Jordan Travel Diary: Petra & Wadi Rum


Petra is really old, really famous, and really big. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site today, but in its prime, Petra was the home of the Nabataeans (before I went to Petra, I had no idea who they were). The Nebataens were a group of nomadic people primarily in the Levant who lived contemporaneously with the Assyrians, Ancient Greece, and Babylonians. Petra (known in Nabatean as Raqmu) is a series of monumental architecture carved into rock of which the Nabateans are famous.

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Jordan Outfits Vol. 1


When I first packed for my trip to Jordan, I kept thinking about how important it was for me to dress conservatively. On the other study abroad trips I’ve taken to the Middle East, the trip leaders always try to make it clear that we (especially the girls in the group) need to be as covered up as possible.

After traveling to Morocco two times, I thought I was more prepared to pack my clothes for Jordan. In my last adventure to Morocco, the trip leaders made it seem way way super duper important for us to be covered up all the time. While a lot of women do dress conservatively, there’s this big generalizations that every women dresses the same way. Just like how there’s women who dress modestly in the US and women who don’t, the same spectrum exists in the Morocco, Jordan, and throughout the world. I’ve always wondered if this push for us to dress a certain way to help us fit in another country. It’s understandable to help us as students blend in and to help us respect cultural norms. It rarely happens me fit in tbh I stand out quite a bit (hello afro puff and septum piercing). I have mostly given up on fitting in as a fool’s errand honestly. I tried not to dress conservatively in the sense that I’m wearing long sleeves and floor length skirts because a) that’s not authentic to who I am b) I’m traveling to Europe after Jordan, so that style will be very out of place there.

In hopes of reconciling my desires to stay true to my aesthetic and dress in a way that respects the values of Jordan, I decided to wear basically pants, cardigans, and scoop neck shirts. Of course, I did bring some shorter skirts and tank tops for Europe, but most of the clothing I brought was pretty multipurpose.

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Jordan Travel Diary: Making Maamoul


Happy Eid al-Fitr everyone! For the past few weeks that I’ve been in Dubai and Amman it’s been the tail end of Ramadan (to explain it simply and too general, Ramadan is the holy month of fasting that is a tenet of the Islam). Living in the Middle East, specifically theocratic states has made being in Amman and Dubai interesting. I’ve stayed in Morocco during the beginning and middle of the month of Ramadan, but this is my first time being around for the end of Ramadan. Basically, one of the most interesting things for a non-fasting/Muslim person is that within the Middle East/North Africa, eating, drinking, and smoking in public is forbidden for Muslims. For foreigners/non-Muslims/tourists it’s not forbidden in the same way, but it’s very very strongly frowned upon and to respect the cultural and religious space that I’ve been invited into, so I don’t eat or drink in public spaces. In my homestay, my host family has been very accommodating of non-fasting since they practice fasting more flexibly.

Living in Jordan during Ramadan has been interesting. I’ve spent a lot of times the past couple of weeks searching for places that I can have lunch at after my colloquial Arabic class and before my anthropology class. Most of the places I’ve been frequenting have been pretty smoky café/restaurants that offer food for non-fasters. If you’ve been to Amman and happen to be here also during Ramadan, Rainbow Street has a couple of places that are open like Turtle Green, Books@Café, and Shams al-Balad. If you’ve seen my posts on Instagram (@travelingcurl), I’ve been posting a lot of the yummy things I’ve been eating the past couple of weeks.

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Dubai: A Photo Diary


Dubai is hot. That’s the first observation I made when we got off the plane. The breeze wasn’t comforting like it is in Seattle where the wind helps to stave off overheating from the hot, hot sun. Instead the air was suffocating, hot, and heavy…did I mention it was hot?

