Showing posts from 2011

Je suis mouru à Liège mon amour.

Je suis peine.
Combien de personnes auront partagé ce texte de Florian Henin sur les réseaux sociaux ? Combien de personnes se sont dit « bien dit ! » ?
Florian Henin qui fait des amalgames et qui n’a sûrement pas entendu parler de cet Anversois (blanc) qui a tué une jeune nounou (noire) et ce bébé de deux ans à peine dans la rue. Il n’est sûrement jamais allé à Jérusalem dans le quartier Orthodoxe où les enfants jettent des pierres sur les passant seraient-ils un tant soit peu découverts et s’en donnent à cœur joie et à Hébron ce ne sont pas les touristes qui sont visés mais les Palestiniens (Arabes et sans doute Musulmans).
Tu te souviens l’été passé, il y a eu des émeutes en Grande-Bretagne. Sur les vidéos, on pouvait voir des blancs (athées ?)voler un noir, blessé, gisant au sol, en prétendant l’aider.
Dans mon quartier de Preston, il y a des Pakistanais (Musulmans) et des blancs (athées). Quand les blancs arrivent, je te promets, tu changes de trottoir, ils ne sont pas rassurants. L…

National Interfaith Week.

Very busy interesting week it has been and still not over yet.

Saturday - I was at a charity ball (I danced with 70-year-olds, there was an old man dancing like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction and I just wanted to take my heeels off and dance with him but I did not). I met Amy who told me about this week's events.

Sunday - I accompany a friend to Church. We get to see an architecture exhibition then we run away during the service because it was just not cool. People there weren't friendly like a congregation usually is and they let their toddlers run around - there must have been at least 13 children under the age of ten,

Monday - nothing.

Tuesday - I visited a Buddhist temple, the Central Methodist Church and a Hindu temple where there was a giant picture of the Sun God Surya (it's my name - yay) then attended an intro to the Bahai Faith. Then got free curry. Father John who is an Italian missionary dropped me at University.
Father John made me recite his address by heart s…

Jerusalem final part.

I am probably getting boring going on about Jerusalem in every single post... I shall change the subject soon. This shall be my last post about Jerusalem before I go on to other places such as Masada, Ein Gedi, Yam HaMelakh (The Sea of Salt aka the Dead Sea), Haifa, etc.

Near King David's tomb, I met an old guide, and again, I told him I had no money but he still wanted to show me around eventhough he was a real guide. It was a little late and I already had plans so he told me to meet him at Sha'ar Zion at 10am the next morning. So I went back the next morning and he was late so I sat waiting. Some people obviously working there started asking me who I was waiting for so I described the man. They got all worried when they identified him. "Are you sure?", "did he bother you?" "did he do anything to you?" and so on... I got a little worried when I finally saw him arrive but I made sure we stayed in crowded places. He showed me the tomb, the building…

Jerusalem part 2.

!! שבת שלום
I met so many people in Jerusalem, from the weird guy selling bread at Sha'ar Iafo to that homeless free spirited religious man who hangs out near the Kotel and the Golden Menorah Replica who invited me for a walk around the old city ramparts before buying me tea. And his friend who lives underneath his shop on Rehov Chabad who gave me a picture of an aerial view of the Old Jerusalem and a large bottle of water for no apparent reason then invited me inside to watch french tv which he did not understand.
I am glad I am writing this, in a certain way it allows me to relive things I did not especially wrote down in my diary.
At the hostel, I met David who was volunteering there and told me about a Rabbi (of whom I have forgotten the name unfortunately) who welcomes anyone that shows up for Shabbat dinner on Friday night, Saturday at lunch and Saturday night for the Havdallah. And the word is on the street so sometimes the house located in Mea Shearim is too small to hold…

Jerusalem part 1.

Where was I?

On my way to Jerusalem. Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, one hour by bus. I was never so happy to take a bus.

During my trip I kept coming back to this magnificent, so unique city.

After just two days, I knew my way around the old city which still had plenty of secrets for me to discover, but at least I knew where to go.
This city... it just made me feel like no other city never had. The history behind it, the legends, the atmosphere, everything just attracted me like a very strong magnet.

