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The Egyptians We Met

By Deeba Haidercorner in Cairocorner in Cairo

When I told my friends and extended family last fall that I was going to Egypt for three weeks with my dad, they all said, "Wow! What a wonderful opportunity! Are you sure it's safe?" After I came back from my trip to Egypt, the same people said to me, "Welcome Back! I want to hear all about your trip. Did you feel safe?"

Well, perhaps, I am a little naive, but it never crossed my mind that I would not be safe. I had plenty of other friends, European, American, Arab who frequented Egypt often, some lived and worked there and they loved it. I was eager to see what they described.

Zaatar Days, Henna Nights

Adventures, Dreams, and Destinations Across the Middle East

Reviewed by Catherine BatruniBook CoverBook Cover

The processes of self-discovery, inner growth, and understanding oneself and the world are only a handful of the numerous intrinsic rewards of traveling. Every so often, something in our hearts stirs us in a kind of epiphany and encourages an abandonment of our monotonous routines. This is exactly what happens to Maliha Masood, author of "Zaatar Days, Henna Nights", when she quits her tech job in Seattle and buys a one-way ticket to the Middle East. She spends approximately a year and a half exploring Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. What some may find unusual is that a Muslim woman-and an American at that-was sufficiently footloose to brave the Middle East alone.

Trekking Through The Egyptian Desert

Excerpt From A Muslim-American Woman's Journey Through The Middle East

From Zaatar Days, Henna Nights: Adventures, Dreams, and Destinations Across the Middle East by Maliha Masood.

Inner Sanctum

On our third day, we headed toward the Libyan border, entering the cusp of the Western Desert that branches out into the Sahara. An immense wilderness unfolded and held me captive. We discovered a plain with no visible limits. Only our jeep tracks indicated any signs of life, carving deep incisions in the chocolate brown sand. This time Badri found a fabulous campsite. We scaled the ridge of a long dune and inched down into a hollow depression flanked by boulders as if they were curtains. Footprints in the SandFootprints in the Sand


Beirut Named Number One Place To Visit By New York Times

Subtitle: the summertime, in the city...Beirut? Who woulda thunkit!

Story and photographs by Catherine Batruni

As spring breaks and summer vacations are slowly but surely creeping upon us, many of you are searching for new locations to frequent. A vacation spot that doesn’t usually come to mind—for most Americans anyway—is the Middle East. Surprisingly, the New York Times ranked Beirut in the top ten out of forty-four destinations to visit this year in their January 11th, 2009 travel issue. Beirut was the only Levantine destination to receive this acknowledgement, unless you consider Qatari resorts competition with eastern Mediterranean hot spots.