A Day in The Jais Mountain

Jebel Jais is the UAE’s tallest mountain and is every bit as mesmerizing as a tall mountain should be.

The Mountain is located in the Emirate of Ras El Khaima,  on the border between Oman and United Arab Emirates. The height of the mountain is 1,911 m (6,268 feet).

We drove from Dubai, and it took us 1,5 hours to get to the highest point of mountain (you can drive up, no climbing needed).  The temperature was 12 degrees Celsius cooler than Dubai. we had a picnic in the open air, something we haven’t had in a while due to the high temperature in Dubai. 

I loved every bit of our little excursion. The place was grand, refreshing and…in complete isolation!

 

 

Outfit Details:

My Summer trip to Santiago de Chile

Alladin always wanted to go to Santiago. He often told me how he would love to retire there. So, it was obvious would be part of our South America Trip. 

Chile was as expected: calm, modern and intriguing. Santiago, in particular, was delightful. We loved touring all the main area from the Mercado Central to the Barrio Bellavista, the Moneda, San Cristobal Hill, Alameda, The Museum of History & Human rights…

We took a couple of Turistik buses around Santiago (to tour comfortably), and we stopped at many restaurants to get a flavor of the local cuisine: Baked clams, Grilled fish, Ceviche…

I tried capturing the air & culture of Santiago though these pictures. I hope that you will like them; and if you do, please leave a comment below.

The beautiful streets of Santiago

Plazza de Armas

Plazza de Armas Chile Santiago

Plazza de Armas

El Mercado Central Sasntiago de chile

El Mercado Central

Empenadas of Cheese & chrimp. Yum!

Empenadas of Cheese & chrimp. Yum!

Chilean clams are the best!

Chilean clams are the best!

Pink Clams. Something I only saw in Chile!

Baked chrimp & cheese.

Baked chrimp & cheese.

The colors of Bellavista

Como Agua Para Chocolade restaurant, came highly recommended in Bellavista.

Cocktails in Come de Agua Para Chocolade

Touring the Vineyard of Andurraga

The beautiful Andurraga

Sunsets over the Andes in Santiago 🙂

San Cristobal Hill

Views from Santiago

Getting Married in 6 Continents

Bridal shoot in New York

Travelling  the world instead of throwing a big expensive wedding seemed more attractive and also more feasible. 

I have never been a girl that fantasized on having her own wedding. In fact, the idea of throwing yet one more Moroccan wedding with all the stress and hoopla it entails freaked me out. But, I guess I didn’t hold a strong stance on this either. Arab families see traditional weddings as an ingrained part of the culture and I never would thought that I would escape having one.

I met Alladin by end of 2014 (I was between Dubai & Vienna, but he was settled in Dubai), we got married a year after in Dubai courts (not a romantic memory at all, but yet unique and endearing) and thought that we will throw a party sometime in 2016 to gather all our loved ones. This turned out to be unrealistic. Our families are spread across many countries, and we just didn’t know what would be the right way to celebrate. Even a destination wedding, started to look less & less likely.

Then one day, Alladin mentioned something about how he wants to show me the world but he feels bad that I didn’t get to wear a wedding gown. One thing lead to the the other, and we ended agreeing that the most authentic way to celebrate is to pack a tux & gown and take pictures around the world. Although, from time to time I still feel bad that our families were not part of this. 

We took pictures in 5 continents, but Alladin wants to do this for life, in every country we visit. This makes him happy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Enjoy our pictures below and don’t forget to say hello in the comments! Xoxo  

pre-wedding shoot in sydney

Alladin & me In Sydney

bridal shoot in Dubai

Alladin & me in Dubai

bridal shoot in Singapore

Me & Alladin in Singapore

Alladin & me in Singapore again!

bridal shoot in Peru

Alladin & me in Peru

Bridal shoot in Venice

Alladin & me in Venice

Alladin & me in Brazil

 

 

My Trip to Brazil: Rio De Janeiro & Sao Paulo

Brazil is never boring. There is always someone dancing somewhere or drinking Ciapirinhas. There is always music in the streets and pick-pockets to watch out from. Brazil cannot be taken for granted. 

Our first stop in Brazil was Sao Paulo. We were very fortunate, because a couple we are friends with offered to host us and show us around.

Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo is a very chill city, with lots of activities and artsy installations. We stayed in Pinheiros, a colorful & hip neighborhood.  The Brooklyn of Sao Paulo, if not Brazil.

Our friends were very kind taking us around the city. we were around the Carnival time (mostly around the end). So, we witnessed a couple of festivities in Sao Paulo and Rio.

Since most official Carnival festivities are taking place in Rio, each neighborhood or university in SaoPaulo organize their own Carnival Bloco (And apparently, these mini organic carnivals are more fun than the real deal in Rio).