It felt so great. I won't tell you about what there is to see in Jerusalem because that is what travel guides are for and they probably have a better idea, I'm just going to talk about my experience of Jerusalem.
A hello here, a hello there as I walked the hundreds of year old steps of the Old City, as sellers were trying to get my attention and eventually my money. I never stopped. I was not there to buy made in china souvenirs, I was there to feel because Jerusalem is a city you have to…


Charles Lecharmant disait : "Je suis à la cage ce que le crapaud est au cigare."
"La pluie, le vent, la neige et les choux me font chavirer chaudement mais j'ai tout de même du mal à choisir entre chocolat et chamailleries chevalières telle un charlatan. La charmante mélodie si choyante que joyeuse et si attachante qu'affligeante du chamois chahuté chevauche mes songes les plus choyés. Je n'imagine point la gelée jaune gênante jasant avec la jumelle si chaude et gentille soit-elle.
Nous souviendrons-nous de ces après-midi journalières et ces jours passés à jacasser chaleureusement tout en chanson ? On se chuchotait des choses telles des chochottes jugeant non-chalamant une chèvre aux chevilles chavirantes sur une chaloupe. Une chaloupe ? Que dis-je ? Une salope, une salope alléchante et mal-lechée. Mais que signifie ce lynchage ? N'a-t-on plus l'âme charitable louche d'un chanoine dans sa cheminée ? Mais qui nous rendra donc nos chopes des charm…

Gilad Shalit will be coming back home after 5 years!

This new year 5772 starts beautifully as Gilad Shalit is to be freed in the next few days, announced the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu,  just a few hours ago.
After years of negotiations, Israel and Hamas have finally found an accord to release Gilad. "@IsraeliPM (The PM of Israel)  We have concluded ardeous negotiations with #Hamas to release #Gilad #Shalit. He will be coming home in the next few days" the PM tweeted.

In July, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of Gilad's abduction by the Hamas on Israeli grounds, now, he will be coming back home to his mother.

"@IsraeliPM (The PM of Israel)   the agreement to release #Shalit was signed in initials last Thursday and today was signed formally by the two parties"

Jaffa, bats, shopping and food.

Before leaving Tel Aviv for Jerusalem, I went to Jaffa. I didn't spend too much time there as everything was closed, I think it was Shabbat and I was leaving first thing the next morning to Jerusalem, but I still got to see many beautiful things that made me want to go back. And I did later during my trip. I must say I really fell in love with Jaffa. When I went back there I stayed at the Old Jaffa Hostel which was great, I enjoyed their rooftop lounge with the open air kitchen, it is a really nice place. Right across my hostel was the nicest little shop, Hasadna, where I bought many things. They do a lot of art objects with recycled materials, it's very interesting. A little further in the street, I discovered a very good restaurant where, for some strange reason, the waitress offered me a home made cookie and home made iced tea and I know I was the only customer to get that treatment. Puaa it was called, they have a french and english menu but I took the Hebrew one because …

Israel, benches and hotness.

So the first day I was in Tel Aviv I met Igal who owns a luggage shop on Rehov Ben Yehuda (74). I met him because I had blisters and I had to sit down to put plasters on my feet and on the first bench I sat on, there he was. It is so weird to arrive in a country where you expect to not understand anyone and out of the blue, someone starts talking to you in your own language then of course I told him I speak a little Hebrew and he lost me in a very long discussion that was in fact a monologue.
Why was I talking about him ? Ah yes, he expanded my Hebrew vocabulary, not very much but there are at least two words I clearly remember: devek ve'misparaim, glue and scissors, the first two items I remember buying in Israel. And why did I have to urgently buy these on my first day? So I could make the object of this post: my notebook (my preciouuuuuusssss).

I must say I hated Tel Aviv at first because it was my first day in a country I didn't know all alone and I had had such a bad expe…

And finally, as promised...

I have finally found the time  to publish parts of my travel notebook. Many of you have not seen it yet as I must admit I have not been seeing a lot of people this past summer. Anyway, I will not publish it all in one go and will certainly not publish it all because firstly there are just waaaaaay too many pages and secondly, some pages are just not worth it.

I will also add some pictures I took and I will take the time to write personally to everyone I have met and got their info during this journey.

I want to thank everyone that made this trip possible et plus particulierement ma maman who made everything possible to make it happen.

Thank you all for having followed me during these six incredible weeks, here's to you:

More good news, Kings, women's rights, and Steve Jobs.

Last night Steve Jobs died but I couldn't care less so instead I'll write about something else.
Last week King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced women will have a right to vote in the 2015 local elections (not the elections that were running this week as this would be too big a shock and way too sudden, you gotta give it time so people can get used to the idea).

I read the news on the BBC on Tuesday last week and the article was just very dull and reporting facts and that's probably how the news should be reported but I read this and my mind went "wait, this is really funny in a way, they fail to mention such and such". Then I went home in Belgium and bought the weekly "Le Canard Enchaîné" which expressed my point of view in a way I couldn't have formulated better myself.

