Category — Africa + the Middle East

{10 second vacation} Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar

Nungwi is a stunning spot at the northern tip of Zanzibar. The waters of the Indian Ocean are impossibly blue and the people are incredibly welcoming. As the sun starts to set each evening, the temperature cools and the locals come down to the beach to play soccer. If you get a chance to visit Zanzibar, don’t miss Nungwi! I recommend the cool, laid-back, affordable Z Hotel


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June 20, 2013   No Comments

{recipe} Homemade Harissa

Harissa is a spicy North African sauce or paste made from dried chilis, toasted spices, garlic, and oil. In Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya, people use harissa like mustard or ketchup–it goes on many, many things. It’s hard to find a really excellent version to buy in the U.S., but luckily it’s pretty easy to make at home. I like to make a large batch and preserve it in cute jars so I can give them as hostess gifts.


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May 31, 2013   5 Comments

{bucket list} Tracking Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

A few years ago I had one of the most incredible travel experiences I have had so far – two days of tracking the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. I am probably not skilled enough as a writer to describe how moving and unbelievable the experience was, but I will try.

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to write about this, but it might have something to do with the fact that I have hundreds of gorilla photos to wade through, and when they are this cute – it’s hard to choose which ones to share.

baby gorilla

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May 9, 2013   7 Comments

{10 second vacation} Camel Pals at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt

Handsome devils, aren’t they? And the setting ain’t too shabby, either. This is your ten second vacation for today! And if you like these pictures, you can see a couple more posts about Egypt here and here.

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February 5, 2013   No Comments

{crazy market} Stone Town Market, Zanzibar

I like to share crazy markets on this and other sites, because wherever I travel, the markets are always a big highlight for me. When we were on the island of Zanzibar, we hired a guide to take us around Stone Town so we could see all that the labyrinthine streets and alleys have to offer, including the incredible food markets.

This was really not just one market, but a group of different markets all adjacent to one another: fruit and vegetable, meat, fish, and chicken. It’s important to note that it was at least 100 degrees on the day we visited, and there is no glass on any of the windows.

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October 5, 2011   No Comments

{travelogue} Before the War, After the War: Beirut

{A note: This has taken me a long time to write–years, in fact–and I’m still not really satisfied with it. I have tried to put my thoughts and pictures together many times, but haven’t quite been able to get a handle on what I wanted to share. I find that with certain places I have traveled, what’s in my mind is very difficult to put on paper. So this is an imperfect attempt to do so, at best. I’m grateful not to be a writer on a deadline!}

Beirut is not on most Americans’ list of top travel destinations- but I would argue that it should be. With a picturesque seaside setting on the Mediterranean Sea, a location that’s been the epicenter of world change and growth for thousands of years, and a unique culture that’s a result of demographic diversity and strong national pride–what’s not to like?

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July 27, 2011   2 Comments

{recipe} Kebab Karaz

There is great food to be had all over Syria, but the far northern Syrian city of Aleppo is the one that’s known throughout the Middle East for its refined cuisine and innovative use of flavors and spices. Kebab Karaz, an unusual and unexpectedly tasty combination of lamb meatballs with cherries, pomegranate, and pine nuts, is one of the signature dishes of the region. The flavor combination is unusual but wonderfully balances the richness of the lamb with the sweet and sour notes in the sauce.

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June 9, 2011   7 Comments

{crazy market} Morning Madness at Mzizima Fish Market in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Most people only visit Dar es Salaam as a stop in a journey onwards to Zanzibar or a safari. There is something in Dar that’s totally worth a visit, though: the morning madness at Mzizima Fish Market.

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April 11, 2011   1 Comment

{wordless wednesday} Barbecued Lamb Heads For Sale in Damascus, Syria

March 16, 2011   No Comments

{10 second vacation} Not Afraid of Color in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

February 16, 2011   No Comments