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On Arabic Sweets and the Middle East: Kunafa

All of these things are true… I had been in Jordan for several weeks and my love affair with Arabian sweets had reached a lofty peak. In fact, I would begin and end each day with a platter of pastries, smothered in honeys and syrups that would flood through heaps of pistachios on my plate. Then it happened… I […]

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Arabic Art Author Authors Culture Globalization interview Islam Istanbul literature politics Thought Provoking writing

On the Revolutionary Power of Diverse Thought: Elif Shafak

“So from populist demagogues, we will learn the indispensability of democracy. And from isolationists, we will learn the need for global solidarity. And from tribalists, we will learn the beauty of cosmopolitanism and the beauty of diversity.”

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Anthropology Archaeology Art asia Backpacking Blogging City Guide Culture Europe foodie history Istanbul Middle East Poetry Sketching Sites Travel travel writing Turkey Watercolor

Sketching Sights: Istanbul, City on the Edge (Art. Travel. Writing. Islam. Architecture)

The Bosphorus splits Istanbul in two parts. A rift in the madness of Europe and Asia, drifting between bodies of fresh and salt water cooling the heated passion of a most ancient urban jungle. The hot, hot, heat of human movement generates organized chaos as this great strait, this rift, cushions the blow, keeping this […]

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Adventure Africa Anthropology Archaeology Art Author Backpacking City Guide Culture Food foodie Gastronomy gaza Grece history Islam israel Istanbul Jordan Kansas City memoir Middle East Morocco NaNoWriMo palestine Poetry Spain spiritual tbex Travel travel writing west bank writing

NaNoWriMo : Into the Wild

Earlier this year, I set a goal to finish a solid draft of my memoir and to achieve this mission i’m going into the wild, er, offline… A MONTHLONG period away from social media, the internet, ethernet and all those nets, in an archaic approach to finish this labor of love that i’m damn excited […]

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Art asia Backpacking City Guide Culture Europe history Istanbul Middle East Sketching Sites Travel travel writing Watercolor

Sketching Sights: Galata Tower (Istanbul, Turkey)

Like a great minaret, the Galata Tower represents so much more than meets the eye. Built in 1348 as the re-imagining of an earlier structure the tower has gone from hosting inmates, as a prison, to holding great secrets as an observatory for the astrologer Takıyeddin Efendi. What’s more, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi the 17th century aviator… if you […]

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Anthropology Art Backpacking Culture history Istanbul Jordan Middle East Turkey

Hookah of the Magic Bowl

For several months the hookah served as an icebreaker as I worked my way around the Middle East. Embracing the culture, I learned to appreciate the traditions and social norms attached to this symbol of community. While the beginnings of this exotic device are unclear, several sources from the 16th century mention a “water pipe” […]