Saudi Arabia is supposedly run according to the Sharia Laws but I find it a bit hypocritical to say that since it is the only country in the World where women don't have the …

Home is where your heart is, missing planes and security checks.

I left my heart behind I think.
I'm back in Belgium. Back in rainy Belgium. It feels so weird and depressing.

I nearly missed my plane yesterday, big stress. I never stress, but there I was in the taxi, crying on the phone with my mother telling me I would probably miss it but it was no big deal if I did.
At 9.30 am I asked the receptionist  if she could book a taxi for 11.30 and she told me I had to be 3 hours in advance, it was thus waaaaay too early for me to go when my plane was at 2.50pm and I should take it at 1.30. I got really confused "wait, are you sure?" of course she was sure. at 12.30 pm I go back to see her see if she could call a taxi since my plane was at 2.50 pm "oh you need to go, now, now, arshav! I told you three hours before!!!"
The stress is slowly coming.
The taxi arrives at 12.47pm. "Is it far?" I ask. "huh? Ma?" "Is it far?" I try again, "What?", "Ze Karov?" (Is it close? - because I'…

So where was I?

Hello hello hello my beloved readers.

Wow, I haven't written in a long time! I am still not dead though.

In the past two weeks I have done so many things and so little at the same time! I am really enjoying myself here and I wish I could stay forever. A few days ago, I went to Mitzpe Ramon, in the Negev. I stayed in an eco-friendly campsite that has no electricity and that is in the middle of the desert! My tent had little windows at the level of my bed so every day I woke up to see the desert in the morning sunlight. No sounds around (the campsite is called the silent arrow), just rocks. I met incredible people there. I am proud to say I hiked to Makhtesh Ramon (the crater) for a few hours before going back(no I wasn't on my own, I went with Rene, a guy from Switzerland I met at the campsite). We met two coyotes or at least to animals that looked a lot like coyotes and one guy who was going down there while we were climbing back up. I am glad we didn't find snakes or scor…

Modern censorship.

Although I am far from home and on holidays, I still read the news (if I didn't I would have to reconsider my choice of studies)

Yesterday in the english version of Haaretz, they were talking about the rights on Enyd Blyton's "The Famous Five" and "The Secret Seven" that are being translated in Hebrew at the moment and to be published soon in Israel although another publisher has been publishing a translated version for many years without the rights. Fine, nothing interesting much until the end of the article when I read the books written for children, are considered sexist, racist and so on and that they were banned from the radio in England on grounds of lack of artistic talent or something, basically hey were unworthy of being read on the BBC.

The books are being rerwritten for publication in the United Kingdom to reach today's political correctness standards. And there we reach the whole debate we had with "TinTin in Congo" in Belgium a fe…

The good life.

You'll be happy to know I am not dead.

I left Jerusalem a couple of days ago to go to Nazareth where I did absolutely nothing but read, write, cook and sleep (and go buy the necessary food to cook of course). It was nice, I stayed in a convent, everybody spoke french, it was like a holiday to my very busy and active holiday.

This morning I left very early to come to Haifa, I have only been here a few hours but I love this city. It is strange to think the cities I've love the most so far have an important arab community, I don't know why though.

I have spotted a few hikes to do here so it will keep me busy tomorrow and maybe the next day I will go to the beach and rent a surfboard. FUN.

I have many tales to tell but not enough time to write about them on here but I promise to do so when I come back.

My Hebrew has improved quite a lot in the past three weeks which is normal but I'm still proud of it as I hadn't had the chance to practice in a year and I had left it a…

Desert stories.

Erev tove le'kulam!

I got to Massada in the evening of the third day of the week (I adapted to the hebrew week, it's better) and went to bed very early as I woke up at 4am to ascent Massada and be in time for the sunrise! Man, that was painful! I thought I wasn't in shape anymore, it was only a little hike, at some point I nearly fainted because of the heat and my blood pressure getting higher from the exercising... I didn't. I got to the top, saw the sunrise, visited for a bit and went down again.
I think I deserve a medal!

The receptionist is staring at me and there is a fly attacking me. Great.

Then the same morning I left to stop at Ein Gedi where I went to the beach and floated in the Dead Sea next to a few tourists left for about 5 minutes and then decided it wasn't for me.

This morning afer a big hummus breakfast I left and went hiking in the Judean desert. I lsted 6 hours with a liter and cream. I have a shoulder burnt but let me tell you it was worth it! O…

Farewell Jerusalem.

This morning I am leaving Jerusalem to go Rishon Lezion. After I shall go to Masada and Ein Gedi to see what the nature has to offer there.

