If you follow me in my social media accounts, in my facebook page or my instagram account, you would have seen that I spent my August in a different way. My August had the scent of the Middle East. Oh yes! I renounced the greek islands and the greek beaches and I decided to realize an 11-days trip to the Middle East. So, I thought of writing down and sharing with you 11 things that I learnt during my stay in these countries. One thing, every day! Let’s start!
1. The climate during August was not as I expected it. It was much worse! It’s the humidity that makes it intolerable. You come out of a building and it takes only seconds for your glasses to blur! This is why, everything is ‘designed’ in a specific way, so that people don’t get to deal with the extreme heat. What do I mean? All internal spaces are, ofcourse, air conditioned. Moreover, if you want to grab food from a McDonalds or a street food place, you just park your car outside and either you toot or someone gets out and takes your order. You, simply, don’t get off the car. Nevertheless, this may be the result of a general easiness of life there. And I do not mean professionally. But this seems to be the general life concept.
2. Let’s say now that it is 1 o’clock at night and you want something from the grocery. You just make the call and during the next minutes your order is outside your door. Even if your order is just a pack of Lays.
3. If you think that the greek driving can be compared to a jungle situation, you have to see the driving (non) rules in the Middle East! You are driving at the right side of the road and the driver behind you is flashing the lights so that you move. Reminder. You are at the right side of the road. Moreover, pedestrians are everywhere and you may see them unexpectedly, so you have to be extremely careful and reflective.
4. This is something you forget, though, when you fill your car with gas and you pay only 8 euros! It may be normal for the Middle East, but as a Greek, I will always get impressed!
5. The ritual of Friday is having brunch. I have to inform you here that Friday and Saturday is our equivalent to Saturday and Sunday. The brunch situation in the Middle East contains whatever you can imagine! You can actually select a type of cuisine that you like. Asian? Spanish? Whatever you choose, be sure that you will end up filling many plates!
6. Lemon mint. Lemon mint. I just loved that! Lemonade with mint and if you want, you can add some sugar in. People there drink it all day long, from breakfast to dinner. I was always enjoying drinking lemonade, but now I have a new goal. To find one in Athens that can beat the Middle East one. Chances are rare.
7. And juices. Many fresh juices. There are many little places that make fresh juice and the truth is, people need them, in order to tolerate the heat.
8. I learnt for once again to respect the culture and the customs of the place I visit. No, I will not go for a walk wearing clothes that provoke. I learnt to respect what the country I am visiting respects. Agree or disagree with the rules, has not importance. After all, that place is hosting me.
9. I loved even more the local markets, known as Souk. Why? Simply, because they are places that many locals get to gather and because you truly get to experience the Middle East scent!
10. I found really interesting the Arabian architecture. You get to see a representative sample in every Mosque.
11. I learnt not to be such surprised by the burqa and by whatever this represents. It is actually worth reading and getting informed of why women in the Middle East wear the burqa. It is very usual to correlate Islam with the trampling of democracy and the human freedom. But let’s not forget that until recently, other religions were considered an obstacle for democracy as well. So, it would be really useful If we all make a research of the recent history of the Middle East and of the crucial role that the foreign forces played in it.
12. I will mention one more thing. Consider it as a bonus! Amazing food! If you are open in tasting new flavours, you will absolutely enjoy food. Indian cuisine, asian, spanish, belgian, thai, are just some of the cuisines you will be able to taste. I didn’t have the time to try aithiopian and armenian. Next time for sure!
What is your experience from the Middle East?