Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 20th, 2014

 

TOP 25: THINGS TO SEE & DO IN LEBANON THIS SUMMER

Afqa Waterfall - Afqa

With more than 5 million tourists from all over the world expected to visit Lebanon this summer, I thought I’d put together a list of places you guys can visit. Some of you may have already visited most of the following destinations however, I can guarantee you there are a few in there that you never knew existed.

(5 million tourists is a vastly exaggerated number, even in the best of years, especially with the new car explosion this June 20)

ALSO SEE: Top 10: Beach Resorts & Bars in Lebanon

Without too much beating around the bush, here are 25 amazing things to do and see in Lebanon this summer in no particular order:

1. Baatara Gorge Waterfall – Tannourine (map)

Baatara Gorge Waterfall Tannourine

During summer the water’s flow isn’t that strong, but it’s well worth the visit. Make sure you keep an eye our for the signs as there is a designated place you can park and walk straight down to the cave. Be very careful when crossing the natural bridge though.

2. Rikky’z – Faraya (map)

 

 

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A group of friends and I discovered this place by accident while driving through Faraya. Best wrong turn I’ve ever taken.

Rikky’z holds daily brunches for approximately $66, where they supply you with all the food and alcohol you need to have the time of your life. The owners are lovely people and will go out of their way to make you feel right at home. Definitely a must add to your Lebanon bucket list.

3. Our Lady of Leabnon – Harrissa (map)

Our Lady of Leabnon Harrissa

Overlooking the city of Jounieh, the Our Lady of Lebanon status is one of the most visited touristic sites in Lebanon. Thousands of people from all backgrounds and different religions make the trip to Harissa every year.

4. Raouchè Sea Rock – Raouchè (map)

Raouchè Sea Rock Raouchè

Again, another one of Lebanon’s most popular natural landmarks, the Raouchè Sea Rock can be viewed from the top or you can head down to the water and have a water taxi spin you around and through the rocks.

5. Ceders of Lebanon – Ariz (map)

Ceders of Lebanon - Arz

Lebanon is predominately known for its cedar trees. Hency why it occupies the national flag. During summer the Ariz region is filled with tourists purchasing souvenirs, relaxing in their villas and visiting some of the most delicious restaurants.

ALSO SEE: Top 5: Beirut Nightclubs

6. Chowan Waterfall – Nahr Ibrahim (It’s a joke)

Chowan Waterfall Nahr Ibrahim

After two long hours on the road, missing turns, smashing through pot holes and thirteen pittstops, we finally made it to Chowan waterfall located at the end of Nahr Ibrahim.

7. Nahr Ibrahim (map)

Naher Ibrahim

So Nahr Ibrahim stretches for several kilometres and as you saw previously, possess some great stops. My advice, jump in a car and drive alongside the river until you see a cool spot to stop over and take a quick dip.

8. Jeita Grotto – Jeita (map)

Jeita Grotto - Jeita

So close to making it into the Wonders of the World a couple years back, Jeita Grotto is a breathtaking cave covered in limestone that have formed over thousands of years. For a few dollars, you can travel through the natural river and sneak a couple illegal photos.

9. Saydit El Nourieh (Our lady the mendicant) – Chekka, after Batroun going north(map)

Saydit El Nourieh (Our lady of Nourieh) - Batroun

Overlooking Chekka, the Our Lady of Nourieh monastery has an amazing history behind it. Head up the hill and check out the views of Chekka and Tripoli.

ALSO SEE: Top 10: Beach Resorts & Bars in Lebanon

10. Jbeil – Byblos (map)

Jbeil - Byblos 1Jbeil - Byblos 2

Possibly the oldest city in the world, Byblos hosts ancient buildings and artifacts dating back thousands of years.

The city also has an amazing old Souk dominating with lively restaurants, pubs, and clubs that’ll keep you entertained for hours. When walking through the old streets, make sure you don’t trip over the cobblestone paved walkways 😉

11. Lake Qaraoun  (man-made)– Southern Region of the Beqaa Valley (map)

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 12.18.39 am

One of the many places I’ve been meaning to visit, but have never had the chance.

Will definitely be driving here this summer with a bottle of wine, some cheese, light music and a good group of friends to just chill.

12. Temple of Jupiter – Baalbek, Beqaa Valley (map)

Temple of Jupiter - Baalbek, Beqaa Valley

I visited the ruins of Baalbek when I was younger but haven’t had the chance in the last couple of years due to the unrest in the region. God willing, if the situation in Lebanon becomes a lot safer, you should definitely visit the temple and other ruins scattered across the site.

13. Downtown Beirut – Beirut (map)

Downtown Beirut - Beirut

Where the rich and famous are seen walking the streets alongside the poor. Downtown Beirut hosts everything from store front to store front of luxurious retailer designers to some of the most prestigious hotels, restaurants and bars.

14. Bekaa Valley (map)

Bekaa Valley

Similar to Nahr Ibrahim, Beqaa Valley is a whole region that could take you a day or two to scout efficiently. The entire area has secret, yet amazing, locations embedded that’ll have you staying longer than originally planned.

