greece pictures...finally

Sorry it's taken me a while. I've been feeling a bit lazy in the week since I've been home. But now I'm definitely settled back into SoCal life. You know you're back in Southern California when you agree to drive to Santa Monica for lunch with your best friend at a vegan restaurant and as you're walking in she tells you: "I once ate next to David Duchovny." The nachos (sans real fromage) were actually quite tasty. Sadly, David Duchovny was nowhere to be found.

On to the pix!

Our first glimpse of the Acropolis on our first night in Athens.

Me and Fred atop the Acropolis after the previous night's one-two punch of Dom Perignon compounded with red wine. In case you're wondering, *never* a good idea.

The Parthenon rocks.

The fallen column at the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Had to find the Armenian church, which of course was a 10-minute walk from the fabulous Fresh Hotel.

Moi at the ancient agora (read: shopping center).

The fabulous Fresh Hotel.

Our first island paradise: Mykonos

There are no words.

I told him that if he ordered a "Miami Vice" cocktail, I was going to put a picture of it on the blog. Consider yourself warned, my friend.

Me and the Berkeley girls on the best bar balcony in the world at Katerina's in Mykonos' Little Venice at sunset.

The view from our room at the Alkioni Hotel on Naxos.


Santorini sunset from our hotel.

Our adorable little Hyundai. You can almost hear it chanting: "I think I can...I think I can...I think I can..."

Santorini's red beach.

The village of Oia.

Sitting above the main town of Fira. No, I'm not naked. I'm just wearing a tube top.

Our hotel at the edge of the world.

One of the two propellers that miraculously lifted us away from Santorini to Athens on my final journey home.


this about covers it

A map of all the countries I've visited. The Russian part is a bit deceiving, seeing as how I had 6 hours in Red Square and hence nearly all of the Asian continent is colored in, but still, I like how it looks.


more pictures from the edge of the world

As promised, here are some more pictures. These are from my two weeks in Syria and Lebanon. If you want to see more of any of these, just let me know and I'll mail you the whole album.

The golden bust is of late Syrian President Hafez Assad at the entrance to a military museum in Damascus.

If you can zoom in you can read what Syrians really think of the U.S. In short: They're not too happy with us.

Spices in Damascus' old covered market.

The road to hell (aka Iraq) is to the right.

Avo and I at Palmyra. Behind us is the ancient city's main street, which were once lined with shops.

The cliffs of Maalula, a Christian village in Syria, where they speak Aramaic. The Virgin Mary is popular here -- see the top of the cliff? There's a church near there that was likely originally constructed more than 1,000 years ago.

Little Miss Arine on her fourth birthday in her new flashing-lights scooter.

Sossi, Arine and me at the entrance to Salaadin's castle.

Looking out to the castle from inside one of the towers.

The view from the castle.

Hafez Assad's coffin, which is in...

..this massive mausoleum. It houses his coffin in the center and his son in one corner.

The moat (a moat! awesome!) at Crac Des Chevaliers, the largest of the crusader castles.

Me, after climbing up a narrow, winding stairway to the top of the princess' tower, the tallest tower in the Crac.

You've heard of the Knights of the Round Table? Yeah, that's the round table. Sadly, no pizza though.

Blatant McDonald's ripoff, a short drive from the Crac. I'm lovin' it.

Dinner with the fam my first night in Beirut.

The coffin of Rafik Hariri -- the former Lebanese prime minister who was assassinated last year and whose murder led to all the latest madness in Lebanon -- is underneath all that tentage and security. In the middle of downtown Beirut, no less.

The new downtown Beirut. This was all Hariri's initiative.

Old vs. new Beirut

Beirut at sunset from Jounieh.

My 17-year-old cousin Varak took control of my camera at dinner.

Obligatory hookah picture courtesy of 13-year-old cousin Hrag, who also took control of my camera.


a picture is worth...

Seeing as how I took more than 700 photos and I have zero desire to post them all (nor, I suspect, do you want to look at them), I'm just going to post highlights. If you want to see the whole thing, lemme know and I'll mail you all the Snapfish albums. I've split them into five albums, one for each leg of the trip.

What you see below is a sampling of the highlights from Sharjah and Dubai. I pretty well covered South Africa, Egypt and Jordan already. So I'm going to start with Dubai. I'll take you through Syria and Lebanon, and leave you with Greece in separate posts later on.


Globalization at its finest: Starbucks capuccino at the Sharjah Mega Mall. (Sharjah is the emirate next door to Dubai, and where both my cousins live.)

My adorable cousins Arpy and Tvin.

A Fulla prayer set for little girls. Fulla is the Islamic version of a Barbie doll that's taken the Arab/Muslim world by storm. The Toys 'R Us in Dubai stocks several aisles more Fulla than Barbie and little girls (including non-Muslim girls) go nuts for it. Go figure.

My crazy cousin Haig. Yes, he's wearing his speedo on his head.

Gotta love a country where they bring your hookah poolside.

The ski slope of Ski Dubai. Or, as I like to call it, Mt. Dubai.


It was colder than Mammoth on the inside and 105 degrees outside. Nevermind that to keep Ski Dubai cold probably sucks up more energy than is required for your average industrial complex. In short: AWESOME.

Me and the kids (Arpy and Tvin) in our snow gear.

Me and Lorig on my last night in Dubai, at "The One and Only Royal Mirage Hotel."

Me and Taline with the golden camels at the Royal Mirage.