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My Trip To ‘No Mean’ Nazareth

September 12, 2016

Bus from Jerusalem to Nazareth cost 39NIS and takes just under 2 hours.

Nazareth. Open for business?

Nazareth, started as a little Jewish town around 2,000 years prior has spread its name far and wide as religion and skeptics alike desire to see the spot where the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ had lived, though to me, this mainstream holy city brough a new type of enlightening to mind.

It’s not that Nazareth is empty. It is closed, look at my pics! This beautiful forgotten city in the lower Galilee is practically a ghost town situated in the heart of a valley encompassed by mountains that surround a few of the most vital Christian houses of worship on the planet. Did I feel an otherworldly or blessed atmosphere? No. Did I feel as though I walking in a trance through a city rich in holy history. No. This is the city where, as indicated by popular custom, the blessed messenger Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive by the force of the Holy Spirit, and the spot where Jesus spent his adolescence and youth. Yet, it is an epic fail – empty and deserted it is so hard to believe that Nazareth, the biggest Arab city in Israel, has around 30 houses of worship and religious communities, and in addition mosques and antiquated synagogues is dead. I figured everybody was probably in Tel Aviv – the alternative city where (almost) anything goes.

nazareth

If I told you Mary had 7 kids and remained a virgin who would you trust?

Some confusion as to Marys Grotto where the angel Gabriel announced the divine pregnancy!

Some confusion as to Marys Grotto where the angel Gabriel announced the divine pregnancy!

I took a visit to the Church of Annunciation and stood outside Joseph and Mary’s home and just as I was about to sneak in for a closer look when I had a moment of truth. I suddenly converted my thoughts. I finally got it. Defined by her virginity, lauded for limitless humility and submission, Mary is the baddest bitch that ever lived. Stories have successfully convinced people who, while a virgin she and gave birth to Jesus. Whatsmore, she still remains a virgin even though the gospels clearly stated that Jesus had four brothers and two (unnamed) sisters the theologians of Christ were disposed to argue that the virgin “purity” of their goddess was not to be compromised: she had, they insisted, remained a virgin throughout the whole birthing process.

Mark Twain — ‘It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.’

Jesus of where?!

Food for thought

When we look for historical confirmation that Nazareth is the hometown of a god – …OMG! – no source confirms that the place even existed in the 1st century AD. What the devil is going on?!? The expression ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ is actually a bad translation of the original Greek ‘Jesous o Nazoraios’. More accurately, we should speak of ‘Jesus the Nazarene’ where Nazarene has a meaning quite unrelated to a place-name. What we do know is that ‘Nazarene’ (or ‘Nazorean’) was originally the name of an early Jewish-Christian sect – a faction, or off-shoot, of the Essenes. They had no particular relation to a city of Nazareth. The root of their name may have been ‘Truth’ or it may have been the Hebrew noun ‘netser’ (‘netzor’), meaning ‘branch’ or ‘flower.

• Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua (19.10,16) – in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area – records twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any ‘Nazareth’ from its list.

• The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.

St Paul knows nothing of ‘Nazareth’. Rabbi Solly’s epistles (real and fake) mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at all.

• No ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.

 

Photos of the Empty Streets Of Nazareth

Nazareth

Empty Streets Of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Africa Blog Uncategorized

Crossing the Taba, Egypt to Eilat, Israel land Border on foot

August 27, 2016

Since the 2014 Taba bus bombing on a tourist coach, killing 4 – foreigners are crossing the EgyptIsrael border less and less

It took about 20 minutes to cross the border from Taba to Eilat and I didn’t pay anything and it was a breeze compared to the nightmare border crossing I did on Africa’s most corrupt border from Senegal to Mauritania.

