Saturday, December 28, 2013

How well do you know the world?

Think you’re a geography expert?
Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s Geoguessr – the game that proves how well you know the world!

A snapshot of the game
First, move around using your mouse and figure out where you are. Then click on the map in the lower right hand corner to place your marker (zoom in to increase your accuracy). When you’re sure, click the “make a guess” button, and find out how close you were! Once you’ve mastered the basics, set a time limit or challenge a friend. The world’s a huge place – get exploring!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

60 Photos to remind you how beautiful Syria is

Syria; the cradle of civilization has played a core role in the history and development of civilized man. It has been a great crossroad for trade between the Mediterranean and the East; it exported the Alphabet to the West and has been linked to Religion from the beginning, from the Semitic Deities to the monotheistic faiths.

The country is not the same anymore! Most of it’s infrastructure has been destroyed and many historical places either bombed or looted.

We still hope that one day we will be able to build it up just like what we -Syrians- did for thousands of years, as Syria was and still a conflict center for thousands of years because of it’s location and because of it’s rich historic place in the world.

Below are 60 photos from my own gallery that will remind you how beautiful Syria is/was. I couldn't include all cities and all important locations because I discovered that even though I have lived in Syria for 32 years, unfortunately I did not have the chance to travel to every corner in this beautiful land.

DamascusScenes from the old city of Damascus. Top: A view from the top of the old city and it’s surroundings. From Left: Hamideah Bazaar, Craftsman, Barber, Bazourieh Market, Nofara Cafe.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The True Size of Africa

We Have Been Misled By An Erroneous Map Of The World For 500 Year

Click for larger version

It was featured in "The West Wing," but map dishonesty is anything but fictional. Check out this clip to get an accurate look at the size of Africa.

An accurate look at Africa relative to some major countries:

An upside-down map of the world might change your perspective of the world 

Map of the world upside-down (Click for larger version)

What do you think?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Eastern Market Washington DC

I went for a brunch with friends in D.C the other day at Ted's Bulletin, even though we had a reservation we had to wait for our table, as the restaurant is very popular.  While we were waiting our table we went for a stroll around the Eastern Market in DC.
Most of the shops and booths reminded me of many markets back in my home country Syria.
Memories were coming to me from different locations and specifically from the markets in Damascus like Bzourieh Market, Friday Market and even Hamediah.
Grocery in The Eastern Market

"The Eastern Market is a public market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., housed in a 19th-century brick building. It is located on 7th Street SE, a few blocks east of the U.S. Capitol between North Carolina Avenue SE and C Street SE. The Eastern Market is on the National Register of Historic Places. Badly damaged by an early-morning fire on April 30, 2007, the market building reopened on June 26, 2009.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Have you been to The Georgetown Cupcake Shop?

I was strolling around Georgetown in Washington D.C last week and I was surprised by this scene!
Customers outside the shop waiting in line to get their dose of cupcake

I was like (o.O) Then i read the sign to see it was a cupcake shop. I observed the scene for a while to notice that customers were actually excited while waiting in the line
The line was too long and people kept coming in and joining at the end of the line.

When I went back home, I googled the name online and did a little research to find out that this shop is one of the most famous cupcakes bakers in Washington D.C.

"Georgetown Cupcake is a cupcakery based in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. that has now expanded to 6 other locations nationwide. Sisters Katherine Berman (née Kallinis) and Sophie LaMontagne (née Kallinis) opened the shop in February 2008.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cardinal | The Official Bird of Virginia

I was working on my laptop when this little beauty has been spotted in our backyard. I grabbed my camera and started taking a few photos up close until I was too close and the bird flew and left to another backyard.


"Virginia designated the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) as official state bird in 1950. One of America's favorite backyard birds, cardinals are distinctive in appearance and song - known for their "cheer cheer cheer," "whit-chew whit-chew" and "purty purty purty" whistles.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

McDonalds' Dollar Menu

Are you traveling through the US on budget?
Would you like to spend less money on food?
McDonald's Dollar Menu could be an option!
There is two categories for the Dollar Menu. Breakfast & Rest of the Day.
McDonald's introduce new items to the Dollar Menu every now and then and you have to ask the teller what's on the Dollar Menu today?
At the date of writing this blog post here is what you can find on the Dollar Menu:

Friday, October 4, 2013

How to open a new bank account in USA for foreigners

If you are traveling to the States and you do not have a working credit card in the American markets, then you will have a problem carrying your cash around while you are traveling. Not to mention that America is a cashless society, where you can spend all the money you want without the need of carrying cash all the time.

If you are wondering if opening a new bank account in America 'as a foreigner' is possible or not and how it can be done? Then you have come to the right place.

USD Bills
Documents needed:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Why is it called Greenland?

Have you ever wondered how did Greenland got it's name?
Two days ago, I flew over Greenland on my way to the US, the scenery was breathtaking.


If you look at the map below you will see how icy it is compared to it's neighbor Iceland.

View Larger Map
Here is how this huge pile of ice got it's tricky name:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The ‘Underwater Waterfall’ Illusion at Mauritius Island

The ‘Underwater Waterfall’ Illusion at Mauritius Island
Underwater Waterfall

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. Mauritius was first discovered by the Arabs in 975 AD, then by the Portuguese between 1507 and 1513. Since then there have been periods of succession and colonization between the French, Dutch and British. The island became a republic in 1968.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Sentinelese Island

Have you heard about the tribe inhabiting The Sentinelese?

North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It is home to the Sentinels, a small tribe who is noted for vigorously resisting attempts of contact by outsiders and has inhabited the island for thousands of years.