15. Msaylha Castle – Chekka, North Lebanon (map)

Msaylha Castle - Chekka, North Lebanon

If you’re from the North of Lebanon you will be very familiar with this castle as you most likely pass it on average twice a day on your way to and from Jounieh or Beirut. The castle is managed by a keeper, who after tipping a couple dollars, will allow you to roam the castle freely.

ALSO SEE: Top 5: Beirut Nightclubs

16. Kefraya – Western Region of Beqaa Valley (map)

Kefraya - Western Region of Beqaa Valley

Famous for its vineyards and amazing wine, Kefraya is a must if you’re interested in taking the family or a group of friends out to a memorable lunch.

17. Afqa Waterfall – Afqa (map)

Afqa Waterfall - Afqa

I give you my word that this waterfall will be the first place I visit in Lebanon this July. I stumbled across an Instagram photo of a group of mates swimming here on my flight back to Sydney last year and will not put my mind at ease until I’m doing the exact same.

18. Taanayel Walk – Taanayel (map)

Taanayel Walk - Taanayel

I’ve penciled in this romatic walkway for a potential outfit shoot for this July. I personally adore places like this, where you can go for strolls around the greenery and free your mind from everything.

19. Sidon Sea Castle – Sidon (map)

Sidon Sea Castle - Sidon

One of the most prominent archaeological sites in the port city of Sidon, stands the Sidon Castle built around 4000 BC.

20. Al-Khiam Restaurant – Al-Khiam, South Lebanon (map)

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 12.53.39 am

Another destination I have not been able to get to due to the instability of the country. After hearing about how amazing the food is here, it must be done this year!

21. Monastery of Saint Anthony – Kozhaya, North Lebanon (map)

ALSO SEE: Top 10: Beach Resorts & Bars in Lebanon

Monestary of Saint Anthony - Kozhaya, North Lebanon

This place is filled with so much peace, quiet and serenity. The holy monastery accommodates for monks who are on the journey to become priests.

22. Yahchouch Waterfall – Yahchouch (map)

Yahchouch Waterfall - Yahchouch

Yes, another waterfall. I want to make it my mission to find the most epic waterfall in Lebanon. The Yahchouch Waterfall definitely isn’t, but it’s something!

23. Kfar-Hilda Waterfall – Kfar-Hilda (map)

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.48.03 am

My last water related destination, I promise. Again, an ideal location to chill with the friends overnight, cooking meat on the bonfire, telling endless jokes and just having a genuinely great time.

24. Laqlouq Mountain Range – Laqlouq (map)

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.20.34 am

During the winter, the spectacular mountain range of Laqlouq is completely covered in snow. However during summer when the Mediterranean sun melts away all the snow, you’re left with the above view. Spectacular.

25. Mar Mikhael Stairs – Mar Mikhael, Beirut (map)

Mar Mikhael Stairs - Mar Mikhael, Beirut

Last but not least, the famous steps found through the streets of Mar Mikhael, Beirut.

These type of stairs have been seen all over the world, which brings me to my final point. Lebanon has inherited everything that other countries boast about from the nightlife, historical artefacts, hotels, restaurants, cars, people and or food.

So when you’re planning your next trip, Lebanon should be your number one ;)

Also check out:

Top 10: Beach Resorts & Bars in Lebanon

Top 5: Beirut Nightclubs

Only Brown bears enjoy oral sex?

And only when in captivity?

Two captive brown bears have been spotted enjoying oral sex, and researchers wonder if it’s because the two males were deprived of maternal suckling too soon.

Brown Bears Enjoy Oral Sex

Janet Fang posted this June 18, 2014

photo credit: A. Sergiel et al., Zoo Biology, 2014 Wiley Periodicals

Sexually stimulating behaviors that don’t lead to babies are rare among non-human (and especially non-primate) mammals.

The illustrious list of animal masturbators include porcupines, walruses, squirrels, dolphins, and Adelie penginus. Those last two are also known to please themselves with dead animals.

As for oral sex, female short-nosed fruit bats perform the deed, as do the famously titillating bonobos.

Now, a team led by Agnieszka Sergiel from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow report fellatio among male brown browns — the first time it’s been described in brown bears kept under proper conditions.

The two unrelated bears were born in 2003 and put in a sanctuary in Kuterevo, Croatia, after being orphaned as cubs.

The researchers observed the two bears engaging in oral sex multiple times a day until they were at least 10 years old. The team logged 116 hours of observation time over 6 years, witnessing 28 acts of fellatio ranging between a minute to four. (and the team was paid for observing sexual excitement)

One was always the giver and the other was always the receiver. (Excellent observation. The bears were tagged?)

The larger bear never reciprocated. The smaller, giver bear would initiate contact by approaching the receiver while he was resting on his side with part of his abdomen exposed. Sometimes the giver bear would push his head into the nether regions or use his paws to separate the legs before settling into a more comfortable position.

Then, the “vigorous penile sucking” resulted in apparent ejaculation. (Awesome observation)

That’s evidenced by muscular contractions and fluids on the muzzle of the provider, LiveScience reports.

