Heading to London

Posted by Mark

I’m leaving to London early Friday morning for a week. It’s going to be a chilled out vacation and so far I’ve got the following things planned, all of which I haven’t done before:

- Cadbury World
- Stonehenge
- The Newman Arms
- G Kelly Pie
- The Last Tuesday Society
- The Hideout aka Trisha’s
- Cabman’s Shelter
- Bicester Village

Still trying to find an interesting castle to visit. Oh and I need to walk through Hyde Park. For some reason I haven’t done that yet. I’ll be staying at Easy Hotel in Paddington again since I had a good experience the last time. I’m going for a slightly larger room this time around so looking forward to that. If anyone has any recommendations on where to go just leave a comment below. I’ll of course be going to the regular places like Harrods, Oxford Street, Portobello Road, Borough Market etc…


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Dubai Airport – Terminal 3

Posted by Mark

I had to go to Dubai for a day and got to experience Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3 for the very first time and I’m impressed. The terminal is huge, but not in the regular sense more like palace kinda huge. Lot’s of high ceilings and very large empty spaces. When I arrived to the airport it was empty with barely any passengers which I thought was cool. Can’t wait until our new airport gets completed. Below is a video I shot of their check in area (the left half, there is another similar area on the opposite side) showing how big and empty it was.


[YouTube]

Picture taken by Patrick


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Bahrain

Posted by Mark

I had a quick trip to Bahrain today and while there I spotted a lot of check points with concrete barriers and heavily armed police. I really hope everything gets better in Bahrain, it’s a beautiful country with great people and I hate seeing it like this.


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Snowmobile Fun

Posted by Mark

I finally got around to putting together this video I shot last week when I was in Lebanon. I rented a snowmobile up in Mzaar (Faraya) near the ski slopes from a company called Highland Club. It costs $100 for an hour but they have better deals on longer journeys. For example they can take you from Faraya to the Cedars and back for around $400. That’s a 3 hour trip each way and comes to around $65 an hour.

If you’re ever in Lebanon and are interested in taking out a snowmobile you can call them on +9613860867 for reservation and directions or just go up to Mzaar near the slopes and ask for snowmobile rental places. [Vimeo]


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Snowmobile Day

Posted by Mark

The weather was great this morning so I headed out with Nat and some friends up to the mountains for a bit of snowmobile fun. I shot some video with my Contour+ which I’ll be editing and hopefully uploading tonight along with information on where and how you can also rent a snowmobile on your next trip to Lebanon. If you’ve never done it before you should, it’s kinda like jet skiing except way more fun.

Update: I couldn’t get the editing done tonight so it’s going to have to wait till I get back to Kuwait tomorrow night.


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My Travel Photos

Posted by Mark

The only camera I have with me right now on my vacation is the iPhone 4S and so far it’s been pretty great. One advantage the iPhone (or any phone cam) has over a regular camera is the fact you can share the photos instantly, kinda like Polaroid’s. I’ve been posting a lot of photos on Instagram and I just found a way to share them with none Instragam users using a site called Extragram. So if you want to check out the photos I’ve been taking on my trip just click [Here]


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Let it snow LET IT SNOW!

Posted by Mark

I was hoping to spend this week in Lebanon snowboarding or renting a snowmobile and going cross country over the slopes. I even packed my Contour+ video camera since I wanted to capture some video to share on the blog and I also packed lot’s of thick jackets. But, this whole week I’ve been here in Lebanon the weather has been pretty warm. I’m literally wearing a t-shirt during the daytime and a very very light jacket at night. There is no snowboarding, no snow and it’s not even cold. WTH?


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My MEA Flight is Delayed

Posted by Mark

I’m stuck at the Beirut Airport since my flight back to Kuwait got delayed 2 hours because of a strike. All Middle East Airlines pilots are on strike because the airline fired a 30+ year veteran pilot for getting cancer. I completely stand by the pilots decision to strike even though I’m now stuck here for an extra 2 hours. I guess I should be glad they didn’t walk out and force all the flights to get canceled.