I heard the hostel in Masada have a couple of camping spots on top of the cliff and I hope they have tents to go with them because sleeping there should be awesome!

There is a 4-5 hour long hike to do in Ein Gedi in which you have to be very careful and listen for rushes of water. If you hear water, you should start climbing. That definitely on my list of things to even above swimming in the Iam HaMelach (the sea of salt aka the Dead Sea) in which, I've heard, I shouldn't bathe more than 20 minutes otherwise I will dry up.

So that is my program for the next few days.
On Friday I will be back in Jerusalem, I will have Shabbat dinner with an orthodox family, it is more or less arranged, and then on Saturday I should go to Palestine as my first attempt didn't go as planned or should I say, was an epic fail.
On Sunday, I am hesitating to s…

Not according to plan.

Saba el'kheir! Boker tov!

I was going to go to Palestine this morning but my friend Zayd's car broke down so I will come back to Jerusalem after my Rishon LeZion/Dead Sea/Masada/Ein Gedi tour so we can go.

So today I have no idea what I will do, I will have to pull my travel guide out and look for a thing to do, it'll probably be the Temple Mount.

I am really looking forward to see Palestine, I think you pass by it if you're in Jerusalem. Many tourists don't go and miss out on a lot of things, be them the awesomely nice and generous people, the beautiful wonders of Palestine, or just facing the reality. My camera is ready!

Aight, I've got a long day ahead of me. Farewell!

O Jerusalem

Boker Tov from the Holy Land!

More tea, more nice people, some creeps,...

I am enjoying myself here, I will definitely have to come back, there is not enough of one week to see it all.
You really get used to the security checks after a while, it has become an automatism at the entrance of every big public building, public gathering areas,etc to open my bag, sometimes go through the metal detector gate, you don't notice it after a while.
On the other hand, I realised yesterday my cutter passed the thorough security check of El-Al, it was in my carrier bag, I seriously thought I had left it home but no. So much for safety... If I'd been a sociopath I would have killed the pilot or something...

Yesterday night I went back to the Kotel, there was still as many people as during the day but I found my way to the stones and delivered the prayers and messages I was entrusted with.

Today I will walk to Yad Vashem and if I have time when I come back I will do the ramparts walk.

I wish y…

O Jerusalem, I love thee!

After a bus trip from Tel Aviv, I arrived in the holiest city of all times, Jerusalem.

Now I definitely want to stay! I'm in the best hostel ever, in the old city of Jerusalem! No more Germans and Americans keeping me awake at night!

I have no words for what I have seen so far and it is far from over!
I would gladly spend a few months here and it is possible! My hostel accepts volunteers in exchange of a free bed. I will definitely consider it!

Here I get to practice both my Hebrew and Arabic, it is awesome! People keep offering me tea, yum!

I will post later!
My travel notebook is getting big, I cannot wait to share it with the world once I come back!

The trip: my first night and day

Security checks at the airport were a nightmare.
At some point I thought they wouldn't let me in the country...

I don't have much time so I'll make it short. I arrived at around 2.30 am at the hotel, checked in, went to my dorm and fell asleep after 20 minutes or so. Today I went to the beach, to the gaypride, I saw the sunset on the beach,...

I want to go back home. I feel very lonely. I am wondering if it was such a good idea to leave for 1 month... I miss my family so much.

Tomorrow I will see Yaffa.

The trip: My first day (not) in Tel Aviv.

Wednesday June 8th.

8pm, baby-sitting my nieces un Brussels suburbia, my new name is Mr Jacques according to the little one. Time for bed, give me a big hug, tomorrow I'm leaving for a month in Israel.
read, watch tv, sleep.
11.30pm, my sister and brother in law are back, time for my mom and I to leave, I'm excited, in les than 12 hours, I'll be on the plane to Tel Aviv!! I'll land at 4.30pm, check in my hotel and then spend the evening on the beach, watch the sun go down...
12am, the phone rings *+972...* "Allo?" "Allo, Surya, ze "El-AL" "oh erm, ken" "your flight has been cancelled, you will have to take one at 8pm tomorrow"

Thursday June 9th

So I am leaving today. But at 8pm. Meaning I'll land at 1.30am, in a country I've never been to, where I know nobody, on my own. Sweet.

Just because some people in Brussels airport decided to go on strike. I hate strikes. I hate everyone (except for my mom).

Sweet victory.

Not having the herd instinct as most humans do, I often forget to have a social life. Especially at the moment as I'm preparing this exciting yet a bit scary trip I'm about to take. So of course when an old friend from school asked if I wanted to hang out in town with another friend last night, I said okay.

