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Watching Sunrises

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East, N. America, W. Europe

A sunrise and sunset have one thing in common, nobody watches them anymore. We are too busy. Can you remember ┬áthe last time you watched the sun crank itself into the sky and bring light to the world, or slip behind the horizon in a prism of color? I have seen sunrises and sunsets all over the world, and each one is different. Israel In Nazareth I hiked Mt Sinai, crossing a highway now cleaving the mountain in two. We wove a drunken path up the mountain, cutting back and forth in big half circles. The sun rose on the way up, exposing patches of wild green grass and clay earth underfoot. Finally summitting, we …

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Asilah, a City of Shapes, Faults, and Risings

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

If you travel North of Tangier, Morocco and head towards the smell of salt and the squawk of birds you find Asilah standing stout and thick like a dwarf. The legs of the city are thick walls that run beside the beach, foundations buried deep in loose sand. Above the wet block wall, the color of a middle aged man’s hair, white pushes up like Tetris. Rising in squares and rectangles the pieces keep falling until they surpass the gray wall and cut shapes out of the blue sky. These boxes have drooping eyes cut into their sides, elongated half circles that look towards the crashing Atlantic Ocean. Some of the eyes are framed with …

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Trusting in Authenticity

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

If you travel through Jerusalem, beyond the Western Wall and Sepulcher of Christ that empower and give meaning to so many, and keep traveling East you pass through kibbutzes trying to give meaning in a different way. At this point, North of you is Jerico, a city surrounded by an old wall and filled with houses and people the color of sand. Keep moving East and South through the 1949 Armistice Agreement Line, the boundary formed by the formal armistice that ended the Arab-Israeli War and established treaty line for Israeli and Jordanian-Iraqi Forces, and towards the southern tip of the dead sea. Beyond this imaginary line drawn on a map is a place called …

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How to Bargain in Morocco

Written by Hank Martin in Culture, Middle East, Personal Development

Bargaining at a market, with a friend, or anywhere else is an art form and a long-lost skill. We’ve become conditioned to accept what the price tag tells us. But, in many parts of the world bargaining is as common as breathing.

Before there was such a thing as money people bartered for goods. The skills and techniques of bargaining are thousands of years old.

These skills are useful even if you aren’t going to be traveling anywhere. Looking to buy a car? How about something from Craigslist or your local newspaper’s classifieds? Even in the U.S. the art of the haggle is alive and well.

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How to Make Moroccan Mint Tea

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

I raised my glass and took a long swig, savoring the sweet, minty beverage. My 8 oz. drinking glass was filled to the brim with green leaves. The liquid itself was muddy, the color of melted cane sugar. But the taste was dangerous, very dangerous. It tasted like sunshine in a glass, and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling like a gaggle of kittens.

That was my first experience with Moroccan Mint Tea, or Maghrebi Tea, a tea most popular in Spain and Morocco. This delicious beverage is easy to make, and even easier to drink. It is perfect after a long day of work at the job you hate, or as a way to wash away your worries.