Things we did in Sao Paulo:

The Municipal Market of Sao Paulo: this place is so vibrant and full of Brazilian produce and goods. The perfect place to taste Brazilian flavors.

The Municipal market in Sao Paulo Brazil

The Municipal market in Sao Paulo

Brazilian Tapioka fritters at the Sao Paulo municipal market

Brazilian Tapioka fritters

Santa Theresa Quarter: This place is more colorful than a bag of Skittles. Graffiti is covering the walls of this neighborhood, and the themes featured  are psychedelic.  The Quarter is close to many great bars & restaurants. Loved wandering around and loading up on ice-cream!

mSanta Theresa Quarter in Sao Paulo Brazil

making a silly face in Santa Theresa Quarter

 

China Town in Liberdade: This place is straight out of a movie. Very interesting and paradoxical. The contract & fusion between the Chinese culture and Brazilian one is intriguing. This place is full of snack bars & restaurants, and leads to the Liberdade Street Market.

A temple in Chinatown in Sao Paulo Brazil, Liberdade

A temple in Chinatown

Liberdade Street Market: This open air market is full of  traditional crafts and authentic Brazilian street food. If you want woven items or fresh sugar cane juice (flavored with lime!), you came to the right place. I had a delicious fried Galette filled with local Cheese and it was out of this world. 

Sugar Cane Juice in progress in Brazil

Sugar Cane Juice in progress

street food in Brazil

Street food at its best!

 

The Sao Paulo Cathedral & Banco Central in Sao Paulo: The Cathedral is absolutely beautiful and so close from all the places listed above. The Banco Central is within 5 min walk from the Cathedral and has an interesting theme going on on its facade; furniture is hanged on its walls, and it is quite a sight!

Cathedral of Sao Paulo in Brazil

Cathedral of Sao Paulo

The hanging furniture on the walls of the Banco Central in Sao Paulo Brazil

The hanging furniture on the walls of the Banco Central in Sao Paulo

 

Rio De Janeiro: 

In Rio, we stayed in the Miramar hotel in Copacabana. The hotel is in front of the Copacabana beach and great value for money. Through the hotel we booked tours & restaurants, since it is much easier to have it done through them.

Copacabana is not known to be safe, so we had to be careful when walking around. No jewelry or phone are  to be displayed on the street or the beach, if you want to remain safe. Naturally, I couldn’t take lots of pictures because I had to leave the Camera in the hotel room.

 

Our room in the Miramar Hotel

Copacabana beach: This beach is lovely, with a view on the Sugar Loaf mountain. This beach is an icon. I got to observe the locals, and what they say about Brazil is true. This the land of thong bikinis and Caipirinhas. This coast is filled with kiosks selling all kind of cocktails, and beautiful girls parading in their Bikinis and Havainas. I felt so awkward in my one-piece, but I upgraded later!

A Copacabana Sunset

A Copacabana Sunset captured from our hotel

Ipanema Beach: This beach is known by the locals to be more fancy than Copacabana. Mostly because the restaurants and buildings around are more high-end. I loved this beach too and loved the kiosks around it. On the corniche, I recognized many Brazilian influencers trying to get that perfect shot. There is a big rock that you can climb by the beach to get the best views of the city. We just sat there and soaked the moment (the reason why Alladin (hubby) got a sunburn).

Selaron Steps:  These steps are known to form the most beautiful staircase in the world. We went there as part of our Rocinha & Christ the Redeemer tour. It was booked through the hotel, and we had a guide and a bus with us. That’s why we were felt safe. The guide recommended that we all stay together. Maybe it is paranoia, but we wanted to avoid getting into weird situations.

The captivating Selaron steps

The captivating Selaron steps

Artsy Selaron!

Artsy Selaron!

Favela Rocinha Tour: We booked a Jeep tour via the hotel to explore Rocinha. The guide was very friendly and took us around the community but also inside the community. Rocinha is one of the biggest Favelas or communities in Rio.

Our first stop were the art merchants at the entrance of the Favela. I bought a few paintings. Then the guide took to the inside of the community were we saw what houses looked like from the inside. At the end of the tour we walked through the commercial street in Rocinha. There were banks, shops, Snack-bars…

Art in Rocinha in brazil

Art in Rocinha

Inside Rocinha

houses Inside Rocinha

Goods in Rocinha (all types of beans)!

Goods in Rocinha (all types of beans)!

 

The guide took us to an orphanage were we witnessed the traditional Capuera dance. This wall in particular caught my attention.

Art is everywhere!

 

views from our hotel on the Santa Theresa Favela

views from our hotel on the Santa Theresa Favela

 

Houses in Rocinha

I loved every bit of this trip. And I loved creating this diary. I would love to hear from you in the comments!

