Giraffe Women

Thousands of years ago, when attacks on tribes in many parts of the world was common, women in the Kayani tribes of Burma (now Myanmar) began to melt down their valuables & coil them around their necks, arms, and ankles in order to keep their treasure safe.


In the event of an attack, they would be able to escape with all their valuables in tow.

Ingenious, huh?


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You know how when a kid’s nose gets congested…


…a parent will use her own mouth to suck out the snot?


[I don’t have kids, so excuse me while I projectile vomit]

Animal mothers lick snot too, right after giving birth, in order to make sure mucus isn’t clogging their newborn’s nostrils.

But they also perform a similar vomit-inducing act – to the other end.


I know.

Two words that should remain as far away from each other as possible.

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Stray Dogma

iran-stray-dogsPicture it.

Nearly a hundred thousand stray animals – from dogs to donkeys – roaming an entire country.

One animal shelter.

For the whole country.

Just one.

Can you imagine it?

Fatemeh Motamedi didn’t have to. She saw it. Lived with it every day. And until she founded the country’s first and only animal shelter 9 years ago, stray animals there had no hope.








In my opinion, it’s not wholly a financial issue. Iran is not a poor country. Their tiny wealthy/huge middle-to-low income ratio mirrors our own here in the U.S.

Neither do I think Iranians are heartless. They’re not. In fact, I found them overwhelmingly open-hearted and very conscientious.

So, when I posed the stray animal question during my trips there – to dozens of people from students to mullahs & government officials, from Tehran to the Caspian – I was not surprised by the varied answers I received.

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The Dubai Life

dr-lamees-hamdanAhlan wa sahlan!” (Welcome!)

This is how Dr. Lamees Hamdan – wife, mother of four, and business entrepreneur – welcomes Oprah Winfrey into her 5-bedroom home in Dubai.

And what a beautiful home it is!

High ceilings…warm cherry wood accents…exquisite Persian rugs…gleaming Syrian antiques…unlike compact Danish homes, Hamdan’s residence is reminiscent of a spacious, Homes & Estates Magazine luxury portfolio showcase.

She’s married to a prominent businessman and is, herself, a successful businesswoman and collector of valuable Middle Eastern works of art. She, like most working women of Dubai, also has “house help” – which includes drivers, and housemaids.

Dr. Hamdan explains to Oprah that most working women in Dubai do not cook. Unlike the large majority of American working women, the working women of Dubai don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner. There is a “central kitchen” in each family where a chef cooks enormous meal portions, to be distributed to the various extended families.

Holy kitchen sweat!

Wonder if I could get the best chef in my family to hop on board this ‘central kitchen’ plan? Continue reading

Standing Babas

standing-babaYou stand.


Every minute of every day.

You do not sit, lay, or even squat.


And you do this by choice.


In one of the most fascinating countries in the world, India, there is a form of Hindu Tapa   which promises spiritual enlightenment by way of self-inflicted pain.

What kind of pain?


For 12 years.

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Smoking Babies

Would you give a light to a baby?

For his cigarette?

pregnant-woman-smokingNoooooo, not like that…


Like this.


More on these smoking babies of Indonesia.


What do you think about these smoking toddlers?


Foreign Eyes Friday

Animal Love


You love animals.

They are just so amazing.

Especially furry cuties.

Their little brown eyes melt you. Their fur is so soft, and soothing to run your fingers through. Their wriggly l’il bodies vibrate with excitement whenever they’re near you – they so love scurrying around your legs, rubbing up against you. Oh! And the way their precious little noses twitch makes their sweet whiskers tickle your hand.


Now, some people are animal kissers. Some, not so much. But you… you are a bonified animal smoocher. You can’t help leaning down and planting one on those shiny l’il noses, can you? I know. Me, too.

But not this time.

Not these animals.

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The War on Muslim Hijabs


After watching this Arab Makeup and Veil Style video, I ran to my mirror to play with scarfs and jewelry.

I was seeing the hijab through new foreign eyes.

I’ve had to wear the hijab in some countries during my travels, but never any as creative and decoratively gorgeous as the ones in this video.

The hijabs I’ve worn were mostly muted colors without adornment. Though I always sought out the most beautifully-patterned ones, I was usually advised not to wear bright colors or any decoration on them. So, after learning how to keep them from falling off all the time, I pretty much forgot I was wearing them by the end of my first week in the country.

Now, posing and preening in front of the mirror – a thick chain necklace draped over my scarf in a not-quite-successful attempt to imitate the veil fashions in the video – I wondered about Western reaction to the veil.

Apparently, we hate them.


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Are You The Perfect Girlfriend?

My foreign eyes were enchanted

by this

Times of India article on how to Be the Perfect Girlfriend.


Hard to Get” took me completely by surprise,

since the title had my mind going in the exact opposite direction!


Do you / Does your girlfriendmeet India’s criteriafor being the perfect girlfriend?

Does their criteria match our own?


Foreign Eyes Friday

The American Smile


When we smile at someone, we expect them to smile back.

No matter what country we’re in.

Smiling is the universal symbol for friendliness. Right?


As it turns out, smiling is quite cultural.

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