Afterwards, the bigger bear often pushed the other one off or turned away. As time went on, the behavior became increasing ritualized, and the oral sex wasn’t influenced when a female bear was introduced in 2010.

The researchers suggest that the behavior may be a consequence of being orphaned at an early age and likely began as a result of early deprivation of maternal suckling.

Being weaned too early not only denies them of milk and sustenance, but also bonding and comfort from their mothers. That’s why some orphaned cubs would suck on the paws or ears of their siblings, as a substitute for their mother’s teats.

The sex act likely persisted for several years because it remained satisfying for both parties involved.

The work was published in Zoo Biology earlier this month.

[Via LiveScience]

Image: A. Sergiel et al., Zoo Biology, 2014 Wiley Periodicals
Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/brown-bears-enjoy-oral-sex#5RvxLLdQM5t8c6Ms.99

 

Iraq’s problems are not timeless. The U.S. is responsible.

With the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS,  faction of Al Qaeda) taking over cities in Iraq one by one, Rosen’s words have proven true. Though, as it turns out, it is the Sunnis going to war against the Shias in power this time around.

(The minority Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq for 3 decades until the US forces displaced him and succumbed to the Iraqi morass for 8 long years, as long as the Iraqi-Iranian war lasted 2 decades ago).

And, while the Sunnis have not quite been “cleansed” from Baghdad, the Shia/Sunni conflict has been unrelenting, and Nouri al-Maliki’s sectarian policies seem to have prompted the most recent rounds of violence. (Even the Kurds are taking advantage of the conflict to secure land.)

How was Rosen able to make such a prescient statement? While critics blame Obama’s policies for the deteriorating situation, Rosen agrees with Nancy Pelosi, who said the current crisis “represents the failed policies that took us down this path 10 years ago.”

Rosen, who was an independent, unembedded reporter in Iraq on and off for two years, writes:

When Baghdad fell, on April 9, 2003, and widespread violence erupted, the primary victims were Iraq’s Sunnis. For Shias, this was justice. “It is the beginning of the separation,” one Shia cleric told me with a smile in the spring of 2003.

Saddam had used Sunni Islam to legitimize his power, building one large Sunni mosque in each Shia city in the south; these mosques were seized by Shias immediately after the regime collapsed. . . .

Some realignment of power was inevitable after Saddam’s removal, and perhaps not even shared opposition to the American occupation could have united Sunnis and Shias. As it happened, the occupation divided Iraqis between those seen as anti-occupation and those seen as pro-occupation.

For Rosen, the seeds of this conflict were planted from the beginning, and “enshrined” by United States’s attempt to democratize Iraq, as sectarian parties failed to win seats:

The American sectarian approach has created the civil war [in Iraq]. We saw Iraqis as Sunnis, Shias, Kurds. We designed a governing council based on a sectarian quota system and ignored Iraqis (not exiled politicians but real Iraqis) who warned us against it.

We decided that the Sunnis were the bad guys and the Shias were the good guys. These problems were not timeless. In many ways they are new, and we are responsible for them. The tens of thousands of cleansed Iraqis, the relatives of those killed by the death squads, the sectarian supporters and militias firmly ensconced in the government and its ministries, the Shia refusal to relinquish their long-awaited control over Iraq, the Kurdish commitment to secession, the Sunni harboring of Salafi jihadists—all militate against anything but full-scale civil war.

Indeed, in 2003, Juan Cole pointed to the U.S. preference for Shias:

In removing the Baath regime and eliminating constraints on Iraqi Islamism, the United States has unleashed a new political force in the Gulf: not the upsurge of civic organization and democratic sentiment fantasized by American neoconservatives, but the aspirations of Iraqi Shiites to build an Islamic republic.

But in the next breath, he makes it clear how unlikely it was that the Shias could remain in control:

To be sure, the dreams of a Shiite Islamic republic in Baghdad may be unrealistic: a plurality of the country is Sunni (wrong data, the Shiaa are the majority, now and then), and some proportion of the 14 million Shiites is secularist.

And even before the United States entered Iraq, John W. Dower, reflecting on the experience of postwar Japan, told us not “expect democracy in Iraq”: “Put simply, one of the reasons the reformist agenda succeeded is that Japan was spared the type of fierce tribal, religious, and political factionalism that exists in countries like Iraq today.” He writes:

I have no doubt that huge numbers of Iraqis would welcome the end of repression and establishment of a democratic society, but any number of considerations make the situation there very different than it was in Japan.

Apart from lacking the moral legitimacy and internal and global support that buttressed its occupation of Japan, the United States is not in the business of nation-building any more—just look at Afghanistan. And we certainly are not in the business of promoting radical democratic reform. Even liberal ideals are anathema in the conservative circles that shape U.S. policy today.

The central tensions in Iraq, sadly, seem nowhere close to being solved. It is just as true now as it was in 2006 when Rosen was writing, and in 2003 when we entered Iraq, that:

The once confident and aggressive Sunnis now see the state as their enemy. They are very afraid. All Iraqis are.

Photograph: James Gordon


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