 

My Diary of Cusco & Machu Picchu in Peru

Meeting alpacas picture in Peru Cusco

Cusco (or Cuzco, as the locals refer to it), Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley in the Peruvian Andes, were all magical places suspended in time that are impossible to leave you unmoved by their beauty & rich heritage. Visiting Peru was very high on my bucket list and I am glad I had the chance to do it.

Flight

When we arrived in Lima, we directly took a smaller plane to Cusco. With lots of turbulence and difficulty landing in Cusco’s high altitude terrain, I was on the edge of my seat most of the time.  We were warned before that flights to Cusco are not known to be smooth, still we were a bit shaken.


Hotel

We stayed at the J W Marriott El Convento in Cusco. And that was the best decision we took  throughout the whole trip. Mostly because Alladin (hubby) got Altitude sickness the night we arrived (something Cusco is famous for this since it as an altitude of 3,399 m)  and the hotel were very supportive and provided Oxygen bottles and medical support.  The trip to Machu Picchu was very tiring and the option to go back to a comfy and clean hotel room helped us recover.  Located in a restored 16th-century convent  in the heart of Cusco, the hotel is a work of art by itself. Within the hotel, there were halls overflowing with ancient Peruvian artifacts and a museum of Inca ruins in the basement.

The hotel was conveniently located 2 minutes away from The famous Plaza,  right at the center of the city; we barely needed any transportation.

Our stay at the hotel was not sponsored and it was worth every Dirham! 

 

J W Marriott El Convento Cusco Patio

The Lovely Patio of the J W Marriott El Convento Cusco.


Peruvian Cuisine

The hotel recommended that we go to Limo , a restaurant known for its rich flavors. We tried Limo first, before any other restaurant and it set our expectations very high. We were eager to try the famous Peruvian dishes and we ordered them all on our first night at Limo. talk about hasty tourists.

Peruvian cuisine is very fresh and varied. They have 63 Species of Corn grown in the country (purple corn, sweet corn, Choclo or Giant Corn…that’s all I can remember!). We tried a couple of other restaurants in the city since Alladin wanted to Try Alpaca meat (couldn’t stop him), but none were as memorable as Limo. We ended going there again many times. Not sponsored again. 

In Peru, make sure you order the locals’ favorites: Lomo Soltado (Lamb cooked with peppers and served with rice), Arroz Marisco (Seafood rice), Yuca fries or Yuca balls. Peru is also known for Quinoa, so please indulge in all types of Quinoa dishes since it is a superfood.

In The Mercado Central we noticed that They sell Cuy or Guinnea-Pig boiled. Apparently, the locals dig. Couldn’t Try it. I have my limits.

Arroz Marisco in Limo in Cusco Peru

Arroz Marisco in Limo

Lomo Soltado in Limo in Cusco Peru

 

Chicken wings fried with Quinoa batter in Limo cusco peru Yuca balls in Limo in Cusco Peru

 


Activities in Cusco

  • Plaza de Armas: we loved visting the Iconic Plaza. It is the heart of Cusco and where most of Historical events took place. Right on the Cathedral and opening up on so many alleys. Cusco is a small city, one way or another you will find yourself in the Plaza. 

Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru

  • La Cathedral: loved sitting on the steps of the Cathedral trying to answer the big questions of life. It is one hell of a view. The Cathedral is  beautiful and iconic with its Spanish architecture. Something to be known, Tourists are not very welcome inside the Cathedral. 
La Cathedral in Cusco

La Cathedral in Cusco, Peru

The Cathe Cathedral steps in Cusco Peru

  • Mercado Central:  Walking around the Market, observing the customs of the locals, and the local produce was a feast for the eyes. Apart from the boiled Guinea-pigs! 

 

  • Museo Inca: This Museum is full of Inca artifacts and descriptions. Enjoyed reading about the tradition way of life in Peru and the history of the country. The museum has a beautiful Patio where a couple of local women come to thread some rugs that will probably later end up in West Elm costing a fortune. So grab some while you can!

Musea Inka in Cusco, peru

 

Musea Inka in Cusco, peru

A Peruvian lady threading a rug in Cusco Peru

A Peruvian lady threading a rug in the Inka Musem

  • Getting lost: Just get plain lost in the alleys. Buy local snacks. Buy an Alpaca Sweater from the local ladies to protect yourself from the cold (well spent 15$). Drink Coca leaves infusions (illegal everywhere else but Peru, but they help with Altitude sickness).  Cusco is very safe and each street is constructed in a unique way.  Wandering around got me meet & greet Alpacas. 

