Driving East

Eid Al Adha’s timing was perfect: my sister was out of town, I was off from college and from work, I had no pending freelance photography to do, no family commitments, friends all busy with their families — it was the perfect opportunity to sit, relax, and do absolutely nothing for once. Even my exam, due on the 14th, has been put on hold because I really needed the break.

After spending the first day sick in bed and the consecutive days uneventful (but wonderful in being so), the clouds rolled in and thundered their way into the Emirates overnight. Early morning, I woke up to the gloomy skies and damp air. True to the weather reports, it was going to be a rainy day.

I had a few errands to run that day — little things like laundry, cleaning, and some other “item fetching” from several malls and places — but decided to take the opportunity to set out on a journey to the Eastern Regions that I have been planning for quite a while now. I visited the area a few years ago during summer, but have since loved to go again in the cooler months. I knew that the sky would make the trip much more memorable, and so I packed in some sandwiches and some water, armed myself with my camera (which I did not use) and my phone camera (which I extensively used) and headed east.

Driving East

When I stopped by the gas station to fuel up, I thought of documenting this trip — why not? It was a ride of contemplation; I thought about many things on my way and enjoyed the ride. When I arrived at the mountainous areas, I felt I was in heaven; living in flat-Dubai makes you truly appreciate other forms of landscapes. Even the desert was different, with dunes dwarfing the Land Cruisers trying to conquer them.

Dunes

It has been a refreshing journey — one I have been looking forward to for months. My soul felt refreshed; I really needed this. The whole journey took me around eight hours before I headed to Ajman to visit my best friend, after which I headed back to Dubai for a well deserved sleep!

Here are the tweets and some more photos — enjoy! (might take a bit to load, and if it doesn’t, refresh!)

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Trip to Syria pt 2 – Sightseeing!

My photoblog is ready but just needs a little brushing up, therefore I thought it best not to postpone this post here and I would be posting some other photos on my photoblog once it is read (should be done in these two days – I just need to edit the header now that my hair has grown back :D )

Alright, anyway, on to the important stuff. I stayed in Syria for 5 days only. I spent the morning and the late nights with granny, and the rest of the day I was out with my best friend, his fiance and all of the rest of the gang… well, not all of them since most of them were out of town. I will post on my best friend later as part 3 of this trip.

I went one day to Safita, my village. I called up Abu Fares and said hi, but apologized for not being able to make it to Tartous which is incredibly close to Safita (and on a clear sky is visible from the Safatly mountains). The other Kinan was also there, and he SMSed me that it was raining. At that time I was under the rain taking photos on my way out of the village. I was only going to Safita for 3/4th of a day and I had to spend it seeing my family there. I saw dad’s side of the family (mom’s side is in Damascus). They were all nice and jolly as usual, which is what I like about brief trips. Staying there for prolonged periods inevitably surfaces many pending family issues, so it was a great idea just to make a brief visit and enjoy the moment.

My grandpa’s health has improved. He has been suffering with some issues in his hands, which made him very sad because it made him stop his job, what he likes doing best – his blacksmith business. Yup, my grandpa is a blacksmith! He has been hitting with the hammer since he was a kid. He’s a pretty strong man ;) Funnily, at the age of 90, he still didn’t stop smoking. He has been smoking for 80 years, he makes and wraps his own cigs. I told him several times to stop smoking but there is little you can do to convince a 90 year old to stop an 80 year old habit.

Back in Damascus, I spent half a day at the Ancient City itself, which was a bit sad because I had little time to take photos and enjoy the place (I usually spend most of my summer holidays there). I didn’t even go inside the Umayyad Mosque to take photos. In fact I didn’t take any proper photos of places, because I didn’t bring my tripod with me and because most of the landscapes I wanted to shoot were now occupied by the military (and my dad is paranoid so I didn’t take a risk).

Oddball of a World vol.3

Good Monday!

Who hates Mondays? We all do. Actually Sundays in this part of the world. But in any case, here is some absurd news that made headlines to cheer you up.

The Gods Have Accepted Your Sacrifice

So you own an airline company and one of your planes has always been jinxed, troubled beyond trouble and might get into the Wikipedia as one of those (if not the most) malfunctional pieces of equipment ever created by man. Yet you’d lose business if it doesn’t fly, and if it does fly you’d lose people. And you don’t have the money to fix it. What a pickle! So what do you do? Simple: Sacrifice two goats to please the sky gods and everything will be fine. Although you might be laughing now, it actually worked. Talk about supernatural powers of goats!

So We Fixed the Plane, Why the DELAY?

Assuming you have a proper plane, you get another problem on your hands: The passengers. No no, not those who arrive last minute, but the ones who want to shuffle seats. I mean, everyone does that, right? Well it appears that the person in question had too many relative females who are seated next to unknown men. Gee, and I thought on a plane everyone knew the other! Three hours later the guy and his infinite number of female relatives got off the plane and all the other passengers missed their connecting flights.

Hello? Paris?

To many people this is a curse, but to one particular person it was amusing. They inherited Paris Hilton’s number. Swell.

What People Do To Avoid Paying Tax

So tax is a big thing apparantly. Here in the Middle East we don’t worry about such things of course, since everything is overpriced by default anyway. However this Japanese woman thought of a brilliant idea: Use your relative’s names so that the government thinks your income is negligible and avoid tax. Thankfully her fine was only a margin of what she made out of her 60-year plot, which is amusing in and of itself.


What People Do To Avoid Paying Retail

It is a simple thing, really, when you don’t want to pay for an item. You just shoplift it, right? Experienced shoplifters (read: Brits) can live for years without any sort of income but live a high-end life with LCD HDTVs, a full supply of groceries and probably even borrowed children. What these shoplifter should teach the new generation is that, when you steal, please don’t go back to the store and ask for an exchange.

I Am Bored. Let’s Save A Shark!

You’re a bored lifeguard. You hear a commotion. Certainly, there must be a problem. Someone drowning. You run to the location and you see people frantically trying to escape a shark. What do you do? Save the shark!