Category Archives: Travel

Show & Tell: armchair tour of the Middle East

This morning I got a call from Dubai. Zaina is my “twin” (we have the same birthday), and one of the first people I met when Roger and I landed in Syria for our 2-year teaching stint there many years ago.

Zaina holds dual citizenship between Syria and Canada. She and her new husband just spent the summer in Calgary and Vancouver, but we had missed each other’s telephone calls. They just returned to Dubai, where they now live and teach.

Her phone call coincides with Show & Tell. With the Middle East now on my mind, I bring you some of the souvenirs we brought home to remind us of the warm people, the rich history, and the varied culture we experienced in our vagabond years.

We got this print in Cyprus. It is a map of the world, which includes the prominently placed Garden of Eden at 12 o’clock. Nearby are Liban (Lebanon) Jordan, Judea, Babylonia, Armenia and Constantinople. Outlying areas include Anglia (England) at 8:00 and Scotia (Scotland) at 11:00.

These two prints were bought in Sefat, Israel, a center of Jewish mysticism. The first is the Kabbalah Tree of Life. Years later I referenced these in my Chakra series. The second are the Hebrew symbols alef, mem and shin:

Three Mother Letters Aleph Mem Shin in male and female Souls are
the head, the belly and the chest.
The head is created from Fire, the belly is created from Water
and the chest is from Breath that is between them.

Read right to left, the symbols form the word Shema, which means “hear” or “obey” and begins certain prayers.

Probably no need to state that this papyrus is from Egypt. I’m not sure about the depiction, but a good guess is that it’s a pharaoh, a man-god, with his earthly accoutrements, which include his wife.

Finally, this is a carpet we got in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. It carries the “Bird of Happiness” motif.

If you ever come to my house, you will not step foot on it.

Because we have it hanging on the wall.


See what other’s are bringing for Show & Tell this week. Do you have something to share?

Show & Tell: one vegetable and two minerals

It’s a three-in-one Show & Tell! I trotted around my house this morning trying to find something worthy of my inaugural Show & Tell, a new idea from Mel. And here ya go.

1. The base is teak — one solid piece carved into interlocking camels. Roger and I found it in a bazaar the Christmas we spent with friends in Oman.

2. The tray is a copper piece, made in the souk of Aleppo, Syria. We got it during the two years we lived there, shortly after we were married.

3. The alabaster statue on top was a gift from Ro last Mother’s Day.

The stack of unrelated objet d’art sits in our front window. Such a nice blend of the old and the new, the past and the future. I like to think of all the hands that worked on these three pieces, and I wish their owners knew how their craftsmanship has affected and tracked my life.

For more Show & Tell links or to have your turn at the blackboard (remember I come from the chalky days before whiteboards), click here.

Post announcement post: The Seven New Wonders of the World

Results are in. With one vote cast for every 67 people on the planet, here are the winners, in no particular order:

  • Macchu Picchu (Peru)
  • Great Wall of China
  • Colosseum (Rome)
  • Taj Mahal (India)
  • Petra (Jordan)
  • Chichen Itza pyramid (Mexico)
  • Christ the Redeemer statue (Brazil)
  • Great Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)

When is seven eight? When the Great Pyramids are grandpharaoh-ed in. Egyptian officials indignantly asserted that as the sole remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, they shouldn’t have to apply.

So I’ve seen half. Now I know what to do with the rest of my life.