Taanayel Eco Lodge – Authentic Travel

April 4, 2011 3 Comments »

Arcenciel eco lodge lebanon

I crave authentic experiences when I travel. I want culture not tourism. That’s why my time in Lebanon was so special; while living with a family I was able to experience the real Lebanon, with no tourist sugar coating. However, because I was participating in a GeoVisions cultural exchange program, I was not really exposed […]

Photo of the Week – Tripoli

April 1, 2011 7 Comments »

Tripoli has been in the news a lot lately – but there’s more than one Tripoli in the Middle East.  I went to Lebanon’s Tripoli in search of authentic souks and found what I was looking for.  However I quickly realized Tripoli was more than just souks, it has a rich history and cultural feel […]

Walk Beirut

March 31, 2011 9 Comments »

Walk Beirut Tour

“Why did you come here in February? It’s the worst month for weather; it’s so unpredictable.” This was the common question I was asked throughout Lebanon. The sky was heavy with moisture and dark clouds rolled in over the Mediterranean; it was pouring rain yet again. The taxi driver dropped me off near the medical […]

Bombed Beirut – A Personal Tour

March 29, 2011 21 Comments »

bombed church lebanon

Today was my day to go walking through time; a walk through downtown Beirut photographing the bombed buildings which still exist in the Beirut skyline.  I was in shock of the hundreds of bullet holes scarring the buildings and that’s when I saw him; a security guard of some type motioning at me. I immediately […]

Photo of the Week – Mosques of the Middle East

March 25, 2011 12 Comments »

Mohammad al-Amin Mosque Beirut

Just like churches dominate the European landscape, Mosques take the honor in the Middle East.  During my travels in the Middle East this winter I had the chance to visit a few and photograph some of them.  I was rarely let inside the mosques to do photography, but when I was it was a special […]

Middle Eastern Visitation Rights

March 22, 2011 24 Comments »

I sat on the formal couch and listened to the Arabic words swirling around me; lightening fast and coming from every direction. I looked at the people surrounding me and took note of their gestures and facial expressions. I tried to piece together the puzzle of what was being said, but I knew that was […]

The Amazing People You Meet

March 21, 2011 4 Comments »


Meet Charles.  He lives in Taanayel Lebanon and serves as the Quality Control department (ok – there are only 2 people in the QA Department including Charles!) for Arcenciel Organization.  Arcenciel is a really cool NGO which I wrote all about on Briefcase to Backpack recently – click here and learn more. While I was […]

The Culture of War

March 17, 2011 9 Comments »

Holiday Inn Beirut army

“Things may start shaking, so don’t make any plans on February 14th. ” said Walid. ‘Shaking’ was Walid’s term for instability. He went on to explain the significance of February 14th to the Lebanese; this was the date that Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was assassinated in a violent explosion that rocked Beirut right back into […]

Up in Smoke: Culture of Shisha in Lebanon

March 15, 2011 18 Comments »

Smoking shisha in Lebanon

“Put, Put, Puuuut, Putttttt, Puttttt, Purrrrrttttttt….”The slurping, whirring, bubble noise broke through the background lounge music startling me. Next came the sweet smell of apple wafting through the air, hanging there enveloping the entire area in a haze. This same scene went on ever night in ever corner of Lebanon. Lebanon was always smoking; smoking […]

In Search of Souks

March 8, 2011 1 Comment »

saida labanon souk

One of my favorite things about Arabic culture is the souk culture. I was first introduced to souks on my first trip abroad to Turkey. I still remember walking through the Grand Bazaar thinking that it was the most bizarre place I had ever been. Then I traveled to Morocco and was introduced to Fes […]

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