How to cross the border from Taba to Eilat on foot

  1. Take the bus from Sharm or Dahab or Neweibaa to the Taba / Eilat border
  2. Pass security checks from Egyptian Officials (quick and easy but you might have to pay a fee)
  3. Get your exit stamp in the Egyptian Immigration office and leave the Taba office
  4. Walk to the Eilat border office
  5. Pass security checks (usually female officials)
  6. Enter the immigration office to scan your bags
  7. Fill out immigration forms to get your passport stamped
  8. Exit the Eilat immigration office

You might get pulled out of the immigration line like I did, but the questioning is fairly straightforward. “what are you doing” “why were you in Egypt” “how long do you plan to stay”

I took the bus from Sharm to Taba which left at 9am from Sharm bus station. The journey should have been 4 hours but the police patrol along the way made it about 5 hours. This is important to account for if you are on a time limit. The bus passes through Dahab and Neweibaa.

From Taba I took a micro bus to the Taba – Eilat border crossing for 10 EG£

My Experience Crossing the Taba to Eilat Border on foot

Crossing the border from Taba

On the Egyptian you cross through about 4 checks (guys sitting down in chairs outside) and the official crossing inside the ‘office’ where you complete an exit form.
Fees: You must pay 2EG£ exit fee to leave Egypt which I didn’t pay… If you’re lucky, like me you can say that you don’t have any money.

Crossing the border to Eilat

Apart from a Kenyan holy pilgrimage group of people aged 60+, I was the only foreigner crossing the border from Egypt into Israel.
There are 4 border control check points you must pass to get into Eilat.
1st: The lady asked me the basic questions; why are you coming to Israel? etc…
2nd: Baggage scan
3rd: As I was waiting in the line for my visa a young border official stormed out her office and demanded an old Kenyan man who was on the holy pilgrimage (he was wearing a t-shirt ‘holy pilgrimage tours’) come with her. In her office, she probably asked him a few questions and I saw him leave happily, join his group and they disappeared on their holy way, out the doors and into Israel.
The lady stormed back out and looked directly at me. ‘Are you alone? Come with me!’
If there is anything that I am not good at.. It is interrogation.

The immigration officer asked me…

What are you doing in Israel? Where are you staying? What did you do in Egypt? Where did you go in Egypt? Where are your parents from? How much money do you have / Do you have a bank card? Are you a student or work?

I was foolishly, nervously smiling and even laughing throughout our exchange, I’m bad with confrontation. I kept telling her that she can check the information she was asking me for. For example; I showed her my two bank cards, one which is a business banking card and one my personal banking card. I played her voice notes on whatsapp of my Israeli friends giving me directions from the border and she totally totally relaxed. Then we became friends the  conversation totally changed, it even became silly. She started to smile and told me that she wants to go to London. I told her that I live alone in the city center and she is more than welcome to stay with me… The conversation was friendly and I felt like if I asked her for her number, she would have happily given it. Anyway, she gave me my paper visa and I was on my way to the 4th check point which was outside her office.

4th: Final visa check. The lady who ‘interrogated’ me, came out with me and this one was swift. A glance at the paper visa and my passport and… I walked out into Israel!

Fees: I paid no fees to enter Israel, and none to exit Egypt (i hold a British passport)

What not to say to Israeli border officials

All young people are interrogated at the border because of various reasons; either they look suspicious or they plan to volunteer in Israel for some months. You are not allowed to volunteer in Israel due to tax reasons. This is why Israeli border officials often target young backpackers for interrogation. Do not say you are coming to volunteer, this includes in hostels or on organic farms. I learned this from travelling volunteers I met along the way. To guarantee your entry into Israel say that you are travelling around Israel, learning about the vibe/culture, hiking etc.. It is better for you, and ensures that the place you are actually volunteering at does not get into trouble.

Egypt & Israel; the immediate difference

It is shocking that the 10m border between Egypt and Israel can make SUCH a difference!

The difference between Israel and Egypt hits you as soon as you cross the border, you go from covered up women to bikini’s and nudes everywhere. It’s insane

This picture is what you see when you cross the border to Eilat, this is totally different to the conservative, religious ways of Egypt. I had to pinch myself to make sure that it wasn’t a dream because it was unreal!

