Dubai, the futuristic city

As my businesses partners and I entered Dubai, the first adjective uttered to describe Dubai was “futuristic”, with glossy buildings and man-made islands

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The first couple of days were hectic, we didn’t get to see much of the city as we were preparing for our pitch. During this time, we realized Dubai is very diverse city with 85% of it being expats, we met people from so many different countries, from Spain to the Philippines to Latin America and the USA

After the competition was over, we were invited to eat a delightful dinner buffet at Jumeirah beach hotel. The food was incredible, from local Egyptian food Koshary being offered to grilled shrimp and chocolate fountains. It was by the beach, overlooking the Burg Al-Arab, a beautiful sail-shaped building. (the room sticking out at the top is actually a tennis room).

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Although I did not have much time to check out the city’s extravagance, I was able to visit the tallest building in the world: Burg el khalifa. It reached up to the sky, and the building was covered with a lightshow- the building changed colours, patterns, lights shot up from the bottom of the building to the top, I was in awe.

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I also got a chance to see their dancing fountain, which is right next to the building. It is unlike any I have seen before, the water shot up into the sky exactly in sync with the music, lights changing based on the emotion being sung. The crowd gasped and cheered, there was even an applause… yes an applause for a fountain!

IMG_2040.pngInside the Dubai mall, there is an Area called SkiDubai with artificial snow- where you can ski, pet penguins and more. To get pumped up, I went zip lining in Ski Dubai, it was really cold, my face went numb, my eyes watered, it was hard to remember I was still inside a mall.

Finally, I also got away from the city, and we went to a park. The park was just beautiful, the colours, the butterflies, it was a refreshing change. It had houses, shapes, bridges built from flowers. It was simply breathtaking- it’s one of my favourite places visited so far.

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Dubai is the pinnacle of capitalism, a city of luxury and extravagance. I recommend it to all city-lovers!

Special thanks to my friend and business partner Mahmoud Sultan for letting me use his pictures in this post.

Thank  you for taking the time to read this post- hope you enjoyed it! I’ll be with you again next week, stay healthy.

Life in Cairo from the eyes of a Local

I’m filling in for the writer while he is traveling across Europe. In this post, I will be showing you my beautiful city, Cairo Egypt.

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When people think of Cairo, usually they picture a vast desert, pyramids, camels and tents. But that’s nowhere near reality, while you can go for hikes in the desert and ride camels or go sand boarding, Cairo is also a bustling city, where nothing closes and no one sleeps.

This city is perfect for those who love diverse spontaneous activities, from getting lost downtown among bright lights and loud music to taking a Nile cruise.

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This is a country that loves life and laughter, you can find a group of street cleaners kicking off the morning with some dancing, and people are not afraid to join in and enjoy the music.

Walking down the streets of Cairo, the smell of spices and street food lingers in the air. In the morning, street carts set up selling an delicious popular dish- Ful (Beans) and Egyptian local bread. People from all classes and backgrounds will stop at these food carts before work for breakfast. It is one of my favorite Egyptian meals.

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Drawing of a Ful Truck

For those who have tried falafel, Egypt is home to that delicious snack. This is my favorite local restaurant: I guarantee you will find the best falafel and Egyptian Dolma there.

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Felfela can be found on Hoda Shaarawy Street, Bab Al Louq, Abdin, Cairo

The markets of Cairo are rowdy and colorful- one of the most well-known market is khan el khaleeli, which is in Islamic Cairo in the heart of the city. There you can find shops of souvenirs, antiques and jewelry, as well as small traditional coffee shops that serve Arabic coffee and Shisha (hookah). In addition to being a major bazaar, its history runs deep with several empires influencing it’s structure, parts of which are still visible today such as the Ottoman’s empire Bab al-Badistan and Bab al-Ghuri gates

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Cairo has taught me to appreciate street-art as a form of expression. Graffiti can be found throughout the streets of Cairo, especially downtown near Tahrir square, where the Egyptian Revolution occurred. I often stumble across beautiful Murals and deep political graffiti-

 

Even though I grew up here, I am always finding new treasures and hidden gems, Cairo is a place I am proud to call home.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I’ll also be writing next week’s post, I’ll take you to the New York of the Middle East: Dubai. Stay healthy!

Brooklyn’s art center

The neighborhood of Bushwick, known for it’s artistic views of life and hipsters. Bushwick has changed a lot over the years. This area has become “the Mecca” of graffiti.

Walking down Bushwick’s street, it is easy to get lost in the colorful atmosphere. The detail in the street art is mind-blowing. The biggest mystery of them all: the artist’s climbing skills. The skills needed to be able to reach that high on buildings, is out of this world.

Bushwick has changed so much over the years. Once crime infested, the area has become more calm. The area was very Latino at one point. Puerto Ricans and Dominicans would be seen in almost every block. Now, the area has welcomed hipsters and hipsterish people.

Hipsters are some interesting people. They look homeless but they are not. With hipsters comes vegan restaurants. The one cuisine that keeps showing on this blog is Ethiopian. My friend and I went to an Ethiopian restaurant not knowing they were going to tender the vegan side to the cuisine. We should had known better, since it is a hipster’s Bushwick now.

Needless to say, the food was still amazing. I love food!! (expect seafood, it’s a hard knock life)

Thank you for taking your time to read this post! Next week, I will answer a question one of my readers asked. Have a safe week and stay healthy.