After we disembarked we traveled through the Dubai International Airport, which feels a lot like a Vegas casino with its glittering psuedo-marble floor, ornate chandeliers, and indoor water features (and no I’m not joking there was a waterfall in the airport). The airport’s intense air conditioning provided a brief moment of respite before we exited the cold haven and made our way outside. I mostly am accustomed to seeing primarily male taxi drivers, but the Dubai Airport offers a really cool option for women, where you can take taxis driven by other women. If you happen to be at the airport, be on the lookout for their super cute pink hijabs.

Side note, make sure that your cab driver turns on the meter at the front of the cab, so that you don’t get scammed. If you don’t seem like a native Arabic speaker or like you’re from the area, you’ll probably experience a driver not turning on the meter so they can charge you an exorbitant price.

The Dubai Mall & The Burj Khalifa


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Bay Area Eats

Long time no post! I’ve been in California visiting my older sister, I turned 19 last week, and I moved in to my dorm for my sophomore year of college. Instead of a recap of the things I did on vacation, I thought I would show all of the amazing food I ate on my trip to the Bay Area.

Sushiritto – Palo Alto, California (and other locations around the Bay Area)

I heard of the sushiritto a long time ago as this really cool fusion food that was in trendy cities like New York and Los Angeles. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never have a sushiritto just like I never got to try a cronut. A sushiritto is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten. It’s like a sushi roll sized burrito made of incredible, fresh, and Mexican inspired ingredients mixed with traditional Japanese sushi.
At the sushiritto in Palo Alto, I ordered the Salmon Samba, a sushiritto made of “oven-baked agave-soy salmon, tempura asparagus, names cucumber, green leaf lettuce, ginger guac, pepitas, wasabi dust, and teri-mayonesa”. Basically it’s incredible. The medley of flavors are a delight to eat and I wish I could have somehow brought the sushiritto with me to Seattle somehow.

CREAM –  Palo Alto (and various locations in the Bay Area)

My older sister like swears by this place and their ice cream sandwiches. At first I was was curious as to how an ice cream sandwich could be so good that we drove all the way to another city for it, but after trying my first CREAM ice cream sandwich I was sold. At CREAM they have a ton of types of cookies you can use for the base of your ice cream sandwich (even gluten free cookies) and a whole host of decadent ice creams! Since I’m super cool and lactose intolerant, I got a chocolate chip cookie filled with soy mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was the perfect treat after the amazing sushiritto!

Red Sea Restaurant & Bar– Oakland, California

On my first full day in Oakland, my sister took me to get Ethiopian food because she knows it’s one of my favorite cuisines. Red Sea looks kind of like a hole in the wall food spot, but the food is just as good as any other Ethiopian restaurant I’ve been to. I ordered a vegetarian variety plate and all of the sides were flavorful and filling. I really like the lentil side the best because they were the aromatic and rich on the plate…but everything else was really tasty too!

Brown Sugar Kitchen – Oakland, California

I’m not a huge fan of breakfast meals beyond my usual rice crackers and avocado, but Brown Sugar Kitchen left me craving a good hearty breakfast for days after I left. The restaurant has the feel of diner, but with a lot more soul. They serve a ton of different breakfast items inspired by traditional soul food. I ate the cheddar grits with poached eggs and a biscuit when I went to Brown Sugar Kitchen and omg those grits were good. They were probably the smoothest, creamiest grits I’ve ever eaten in my life. Their hours aren’t longest, but the good food was worth it.

Johnny Garlic’s – Dublin, California (and other Californian cities)

Somewhere along the way Guy Fieri has become a total meme on the internet, so when I went to his restaurant I was hoping to bask in the greatness and meme-y goodness of Mr. Fieri. His restaurant seems a lot like a place where you would listen to karaoke. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. My favorite thing about this restaurant is that there’s a legit huge wall photo of Guy Fieri and his chef’s jacket.
The food at Johnny Garlic’s was really good and cheap, plus they serve the most delicious onion bread with a balsamic/olive oil mixture.
I really wish I could somehow import all this food back to Washington somehow and I may have to make a trip back to California for some more food 🙂
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