Update: Here is a response from a MEA pilot

First of all i offer our apologies for this delay, and thank you for your support. Believe me when i say it was the only way to get our management to listen. The Lebanese pilots association is not demanding that the captain returns to fly, but they are only asking that this captain get his rights as described by the Lebanese law; receive 2 months full salary and 2 months half salary on sick leave where after that the Lebanese DCA shall decide if he is fit to fly and fully recovered or not. MEA gave him half of what the law says and fired him after 38 years of work during his sick leave in the middle of his treatment (against the Lebanese labor law). Again my sincere apologies and thank you for this support.


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Turkish Airlines Lounge

Posted by Mark

The last thing left to talk about my trip to New York is the Turkish Airlines Lounge. On the way to New York I spent an hour in the lounge which wasn’t much time to experience it but on the way back I had five hours to kill so I then managed to properly check everything out.

The Turkish airport itself is pretty nice. There is a good amount of restaurants and cafes with a bunch of known stores like Hermes and Burberry and then the usual bookshops, electronic stores and souvenir shops. It’s not as big as the the Bangkok airport which I always compare to a mall, but still a lot better than most if not all the airports in our region (I haven’t been to the new Emirates terminal in Dubai). The lounge is pretty sweet, you enter by scanning your boarding pass and once you’re in you’re inside a different world. There’s a lot of seating all around the lounge with different moods and seating styles in each section. You’ve also got a lot of food stations scattered all about, some serving dessert, others freshly baked items a couple of hot food stations as well as four salad/snacks/fruit bars located in the different sections. I spent most of the time in a space at the back of the lounge sitting underneath a tree with a grand piano playing by itself in the background. It was very peaceful and cozy away from all the airport hustle and bustle.

Other than the different seating areas they also have a pool table, a kids games room, a mini movie theater, showers, sleeping rooms and a business center filled with iMacs. They also had a masseur who walks around offering complimentary massage as well as the usual free WiFi.

Overall I thought the lounge was pretty well done. You could even leave the airport from within the lounge bypassing the busy immigration counters in the airport. I don’t remember where but I read that they also offer guided tours of the city if you have a long stay over which is what I should have done since five hours is just too long to spend in a lounge no matter how nice it is.


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The Flight Back

Posted by Mark

My flight from New York to Turkey went by pretty quick since I slept all the way but I did experience a few new things I hadn’t experienced on the way there which I felt was necessary to post about. The first is that Live TV was working on this flight. This was my first experience with Live TV on a plane and it was pretty interesting. They had 4 channels to choose from, BBC English and BBC Arabic, Barclays Premier League Football and Euronews. I was watching BBC for example when I found out Gaddafi’s son got arrested so I was in the loop on current events even though I was stuck on a plane for over 10 hours. I did wish they had more channels but really the only channels that would make sense live would be news and sports channels since everything else really isn’t live anyway.

For our second meal on the flight they served breakfast. I had an omelet which even though was good, I was kinda disappointed that I couldn’t have it my way specially since we had a chef on board. I’ve flown business class on another airline with a chef and they allowed me to dictate exactly what I wanted in my omelet. It’s a minor quibble but one worth mentioning.

One major thing I liked about Turkish Airlines is the fact that business class was just 4 rows. On a large plane like the 777, 4 row of business class makes you feel like you’re sitting in first. We also had 2 or 3 flight attendants in our class and a chef taking care of us; that’s a really good ratio. Finally the legroom is just ridiculous. There has to be over a meter in space which gives you a lot of room to stretch your legs but also makes the whole class feel very spacious. The seats are also really wide so once you turn it into a bed you’ve got decent rolling space.

Overall I had a really positive experience on the flight to and back from New York. I’ve got one more post left which is the Turkish Airlines Lounge which I’ll try to have up tomorrow. For now if you have any questions regarding the flight just post it below.


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