 

Alpaca in Cusco Peru

Alpaca in Cusco Peru

Me with beautiful local ladies in Cusco

 


Machu Picchu

Our trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu was organized by the hotel, since we booked through the hotel. We got up super early, took the shuttle to a nearby village that had a train station so we can take the train (Inka Rails) to Aguascalientes. Once arrived, we took a bus to Macu Picchu. We met some tourists that stayed in Aguascalientes for a few days in order to avoid the whole transportation stress; but we only had one day to see Machu Micchu. We couldn’t afford any delay.

The tour was not that organized, as sometimes the guides will switch groups or timings of activities. Apparently, most of the tours to Machu Picchu are like that.

The sight was majestic. The site is grand and the clouds that day made it even more mysterious.

 

Machu Picchu in Peru

Machu Picchu sign in Peru

Machu Picchu details in Peru

Machu Picchu details in Peru

The steps in the site were very high and the paths very narrow. I felt real fear a couple of times but I was fortunate to have Alladin hold my hand when I needed it. We still made it to the top to contemplate the whole site, the big mountain or the mother: Wayna Picchu. The Guide was very funny & patient; he dropped some real knowledge on us and left us speechless at the grandeur of the Inca.

 

I loved making this diary and would love even more hearing from you in the comments section!

 

The Maldives

girl in the Maldives

I have always dreamed of visiting The Maldives. ‘The places  you should see before you die’ type of list always have a spot reserved for The Maldives. My wanderlust was at its maximum by the time my husband- Alladin- booked the trip.

 

Alladin, planned this trip as a surprise, he didn’t tell me the destination nor what type of trip this is going to be; until the day before the flight, when he said pack for the beach! This is the first time is booked a surprise trip and I loved it.

I was so happy when I saw my boarding pass at the airport, and it said ‘The Maldives’. I was screaming of excitement!

 

Paradise island resort Maldives

The Maldives

When we reached Male, we immediately got on a speed boat to go to our resort. Most people spend most of their time in the resort, mostly because resorts in The Maldives are huge and sometimes they cover entire islands; also, unless you rented a speedboat (very expensive), it is difficult to arrange transportation.

Alladin did his research and decided to stay in the Paradise Island Resort.  We researched the island, and saw that it had lots of water activities that we can do. Some islands have limited activities, you might want to check this before booking your accommodation.

The first night, we stayed in a beach house in the resort. It was nothing extravagant, but the house was directly on the beach. The weather was perfect, the water was so blue and clean that you can see through it. We spent the first day (afternoon rather!), swimming and hanging out on the porch of the beach house.

The Beach in The Maldives beach house maldives

sand & beachbeach in The Maldives

I loved the beach house experience. If you are not ready to fuss about the details, you can experience the islands cheaper via a beach house.  I spent a lot of time strolling the island.  My tan started to develop pretty quickly. I packed  sunscreen, insect-repellent and conditioner and I went through them very quickly.

tanned girl

beach maldives

 

The next day we upgraded to the Water Villa. And that was something!

The Villas are very modern and luxurious with their own Jacuzzi & terrace! We spent most of our time in the Villa. The villas proved to be worth every penny.

It was like a dream with my own stairway to the sea. We swam next sharks & stingrays (Maldives species don’t bite, but be careful still!).

We ordered room service, hang out in the villa and fully enjoyed our exceptional accommodation.

water villa in the paradise island resort in maldives

I loved every bit of my trip to the Maldives.  Being on an island with your island mate (my husband!) made us both relax and get more in tune with nature. we did some parasailing, snorkeling, we fed sharks & stingrays  (forgot to mention that they are everywhere, and they are not harmful!).

Let me know what you think of these images in the comments section.

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Travel Diary- The maldives

 

Touring Undurraga Vineyards in Chile

Visiting Santiago, would not be complete without a visit to  Undurraga.  You wear a breezy outfit, wear sunscreen and go roam the Vineyards. What’s not to like?

Alladin (hubby) & I booked a tour from Turistik.  They picked us up from the Alameda mall.  An hour later, we arrived to a beautiful vineyard. The tour guide was very funny, and he explained the production processes in detail. He even allowed us to taste each grape vine.  The vineyard didn’t try to push their brand on us. It was just a beautiful afternoon, filled with grapes, laughter and pretty roses everywhere. All the Chileans we spoke to seem to agree that the Undurraga tour is the most fulfilling tour in Santiago. 

Undurraga vineyard tour with Turistik Santigo Chile

I kept my outfit light & breezy. Jean shorts & Shoulder tops are my go to combo on trips. It’s a practical outfit that I can walk in, get bloated in (from all the seafood in Santiago) and still look pretty.

Outfit summer santiago chile

 

I paired my Bershka dress that I turned top with Shorts; slipped on my Havainas and paraded my Cult Gaia bag proudly.

 

The outfit got me some attention I must say. I know it’s a hit, when Alladin says something.

Tell me what’s your favorite Summer outfit below. I would love to hear from you.

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