Back to the real world…
Wow. It’s been almost a month since my last post, but it feels like years! I spent the month of December embarking on the most amazing journey – from Dubai, to Jordan, to Petra, Istanbul, and finally, Cabo, Mexico! I met some incredible people and reunited with old friends. Since I’ve been back, everyone has been asking me what the highlights of my trip were. SO.
Here are the TOP 10 HIGHLIGHTS OF MY TRIP:
1. Hi, Dubai – My newfound friend in Dubai landed a helicopter on top of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai to join me for a party at the film festival. Taryn, welcome to Dubai.
Sidenote: The Burj is one of the most expensive hotels in the world (it’s located on it’s own little island off the coast) and requires reservations months in advance just to get drinks in it’s rooftop bar! I’m pretty sure the margarita I had there several days later was somewhere around $45.
2. Sandboarding in the UAE desert. For realz!! We also went four-wheeling on the sand dunes and went on a brief night-time camel ride. Video to come.
3. Bought tacky lingerie in the Amman marketplace – imagine thousands of little street vendors, all selling rugs, perfumes, black market DVDs, falafel, and yes, lingerie…and trust me, this isn’t lingerie you would find in America. Haha. Victoria’s Secret should start a Jordanian line!!
4. Christmas in Petra – I was a little nervous about spending Christmas away from the fam in Kansas, but I had the most wonderful time hiking the ancient city of Petra with my high school friend Jessica and her friends in Jordan. We walked for miles – and the ruins built into the rock are breathtaking.
5. Barbecued at the Dead Sea – despite the fact that it was freezing just an hour south, the Dead Sea was warm enough for a few Europeans to be swimming in their speedos! (Don’t try this if you’re a woman there.) We had a wonderful barbecue of fresh veggies and my favorite, s’mores.
6. Smokin’ the Shisha – Everyone in the Middle East smokes. Seriously, everyone. Not accustomed to this, I was coughing up a lung my first week there, but finally decided to man up and try a culturally relevant pastime – shisha. There are many different flavors of shisha and they are actually quite tasty and great after a meal!
7. Drinkin’ Raki in Istanbul – I had never heard of Raki before my trip to Istanbul, but I will never again forget it. AKA lion’s milk, Raki is a 50 proof alcohol with a distinct licorice taste that is so pungent, it is diluted with water (making it a milky white color) and sipped. I made it through one shot of Raki in about an hour, thinking I was fine….until the next morning. Leave it to the lightweight.
8. Sight-seeing with Mehmet – my old friend from college took me around Istanbul. We went to the Haga Sofia, the Sinking Palace, had a feast of baklava, and went to some of the chic hot spots that made NY hipsters seem unsophisticated.
9. Cabo Wabo – Celebrated New Years in Cabo with the most unique group of people EVER… We stayed together in a house for 6 days, making it all the more interesting. Imagine a UFC champion, 3 baseball players, a model, a reporter, two singers, a Lord, an actress, an adult film star, a manager, and little ‘ol me. Now THAT would be a great reality show.
10. Fishin’ in Mexico – besides laying out with a daiquiri in one hand and a plate of ceviche in the other, some of the group went spear fishing (self-explanatory). Don’t worry, they always let the little fishes go. One day we took a boat out and I actually saw whales about 20 feet from the boat, which was very cool :)