be one of the seven wonders of the world. What a beautiful place. Famous for its stalagmites and stalactites, this cave is approximately 7000 meters deep. Of course I visited as a child, but its definitely got to be a different experience as an adult. More info on them here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Awesome Mini Kitchen

So if there is one thing I love its food. Food and cooking. I grew up in a house where my mother had 6 mouths to feed, and she never ever skipped out on flavour, presentation or quality. Whether it was 1 person or 100, she always created the best food I have ever eaten, hands down. I'm not just saying this because she is my mom, that would be demeaning her talent as a chef. So as a result, I grew to love food, cooking, hosting parties, attention to detail etc. So this mini kitchen caught my eye right away. I LOVE it. It would probably never work for me as I need alot of space to move and cut and cook, but I love the idea of it. It could be adjusted to work in a larger space.

As an architecture student, the idea of sustainability was largely focused upon during our education, and boy is this thing sustainable.

The video pretty much shows how it works as a system.

Flow2 from Flow 2 on Vimeo.

Flow is a living kitchen where nature and technology are integrated in a symbiotic relationship, processes flow into one another in a natural cycle, efficiently utilizing energy, waste, water and other natural resources. It provides a space not only for preparing food but an environment that gives a better understanding of how natural processes work. A kitchen where food is grown, stored, cooked and composted to grow more food.

I think its such a great idea, so simple, yet so effective. More pics after the jump!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vid of the Day

Ocean of Light: Surface at Kinetica 2010 from squidsoup on Vimeo.

I took a Digital Tools course in my last year of university. We explored immersive, interactive 3D installations. We had to create interactive installations as a final project for the course, it was really one of the best courses I had taken in the Architecture program. This just reminded me of it. An awesome project by a large collaboration of people and universities. For more info/pictures and background check out the Ocean of Light website.