This is messy and long because I’m emotional about the subject. I can totally feel both sides. However, this is my truth which I had been holding back for fear of upsetting many loved ones. “Pardon my dust!”Cats! Leave them alone! They’re not your toys, babies, ornaments or responsibility. If you love them, treat them … More Cats: Let the Meow Roar!
We started climbing at 1 am. I was wearing 2 layers of socks and closed shoes, yet my feet were cold. I labored with every step but the thought of stopping was scary because of the cold. No moon night. The sky was shimmering with stars but I had to look at the ground to … More Mount Sinai
We took a taxi, boat, another taxi to get there. It took us 2 hours (5 hours if you walk). There were a few Bedouin camps, some kite surfers and the beautiful light blue, clear water of the Blue Lagoon (North Eastern Red Sea). As soon as we sat down on the carpets by the … More Cat Wisdom
Etosha National Park in Namibia is huge and sparsely populated. Most of the big animals we saw were far away. We would get excited upon seeing a silhouette of a giraffe or an elephant from a distance. I had a bad headache that day and I really wanted to close my eyes but I didn’t … More Leopard Encounter…
“WHAT! Don’t do it! You’ll get attacked by hippos and crocodiles. Whoever offered you this trip is desperate for money. They’ll sell you anything. It’s not safe”. People started recounting dangerous encounters with wildlife (one was very recent) and the conversation deteriorated fast into fear mongering. They were obviously scared and I could feel the … More Dodging Hippos
In 40°C (104°F), we walked, took a collective taxi (a sardine can of people), another taxi to finally arrive 3 hours later at Sichilonge; a small Zambian village of 110 people near Victoria Falls. No electricity. No tap water. No (gasp) internet and no paved roads. Wait, it gets more interesting: want to pee? Go … More Village Life
Mosi-oa-tunya! (The smoke that thunders). Sacred waters where the gods live. For countless generations, the Tonga people who lived on the Zambezi river, worshipped and prayed to Nyami Nyami, the mighty God of the river. He protected them and gave them sustenance in difficult times. The river was sacred, the falls were sacred and there … More The Smoke that Thunders
“Watch out for the elephants” she yelled from her car as she slowed down and passed me. It was dark and I was walking home to my lodge in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Up until then, I was worried about getting mugged (after my bad experience in South Africa). But now, elephants entered the picture! Instead … More Mighty Mind-Falls!
How do you travel in a place where your phone doesn’t work, your ATM card doesn’t work, they use 3 different currencies and exchange rates change daily? With a lot of help from friends!When I landed in Zimbabwe, Zim for short, I had no idea about the economic sanctions, their financial meltdown or any of … More In the absence of money…
We all learnt about it in geography class. It fascinated me for some reason. I would see, in my mind’s eye, ships sailing around it, feeling triumphant and hopeful about the rest of their trip. When I finally made it to South Africa, I had to go see the Cape of Good Hope. I wanted … More Deadly Spices!
Even the taxi driver warned me against doing it alone. “Why is it dangerous?” I asked. “You might slip and fall”, he said. “Is there a chance of robbery?”, I asked. “Very unlikely. But you should go with someone. They can take pictures of you”.I checked in with myself and I really wanted to do … More A Table like no Other!
I didn’t expect to stay that long, but South Africa sucked me into its charm and intensity. It’s a fascinating country with probably the most diverse pool of human genes. People from all over the world came here, willingly and unwillingly, interbred, often through rape, and found a way to make this part of the … More South Africa
Imagine someone killing you to get your nails and hair. How stupid is that? Nails and hair grow back and are renewable. One would think you’re more valuable alive than dead because you’d be able to provide a lot more “crop” of nails and hair. Sadly, greed, short sightedness and cruelty are abundant in humans, … More On the Brink…
When I think of sub Saharan Africa, animals come to mind. Big animals. The most famous are the so-called “Big 5”: lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard. They’re named as such because they’re the ones that fight back when hunted. They’re not your average Joe animal that you encounter anywhere, and they are indeed a … More Fancy meeting them here…
I’m either here now, or behind my phone/camera recording the here and now. Sure, there are many moments that I want to freeze in memory and/or share with loved ones far away. But the moment I take my phone/camera out to record it, I lose that very same precious moment. I’m not here now anymore, … More To Be or To Record…
It didn’t dawn on me that I was being mugged until he said “give me your phone”. Up until that point, I thought he was a beggar trying to get some money by pretending to help. I was walking up the highway ramp and there was no other soul in sight. “FU¢KING SH!T”, I thought … More The most dangerous animal…
“Bite the hand that feeds them” doesn’t only describe ungrateful people, it also applies to wild dogs. Not because they’re ungrateful, far from it. Biting, for wild dogs, is the only way they know how to show emotions, good or bad. Sadly for the hand that feeds them, their bite is much stronger than that … More Cats & Dogs on the wild side!