How do I travel so much?

Okay, so this is a response to a reader of mine. The reader asked the question that is on the title of this post. I will give you tips on how to travel more and make less excuses.

The main reason I can travel is that I save money throughout the year. Cutting expenses can go a really long way. Instead of buying the most expensive labels, buy a lesser known label product that gets the job done. You will be surprised how far this can go. Five dollars may not mean much at that time; however, with in time five dollars can equal a plane ticket. Think about, you save about 35 dollars on your next purchase of clothes. Let’s say you do that every month, times that by twelve. You save seven hundred dollars. That money would be used for a plane ticket.

My second reason, I am very cheap. I do not mind sleeping in hostels. It’s way cheaper than hotels. I paid 8 dollars a night in Miami. If I would had gotten a hotel room, the price would had been 20 times more for one night. Also, another way in being cheap is to use sites that compare plane tickets prices. Websites like Expedia and apps like Skyscanner are great at comparing prices.

My third reason/tip, I’m careful on what to spend for transportation. I do not rent a car because it is too much. Renting a car on a trip can cost you anywhere from 50 to 120 dollars a day. It is better to use public transportation and/or Uber. Uber will cost you about 15 to 20 dollars one way depending how far your hostel is from the main touristy areas. That is about forty dollars a day. It’s even cheaper if you use public transportation. At most, it would be six to 7 dollars round trip to your destination. I am mainly talking about the USA on prices. Outside you would be different but same idea. Since Uber is pretty much everywhere now.

My last piece of advice is to avoid eating out. Eating out can cost a lot of money in the long-term, so instead of spending a fortune at restaurants, cook and eat at home. By doing this, I save from $100 to $200 dollars a month, that’s $1200 to $2400 a year! Just by eating at home and following these tips, I am able to save enough money to travel and follow my wanderlust.

Thanks for taking your time to read this post. Next week we will be writing about the city of Cairo, Egypt. Have a great week and stay healthy!!

A Camping trip to Cairo, New York

I was invited by a group of friends to go camping in upstate New York. The invite was exciting. The activities that they had in store were going to be an interesting experience.

It started with a three hour bus ride. That ride, was not as brutal as I planned. The struggle was made easier, due to a friend.

Ended up waiting for my invites to pick me up. The bus dropped me at Cairo’s downtown. The downtown was just a normal shopping square. The only place that looked familiar was dunkin’s. The picture above explains my views about the place. Frozen hot chocolate, think about that creation for a bit.

Once we arrived at the camp, it was astoundingly beautiful. The camp was very old fashion. It had an 18th century feel to it. If only the buildings’ walls could talk, they would have tons of stories to tell.

So here it goes, my embarrassing moment. It all started as a race. We were all in canoes. Three teams in a group of three. The race started and not even ten feet, we flip over. We try again, two more feet then we flipped over the second time. We gave up in pure frustration and embarrassment. At least, we made everbody smile.

Thank you for taking your time to read this post. Next week we will be exploring Brooklyn more in detail. Have a great week and stay healthy!

Leimert park, LA’s Harlem

After meeting up with my friend, my group went to tour more of Los Angeles. I rejoined them in south central. These last days in L.A. we had to make it count. 

South central has changed a lot over the years. It was once saturated with crime. Present day, the area has somewhat calm down. With the rise of rent and property value, crime has gone down. Along with the crime, the culture of the nieghborhood has left as well. 

A short ride from south central, we ended up in Leimert park. We were told by a lot of locals, this area was rich with culture. The African-American history and culture is strong here. Jazz played an important role in this nieghborhood. Many local musicians were painted into arts. It was a way to keep them alive, even after death. 

The African roots are strong in the arts produced in this area. From paintings to music, a part of Africa is present. Leimert Park has a very artistic vibe to it. Most locals have something to do with art. The creativity here can leave you in awe. 

As the last day came, we had to leave this beautiful city. We have learn a lot from the city of angels. Heading towards the airport was surprisingly difficult to do. Until next time Los Angeles.

Thank you for taking your time to read this post. Next week, we will be back in New York. Stay heathly! 

Meeting up with an old friend

While in the Los Angeles area, I received a text from someone I grew up with. This text was very important to me. There was not much to the message; however, it was a reminder that a good friend is near. 

After an hour drive from my hotel, I was in Orange County. The excitement of seeing my old friend made me very jumpy. Every time the car would stop becuase of traffic (which is very common in L.A.), I would bounce up and down on my seat while having my hands on the wheel. Once I saw Orange County, the excitement turn into nervousness. I was finally meeting my friend after two years of not seeing him. 

Of course, we ended up meeting at a mexican restaurant. It is only natural, if you are in Los Angeles. Mexican food is everywhere. 

About an hour later, we finshed all our food. All we could do is talk about our lives. I am so proud of my friend. He is currently getting his PhD. My good friend took me back to his home. It was heartwarming to see how much he has accomplished. We went talking about old memories and all the idiotic actions we did as kids. The laughters and the pains, it is amazing knowing you have a friend with this much history. 

It felt really good to see old pictures of us as kids on his wall. The simple and mischievous times, the good memories. Great to see, the kid I grew up with in San Francisco made something out of himself. Ended up sleeping over like when we were younger. Similar to the many times, we used to play videogames until the middle of the night. 

Thanks for taking your time to read this post. Next week we will still be in LA’s Harlem. Have a great week and stay healthy!!