As soon as I stepped out into Israel I was stunned with surprised. The border is on the beach so I immediately saw many people on the beach side in Eilat camping, snorkeling, drinking, smoking, naked, dancing and enjoying. I felt I stepped directly into a whole different world. It was so free; nobody was swimming with clothes, couples were kissing and hugging each other, the people had alternative styles you’d associate with Berlin, Barcelona or London.
It was amazing. I was so impressed. On first sight I was happy to be in Israel!

COMPARISON:
My first 5minutes into Egypt I was scammed immediately!
My first 1 minute into Israel was AMAZING. I walked into an awesome open environment

View My Trip To Eilat

Uncategorized Vegan

Egyptian Vegan Food (aka Vegan heaven)

August 21, 2016

Most Egyptians don’t know what vegan means…

they may not realise it but Egypt is vegan heaven. Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians left evidence of their love for food. Well-preserved wall paintings and carvings have been discovered on tombs and temples, depicting large feasts and a variety of foods. Many of these ancient foods are still eaten in Egyptian households today. Peas, beans, cucumbers, dates, figs, and grapes were popular fruits and vegetables in ancient times. Wheat and barley, ancient staple crops, were used to make bread and beer.

Eating in Egypt has been a joy and a delight. Unlike in Europe where vegan is a trend, it is a part of their daily cuisine. Here is my list of my top vegan Egyptian Food.

Fūl

They say that rich people eat it for breakfast, normal people eat it at lunch, poor people eat it in the evenings and donkeys eat it at night. Ful medames or simply fūl, is a dish of cooked fava beans served with vegetable oil, cumin, and optionally with chopped parsley, garlic, onion, lemon juice, chili pepper and other vegetable, herb and spice ingredients.

ful egyptian food

Tabouleh

Tabouleh is a is healthy, quick to prepare salad comprising largely of parsley and bulgur wheat, and is ubiquitous across the Middle East. It is typically served as one of a number of tapas-style hot and cold starters known as mezzes.

Falafel

If you’re in Egypt and you ask for falafel, more than likely what you will actually received are Tamiya, the superior Egyptian version of the classic Middle Eastern dish. The recipe for Tamiya – or the Egyptian falafel – is similar to that of traditional falafel, however instead of using chickpeas, Egyptian falafel recipe uses mashed white broad beans instead.

Frying-Pan-Adventures-Egyptian-Falafal

Tahini

If you’re travelling in Egypt, you will more than likely experience baba ganoush as one of a number of starters. It is a blended, smoky paste of aubergine (that’s Eggplant if you’re reading this in North America), tahini, garlic, lemon and herbs

Koshari

A staple of the everyday Egyptian diet, Kosheri is a blend of macaroni, rice and lentils topped with fried onions, lemon juice and spicy tomato sauce. Kosheri is cheap, simple and fast.

Egyptian_food_Koshary

Baba Ganouche aka Baba

Baba ganoush is a delicious, healthy vegetarian dish eaten commonly across Egypt and elsewhere. A blended, smoky paste of aubergine (that’s Eggplant if you’re reading this in North America), tahini, garlic, lemon and herbs.

Baba-Ganoush1

Mesaka’a

It is loved by almost everybody. It is easy and tasteful. It is.. Mesaka‘a. It is made out of fried eggplant which is dried before adding the seasoning. It’s a delicious, low-calorie food for the health-conscious.

mesakaa

Kousa Mahshi

Stuffed zucchini with rice, lemon, onion, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, cinnamon, mint, cumin, ground spice, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper and cloves

SONY DSC

Hummus

Hummus is a thick, filling dip made from mashed chickpeas, sesame paste, and olive oil. In Egypt a bowl of hummus and pita bread is a meal in itself. Available from almost anywhere that sells food, sells hummus. It’s healthy, simple to prepare and cheap.

hummus

Molkhia

Molokhia is a green leaf vegetable also known as ‘Jew’s Mallow’ and is not dissimilar to spinach. It’s used in a variety of Egyptian dishes and is instantly recognisable by its viscous, slimy quality. Although typically served like a soup, it’s customary to eat with rice onto which the molokhia is spooned like a sauce. It was a bit weird at first but I got use to the slimy texture and enjoyed it.

