Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book Club

For our February book club meeting, we chose Moon Light in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles.  I absolutely loved the book.  

The back cover of the book describes this book best:  "Exploring the booming business of email-order brides, an industry where love and marriage collide with sex and money, Moonlight in Odessa  is a darkly humorous debut about the choices and sacrifices we make in pursuit of love and stability, and the lengths we will go to for a happy ending." 

What made this meeting so special is that the author was able to attend our meeting to discuss her book.  Here I am with Janet.

Discussing the book...such insight into Janet's background and what inspired her to write this book.

I love to travel and now have added Odessa to my list of places to see.

Janet's novel was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of their top ten debut novels of Fall 2009. Also, it was Book of the Month in the September issue of National Geographic Traveler.

For more information about Janet and her book, please visit the below website.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Dead Sea, Jordan

I'm finally on my last post from our Lebanon/Jordan vacation back in May.

Our final stop in Jordan was the Dead Sea.  The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth at 400 meters/1,320 feet below sea level.
A Bedouin tent

Driving over to the Dead Sea from Petra

We stayed at the Marriot located right on the Dead Sea.  There are very few hotels in this area.

This region's miraculous air is dry, unpolluted and pollen-free with very little humidity.  Due to the constant evaporation, the air contains high concentrations of several minerals.  These minerals provide 8% more oxygen than anywhere else on earth and consequently makes breathing easier.

The water of the Dead Sea contains 21 minerals including magnesium, calcium, bromine and potassium.  12 of the minerals are found in no other sea or ocean.  The high salt and mineral concentration enables everyone to float but doesn't allow the proliferation of fish and other marine life.

Tom floating..

Me floating and waving...

Our hotel had pots of mud next to the sea.  Many people visit this region for the health benefits of the mud.  Tom and I also covered ourselves in mud but we were too muddy to handle my camera.

Our relaxing hotel...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Petra Jordan

Back in May, we headed to Jordan after we left Lebanon.  Our first stop in Jordan was Petra.

Petra, the Red Rose City, is located in the southern part of Jordan.  It is a 2000 year old city carved into rose colored stone.  The site for this magnificent city was lost for over 1000 years and was rediscovered in 1812 AD.  Petra is just incredible to visit.  If some of this looks familiar to you, it's because parts of Indiana Jones was filmed here.

Here is Tom wearing a keffiyeh.

Petra is several kilometers long, so we decided to explore some of it on a camel.

Since I am now an "experienced" camel rider, this camel seemed to be a bit nervous and jumpy to me.  As it turns out, Tom's camel (which was behind my camel) repeatedly kept biting me camels tail!!  Go figure!

This is the oldest bar in the world.  This bar occupies a 2000 year old Nabataran rock tomb. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Beirut Lebanon

Looking through my pictures, I realized that I never finished blogging about Lebanon back in May.  Tom and I had the most amazing time in Lebanon.  We learned about their history and met so many wonderful people.  Here I am driving up toward a tank that was parked on a road in Beirut.

A close up of the tank with its driver...

Art in Beirut...

The architecture was amazing

We stayed outside of Beirut for the entire week.  We decided to spend the last night in Beirut so that we could get to the airport on time and not miss our flight.  Tom found us a hotel that was overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and that also had a pool on the roof.  This was a perfect end to our week in Lebanon!

Monday, July 12, 2010

What I've been doing so far in July...

I love just strolling around Paris.  In the summer, I especially love to walk next to the Seine as well as the Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint Louis.

Blue, blue sky and a very picturesque building in my "neighborhood".

We went to watch the FIFA World Cup semi-finals between the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower.

The city set up a huge tv screen and had entertainment before the game and during half-time.  The Eiffel Tower is just beginning to twinkle at 10pm.  It was a wonderful evening.

I met Leesa, Karin and Aurelia at the Rosa Bonheur.  It is a cute bar, restaurant and dance club in the Parc des Butte Chaumont.
We arrived there around 5:30pm, just before it got busy.

There are picnic table on both sides of the restaurant.

This park is in the 19th arrondisement and was opened in 1867 to coincide with the Exposition Universelle.    The temple of Sybil (a copy of the temple of Tivoli in Rome) sits 30 meters up on the island.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Part VI - Paris and Epernay

We had  a surprise gift in our fresh vegetables that we bought at the marché (farmer's market) today.  His name is Pierre.  Since apartment life wasn't for Pierre, Hélène adopted him and put Pierre in her garden.  So now when Hélène invites us out to her place, we can visit him.  He's so cute!

Shopping and walking around Paris...

Reading up on history..

The streets are alive on Ile Saint Louis...

Notre Dame in the background...

The oldest tree in Paris (I think)...

Musique de la Fête - We spent a wonderful evening walking around the Latin Quarter and St-Germain des Prés listening to all of the fabulous bands perform on every street.

Off to Epernay - the capital of Champagne

We started with sandwiches around this fountain.

Then, we headed over to our favorite independant champagne company in the WHOLE world!  Yes, it's that good!!

A private tour in their caves....

Followed by tastings in their beautiful parlor

Next, we headed over to Moët & Chandon
In their champagne cellars...

We saw my favorite French comedien who does a one man show called "How to be Parisian in 1 Hour".  Yes, it's in English ! :)

Here's a website where you can get more info about his play:

Me and Olivier - oh la la!!

We had a wonderfully busy and extremely fun month of June!