10 jours au Liban

Some photos from when I in June decided to become good friends with solitude again, and travelled to Beirut by myself. I had wanted to visit for a long time, and no friends were really able to join – so I went anyway, and had an absolutely fantastic time with the most hospitable people I’ve ever met, many of whom became friends.

I stayed at Staybridge suites, an apartment hotel with great staff, great location and an absolutely fabulous rooftop pool where I really found the headspace I needed from some of the most intense months of work ever for me. I strolled alone around the city, I took some time to read, to swim to sit in the sun. To be alone. It didn’t take long before I found my new friends at the hotel though. Less than a day actually. Among them was Maja, a polish girl I met in the elevator who also happened to be alone in Beirut. And Marwan and his friends, who became the best possible Lebanon guides. There were also a bunch of other strangers who always prove to be courteous, friendly and great.

Needless to say, there was a lot of dancing. And I can hands down say that of all the cities in the world that I’ve danced in – Beirut nightlife wins. Sunrise and all.

Lebanon

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Lebanon

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Because enjoying life is also a must – Mexico’s Costa Maya, the in-betweens.

Playa

In between the circus hopping and the New Year’s celebrations, we enjoyed Costa Maya the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed. On the beach, eating great food at Casa Banana in Tulum and Almirante Pech in Playa del Carmen, having long breakfasts and days on the beach in Tulum’s La Zebra, dancing at Playa’s La Santanera and ordering guacamole with almost every meal we had. And, probably my favourite part – singing in the car.

Tulum!

Tulum!

Tulum!

Tulum!

Tulum!

Tulum!

Tulum!

Tulum!

Tulum!

Tulum!

Tulum! Playa

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PlayaPlaya

PlayaPlaya

PlayaPlaya

PlayaPlaya

PlayaPlaya

PlayaPlaya

Cirque du Soleil, Playa del Carmen – Joyà

Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya

Went to see the acclaimed Cirque du Soleil show Joyà in Playa del Carmen on December 30th. A wonderful addition to a schedule already packed with impressions and highlights – and my first ever full Cirque du Soleil experience. It was amazing! The 250USD tickets (for two people) included a bottle of champagne and small bites of salty and sweet deliciousness (with edible spoons, yum!), and we were lucky to get some of the best seats in our price category, with a great view of the entire stage and all the little surprises happening around it. So very worth it. The stage isn’t huge like in other venues so it’s a very intimate setting and you’re literally part of the show at some points with things happening all around. The show itself was based on a simple adventure story, family friendly and entertaining – and blended a mix of languages, humour, dancing, acrobatics and of course great music into what became a rather magical night.

We had some time to have a drink and some starters in the restaurant Nektar just before the show, and were positively surprised by the low prices and really fast and great service considering the amount of people around and the absolutely stunning venue. All in all, a very positive experience, highly recommended if you’re in Playa!

Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya
Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya

Cirque du Soleil - Playa del Carmen - Joya

Weekend in Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

With a long weekend ahead of us in the end of September, I decided to sell my tickets for a concert I was planning to go to and instead accompany Nuria to pick up her car from a workshop in Tulum in Mexico. All completely unplanned, we jumped on the first best chickenbus on Saturday morning and made our way north though the green landscapes and swirly northern highway of Belize. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love going by bus. (Look at this collection of tripping from 2012) I was listening to music and disconnecting completely, and even if it eventually took us almost 11h (twice the time it takes by car) to arrive in Tulum, it was all pleasure.

In Tulum, we were picked up by my friend Alfonso who runs the creative and environmentally responsible space Residencia Gorila, a sort of artsy collective where creative minds from all over the world gather to spend some time, get inspired, and create. A very nice place to disconnect, and very much in line with what Tulum is all about.

We spent the night at Gorila and the days at the beach, and some time at Alfonso’s home and office in Aldea Zama. We went for dinner at the always amazing Casa Banana, breakfast at La Zebra according to tradition, and had pizza and tequila with new acquaintances, we also had random talks about art and went dancing a bit. The town was very quiet because of the low season, but it was still a million times better than spending a long weekend in Belize City.

We spent the entire last day at the car workshop, waiting for the car to get ready – which they had promised over and over it would be. I had my book and music so overall it was actually a nice relaxing time even if a bit frustrating and worrying. I finished the book – Jessica Alexander’s “Chasing Chaos” is an entertaining and very personal account of the life, doubts and insights of a humanitarian aid worker – recommended!

By 9pm the mechanics realized that the car wouldn’t get ready on time for us to drive back, which was a bit of a nightmare since the only option we had left to get back to Belize City on time for work was the ADO night bus. And this bus is nothing short of horrible – it’s ridiculously cold and blasts the AC so hard you can’t hide from it, it stops and throws you off for bureaucratic bullshit every time you’re about to fall asleep, and you arrive in the morning at 6.30am feeling completely destroyed, kind of like as if you haven’t slept for a week and as if 5 elephants stomped all over your body. I guess it works if you’re doing backpacking for months and have time to spare – although then I would definitely even more strongly opt for the chicken buses – but getting to work directly after is really not to be recommended.

I had coffee when I got to the office that morning and made it through the day even though I wished I could have spent all day in bed. I will try really hard to avoid ever going by this bus again, but overall it was worth it. And thanks for your utter kindness, Alfonso! You know you always have a home wherever I’m at.

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria

Tulum with Nuria