At the last minute, a change of plans, which is in itself not a big deal as it was closer to the place I was then and I hadn't left already. Thing is, we had to go to an old pub opposite my old school where all these kids who think they're super cool hang out. I used to go there before they changed it, it used to be okay when I was about 15 but the thing is, only 15 year-old hypocrites, nationalist, homophobic dicks hang out there now and the concept of meeting with people my age there made me feel like they have not evolved, an they probably haven't. Worst is, I know these people's faces and sometimes there's one that recognises  you and is all like &qu…

The big trip.

I don't know whether I have mentionned this in previous posts but in just a few days, I should be leaving for HaEretz HaKaddosh, the Holy Land in Hebrew, Israel. Now, you have to know I have been dreaming about this for a few years now and decided last November I would do this in June which is now coming very soon. I am the most excited girl on earth right now. I am so determined I saved a lot of money (a huuuuuuuuuuge amount) to pay for this trip.

I will be leaving on my own for a whole month, travelling by bus with my backpack. Hopefully I will be able to go to Palestine too (shhhh this is a secret) eventhough my grandma told me it was waaaaaaaaaaay too dangerous. But this is what I want to do; travel and see for myself to be able to make my own opinion.

It is one of the most important things of my life, I have never really travelled alone (except when I went to Portugal when I was 15 but I stayed at friends') and I am going there to disconnect from the rest of the World and…

This year's outcomes.

A disorganised rant about what I have learnt this year, what I liked or disliked, a bit of everything really.

On a general level, I must admit I have loved this academic year. I have realised, like I wrote back in September that I should have been in university all my life, instead of school where you get told the same every single day.
I absolutely love university and I realise I am very lucky to be able to afford it. And because I didn't really know what to expect coming to university abroad, I was not deceived by unmet expectations.

I have met some really awesome, interesting and inspiring people, especially Danny, the most passionate person about Journalism I have ever met and whom I will especially miss next year as he is going to China. Thanks to him, I got to work for the Lancashire Evening Post with Chris, Mike and him. It was an amazing experience.

My tutors. My tutors were the greatest. I love learning and, because I'd only experienced school, high school and similar…

Life sucks? Not mine.

I am sorry, this will probably take the form of a rant but people keep getting on my nerves complaining about how their life totally sucks because of this or that.

When I was eight years old, my grandma took me to India and Nepal. I was a bit worried when she packed a hundred pens I didn't understand why she wanted to take these as presents. Pens, presents? Then we got there. We travelled on the dirtiest roads to the smallest villages and all the children kept asking for pens.

When I was 14 I went to Bulgaria. Travelling to and from the hotel by car I saw desolation, girls as young as me begging or selling their bodies.

When I was 15 I went to Romania with my parents, in the only county that isn't mentionned in tourist guides. The children there played in mud and wore ragged clothes, they were the happiest children on earth when I gave them all I had on me, Kinder Eggs.

When I was 16 I went in Zambia to teach in a small school. I packed so many pens, clothes, medica…

Gilad Benari.

Vous connaissez?

Aujourd'hui je vous présente Gilad Benari, photographe Israélien né à Haifa, très respecté par la communauté DeviantArtoù il met régulièrement sa galerie à jour.

Après une carrière dans le marketing (carrière qu'il a toujours d'ailleurs), il se trouve une passion pour l'écriture. En 2002, à la naissance de son fils Yotam, il décide de s'acheter un Olympus c40 pour la documenter, l'appareil qui va changer sa vie. C'est à ce moment là qu'il découvre sa passion pour la photographie. Au début, il illustrait ses écrits par la photo, puis peu à peu, ses clichés sont devenus populaires, il a commencé à pratiquer la photographie en tant que telle, il n'a cependant pas arrêté d'écrire pour autant. En 2003 il décroche sa première expo qui fût un succès (couverture des médias, excellentes critiques). C'est à ce moment là qu'il s'est promis que dix ans plus tard il ne vivrait que de son art car jusqu'à présent il a continué …


Today I am sad. Just like when they decided they would introduce new spelling rules in French (because people can't spell properly anymore, we had to adapt the language to their -very low- level of language).

Today, the Oxford English Dictionary has added LOL, OMG and FYI to the vocabulary. It is a sad, sad day.

@DeathStarPR LOL, OMG and FYI have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Somewhere in 1596, Shakespeare begins to weep inexplicably.

@Stewie_Griffinn The Oxford English Dictionary has added OMG, LOL, and FYI to their dictionary, In other news ''LMAO'' is pissed off LOL.

While little 13-year-old ignorants will be thrilled their teachers won't be able to correct their papers, the language is dying.