The island is completely untouched by modern civilization and its inhabitants kill any outsiders who try to get too close to their land.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Krak Des Chevaliers قلعة الحصن

Krak des Chevaliers from the south-west
Krak des Chevaliers from the south-west

Krak des Chevaliers (French pronunciation: ​[kʁak de ʃəvaˈlje]) (Arabic: قلعة الحصن‎), also Crac des Chevaliers, is a Crusader castle in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world. The site was first inhabited in the 11th century by a settlement of Kurds; as a result it was known as Hisn al Akrad, meaning the "Castle of the Kurds". In 1142 it was given by Raymond II, Count of Tripoli, to the Knights Hospitaller. It remained in their possession until it fell in 1271. It became known as Crac de l'Ospital; the name Krak des Chevaliers was coined in the 19th century.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Facts you didn't know about The Great Wall of China

You think you know The Great Wall of China? Think Again!
Sunrise at the Great Wall of China
Sunset at the Great Wall of China

Yesterday I was reading about The Great Wall of China only to discover that I know nothing about it. One of the most common "facts" I though was true, was actually false!
I decided to do a research about The Great Wall and share my findings with you.
Here is a list of 7 interesting facts you may NOT know about The Great Wall of China:

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Syrian Pyramids

Did you know about the little Pyramids in Syria?
Dead Cities, Idlib, Syria
Dead Cities, Idlib, Syria

The Dead Cities or Forgotten Cities are a group of 700 abandoned settlements in northwest Syria between Aleppo and Idlib. Around 40 villages grouped in eight archaeological parks situated in north-western Syria provide an insight into rural life in Late Antiquity and during the Byzantine period. Most villages which date from the 1st to 7th centuries, became abandoned between the 8th and 10th centuries. The settlements feature the well-preserved architectural remains of dwellings, pagan temples, churches, cisterns, bathhouses etc. Important dead cities include the Church of Saint Simeon Stylites, Serjilla and al Bara.

The Dead Cities are situated in an elevated area of limestone known as Limestone Massif. These ancient settlements cover an area 20–40 km (12–25 mi) wide and some 140 km (87 mi) long.[1] The Massif includes three groups of highlands: the first is the northern group of Mount Simeon and Mount Kurd; the second middle group is the group of Harim Mountains; the third southern group is the group of Zawiya Mountain.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

World Citizen

Have you ever heard about the World Passport?

World Passport
World Passport
The World Passport is a document issued by the World Service Authority, a non-profit organization founded by Garry Davis in 1954, citing Article 13, Section 2, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Article 13 of the Human Rights
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

Don't we all dream about having such passport?
Wouldn't be amazing if you had no obligation to obtain a visa to enter any country you wish? Apparently those who are in control doesn't like it all all.

If you look up the World Passport in the Wikipedia here is what you find:
"The World Passport is similar in appearance to a national passport or other travel document. Indeed, the appearance is so close that in 1974 a criminal case was lodged against Garry Davis in France regarding his issuance of World Passports. In 1979, the World Passport was a 42-page document, with a dark blue cover, and text in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, and Esperanto. It contained a five-page section for medical history and a six-page section for listing organisational affiliation. The fee charged at that time was $32 and postage for a three-year passport with the possibility of two years' extension of validity."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Couchsurfing | The Golden Age

Couchsurfing Logo

Ever since I came back from the Camping Trip in Palmyra which was my first Couchsurfingexperience, I have decided to involve more in CS. I have created a few sub-groups like "Damascus & Emergency Couch Requests" and worked on my profile more and tried to add useful information to the group of each city, Syria group and also to my profile to help travelers who are planning to visit the country in general.

Damascus - The Capital, the oldest city alive.
Aleppo - A large souk and ancient citadel with great views. 
Hama - Waterwheels on the Orontes River. 
Homs - An ancient city, Crac des Chevaliers, Amazing Green Mountains in Spring.
Latakia - A major port city, Saladin's Castle, Fronloq Forests and Al Samra Beah. 
Tartus - a historical port city and historical small island called Arwad.

We have started a chain of Weekly and Bi-Weekly "CS Damascus Meetings". During my participation in CS Syria I have created/attended more than 20 meetings, met awesome people (locals and travelers), shared so many stories with them as much as we shared delicious traditional food at Ziad's, tea & shisha in the old city, fruit juice at Abo Abdo, Damascene sweets at Nabil & Ice cream at Bakdash the Damascene way.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Couchsurfing | The First Encounter

Have you ever heard about "Couchsurfing"?

Couchsurfing New Logo
The first time I heard about the term was back in August 2008. Back then, I was working at the American School (Damascus Community School) in Damascus. One day I was talking to my friend Bilal about my travel plans for the summer of 2009. I told him I was thinking about traveling around Europe jumping from one city to another.

My original plan was to land in Vilinus, Lithuania.
Why Vilinus? Because I had a friend who want to visit & it was announced as the European Capital of Culture for 2009.
Then start moving on the ground by trains and buses passing by 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Introducing The Virtual Travelers

Emad Al Sagheer | The Virtual Traveler | Palmyra | Syria
October 2010, Palmyra, Syria

Are you curious about the world around you?
Do you dream about traveling around the world?

I have been dreaming about leaving my nest and travel around the world for years.

I think most of us dream about such journey at some age. Only a few of those dreamers get to realize the dream.
I have been always amazed by the brave ones, those who leaves everything behind in their 20’s (which are few) and start the exploration journey, seeking to have a real life experiences before they commit to their universities and get busy holding on to a career.

The rest of us, we keep pushing and rescheduling, hoping that one day we will get the courage, the time & the budget to finally realize this dream. Some are lucky to start their exploration while they are in their 30’s while they are still young enough for most of the activities included within this journey.
Not to forget the seniors who catch up with their dream while in their 50’s or 60’s.
I’ve seen many of them around my home city, but most of them usually looks for a luxuries short trips to the world ancient cities.