Oysy-bigstock-molokhia-soup-egyptian-cuisin-33944924

Fatta

Considered a Nubian dish, fatta is usually prepared for festivities such as a woman’s first birth, and both Christian and Muslim holiday celebrations. It consists of layers of rice and fried bread, covered in a garlic.

fatta

Teen Shoki

Egyptian Fruit you can find on street for sale by street vendors.

Ghazal Al Banat

Before cotton candy existed, there was spun sugar, but before people could “spin” sugar, they had to caramelize it. Meet Ghazal Al Banat, the Egyptian sweet sweet ‘cotton candy’. This video from NoGarlicNoOnions shows how it is made.

Fattoush

This Egyptian salad makes the most of fresh seasonal vegetables and left over pita bread. The dressing is a zesty mix of lemon and sumac, a Middle Eastern spice with a tart citrus flavour.

Fattoush-1

 

R Uncategorized

Yes, but no, I’m not the CEO of successful company. I’m a beach bum

June 19, 2016

If there is one question I hate, it is this:

What do you do?

Should it really matter what I do? I don’t care about what you do… I never ask.
The question indicates that I need validation. If what I do is satisfactory to the person asking, then I get given the green light. If not.. well forever be judged.

Have you realised that most answers are variations of the same damn thing? Besides… who cares if you’re a student, accountant or CEO of whatever. Yay

This type of conversation starter is the most simplest open-ended question. The receiver has an auto response and… the conversation continues. Risk free and comfortable. That’s probably why 99% of the population ask it.

My typical first conversation goes like this:

So… What do you do?

– I cycle / play guitar / travel / chill on the beach / chill anywhere / sail / snorkle / hike.. And you?

As I start to list what I do my questioner starts to look slightly displeased with my answer. Sadly I know that you’re trying to ask me one of the following questions:

How much do you earn? Where do you work? What financial position are you in?
Are you richer than me? Is my status higher? ARE YOU WORTH MY TIME?

I do this all the time. And continue without revealing my title. Eventually the questioner begins to tell me about their passions and hobbies.

It erks me when people ask me this. And everyone does. I understand why, its autoconvo but I’m not like everyone else. I love flare.

Tell me about your passion, what excites you and what you love. I don’t care about title, I don’t care where you studied or lived
I care about getting to know you


 

Think of this shift as changing a noun into a verb. Instead of giving people a title (i.e., a box to put you in), let them know what you enjoy doing—what you’re passionate about—and then discover what they enjoy. The conversation will morph into something far more interesting, and you’ll learn a lot more about each other than your silly job titles. – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

 

R Uncategorized

The 5 I’s you should look for in people

May 6, 2016
Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.
Oprah Winfrey

Don’t surround yourself with people who don’t

  • Inspire
  • Influence
  • Impress
  • Interest
  • Indulge

You.

Seriously, lately I’ve been socialising alot and I’ve been meeting new people. If somebody doesn’t do one of the above our connection soon dies out. People in my life need to have flair so I can learn new things or see thing from a total new point of view. By looking for those qualities in people you can kick the dead wood to the side and move forward.

This is valid for friendships, partnerships and relationships.

 

Uncategorized Vegan

3 Foods To Boost Brain Power That You Wouldn’t Guess

April 9, 2016

Blueberries

Evidence accumulated at Tufts University in the United States suggests that the consumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss. Widely available, so there’s no excuse.

Broccoli

A great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.

Pumpkin Seeds

Just a handful of pumpkin seeds a day is all you need to get your recommended daily amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.

R Uncategorized

I haven’t watched a movie in 3 years

April 9, 2016

It’s not you, its me.

  • I get bored
  • I feel guilty that I am wasting time
  • I feel unproductive
  • It doesn’t stimulate me
  • I don’t want to be influenced

The last time I really watched something was with my ex. We use to have cozy nights and snuggle up and watch stuff. Since then I’ve never watched anything. I don’t have a netflix account. I don’t even watch clips on youtube.

Not even the news…

Yes, I might be missing something that the media projects but I am willing to take the risk.

If we ever meet, don’t invite me to watch anything… 😉