Time is funny! Life; experiences, journeys, places, people and things get filtered into sensations, snippets, fragments, memory capsules frozen in time. The capsules have keys. Once unlocked, they transport us back to that time. Details and contours are blurred, but the sensations, the cellular memory, the non-conscious entity are very present. The keys are typically … More Time Capsules
Alexandria, Egypt, 1970s: we grew up in the same neighborhood within walking distance from each other. Went to the same schools, sat in the same classes from kindergarten to high school, had the same friends. Went through childhood, puberty, early adulthood and first love stories together. We carpooled to school, ate, played and slept in … More Touching My Roots
Where there are cats, there is love!Dónde hay gatos, hay amor!Cats are the epitome of unconditional love, which starts towards oneself (4 Practices 4 Unconditional Love). Cats, naturally, give from a full cup. By taking care of themselves and their needs, they provide pleasure, beauty, joy and love organically. That’s the essence of unconditional love: … More Everything I know, I learnt from my Cat!
Walking along the sea shore under the moon light, silence is only broken by strange crackling sounds. A sound like I’d never heard before. The closest I could liken it to is a flamenco dancer playing her castanets quietly. There were no people, cars, radios or electricity. Everytime I stop, the sounds stop. I know … More Who’s Crackling?
There were thousands of them, no: millions! At first, we thought it was seaweed because of the brown color. But the texture looked different, maybe a different kind of seaweed? As we got closer, we saw little wings, millions of little wings. A few were moving. We stopped for a closer look. What started out … More One Flight Stand!
They take no prisoners! They go for broke. Nothing is sacred. Realistically, I’m in their home: the jungle. Despite having running water and electricity, they were here first, and I’m sure they’ll be here after we’re all gone. They always find a way in. Trying to keep them out without excessive amounts of poison, is … More Hurts so Good!
Majestic! Gracefully gliding high in the sky without even moving their wings. Silently riding the air currents, cruising around, diving down and soaring up like a fish in the sea. They look magnificent with the large span of their wings, the effortless flow of their flight and the ease by which they soar high in … More Above it all, Below it all!
Dear Hyoomn,You’ve been mostly kind to us. Caring, feeding, spoiling… Thank you! But I’m not your toy, not your child and not an ornament (even though you’ve bred some of us to be just that). I don’t need your protection or control. I’m a resilient, powerful being just like you. I love to play, bask … More Pussy Letter
Being in Costa Rica is like being inside a nature show. Life abounds in all forms, shapes and sizes. Mother Earth is alive! Unlike Hawaii where the land is young and Nature is relatively safe, Costa Rica’s abundance of life forms forced a healthy competition among species and a natural balance. Enter us, humans, and … More Jungle Destruction
“Shorter of breath and one day closer to death!” A friend used to send me this Pink Floyd verse as a birthday greeting. I used to think it’s a depressing way to think about birthdays, and time in general. Yet now, I believe it’s a good reminder to live life fully, regardless of the circumstances. … More Transforming Resistance
One of the things I like about living in the developing world is the connection to the origin of things. In the USA, like other “developed” countries, many things are masked, hidden and disguised with a user friendly facade. However, in many old cultures, people are in touch with where their food comes from without … More Sausage anyone?
“Renewal” typically has positive connotations: new beginnings, hope…etc, things that inspire optimism. Except in Egypt. “He/she got a renewal” means that their indefinite, illegal prison sentence has been extended 45 days. Then what? Another 45 days that typically add up to years. Tens of thousands of Egyptian families, mine included, live with loved ones behind … More Renewal
Growing up with Middle Eastern food made eating in México an exercise in acceptance and tolerance. Food components are almost identical to Middle Eastern food, but the taste is worlds apart. It seems like when the Spaniards came over, they brought the ingredients but forgot the recipes 😔. There’s even a faux shawarma dish, called … More La Comida Mexicana!