Killing Time in Semarang

The city of Semarang, the capital of Indonesia’s Central Java province, is the place where I was born. However, since the age of 1.5 years old I have been moving around the country with my parents following my father’s assignments from the government institution he […]

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Beirut Art through the Millennia

It is easy to associate Beirut with the scars of the civil war, and it is understandable if one is completely oblivious to Lebanon’s thriving art scene for the country has been portrayed in the media as one of many dangerous corners of the Middle […]

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Beirut’s Scars and Hope

“Where are you going?” “Lebanon.” “What? Why? What are there to see? Where will you stay?” “I want to see Beirut and …” “Oh, Beirut!” It appeared that to one of my friends, the Lebanese capital has a much more positive reputation than the country […]

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Lebanon: Charming at Every Turn

Mention the Middle East, and many of us would immediately think of endless desert, oil-rich kingdoms, conservative societies, and probably never-ending conflicts. As the second smallest country in this region (only Bahrain is smaller in land area), Lebanon appears to be the odd one out. […]

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Eastern Asian Religions under One Roof

In the 21st century, we often see antiquity as a period of time when great artworks were produced despite limitations in technology. From Greek statues in fine marble and the colossal architecture of ancient Egypt, to classical masterpieces displayed in the Vatican and ornately-decorated manuscripts […]

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Tang Shipwreck: Digging into Controversy

In the ninth century CE, an Arabian dhow sailed from the Middle East to China, possibly bringing precious cargo from Africa, Arabia, Persia, and other places along its journey to the Far East through the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Malacca, and all the way […]

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Island Life in Cheung Chau

Hong Kong is a calm, slow, idyllic, low-rise, and bicycle-friendly place with lots of greenery and nice white-sand beaches. Sounds hard to believe? That’s because I’m not talking about the Hong Kong most people know: a dense metropolis and shopping destination whose skyline is filled […]

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The Mills: Revitalization with Sensibility

Companies build factories to mass-produce goods. They utilize them until they reach their maximum capacity, and then they build newer and bigger facilities to keep up with increasing demand. Or they cut down on the production capacity if they can’t stay ahead of their competitors. […]

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Hong Kong at a Slower Pace

Hong Kong is a fast-paced city – no doubt about it. Those who have been there must have come across and seen firsthand how fast the people walk, how efficient and punctual the MTR trains are, and how quick the service at restaurants is, to name […]

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The Ascent to Tiger’s Nest

Long before I finally set foot in Bhutan, I had dreamed of visiting a monastery in this Himalayan kingdom so marvelous it has become an iconic landmark of the tiny country. Its cliff-side location provides a spectacular setting and its name evokes curiosity: Tiger’s Nest. […]

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Paro: Bhutan’s Sleepy Gateway

Our last morning in Punakha started quite uneventfully; James and I had switched back to our pants and shirts and Kinga and Phuntsho to their gho. As usual, we left the hotel at 8.30 but this time instead of moving eastward as we’d been doing […]

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