Traveling for the Soul: My Version of Eat Pray Love

Food is a connector to life.  Food is used in happy occasions, as well as grieving occasions. It is an identity, often a common link amongst people.  People are proud of their cultural foods.  Even here in USA, we can find that foods vary from region to region, yet we share the same language and pop culture.  So, imagine when one travels outside the US.  Oh the variety—the beauty, the smells, tastes, and textures.

This summer, my son and I had the privilege to travel to the Middle East: Jordan and the Palestinian territories.  A civilization that is thousands of years old, a history filled with cultural achievements, the Arab society continues to thrive on food.  When you enter someone’s home, expect the hospitality to be equivalent to five-star hotel.  This is the treatment we received from family and friends. 

In Jordan, we had visited my husband’s family, his parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.  (Unfortunately, my husband couldn’t take time off work to come with us.)  One of the cities we stopped in Jordan was Aqaba, near the Red Sea.  It is a tourist spot for many domestic and international travelers.  Hubby’s family served us the local dish: Samak Asayadeyah (Fish and rice dish):

This is considered top quality because the fish is from the Red Sea.  Yup.  Imagine fresh fish.  Once you have tasted fresh fish, there is no way going back to frozen fish.  It is just not the same.  Your taste buds have experienced something out of the ordinary. 

Now in Ramallah, West Bank, there are lots of varieties of foods to choose for the taste buds to experience and enjoy.  A favorite dish that I had there was Stuffed Grape Leaves.  It is cooked with a rice mixture rolled in grape leaves with a little lemony taste.  I heart this dish as a child and as an adult.  Stuffed Grape Leaves is my all time favorite dish. 

The Old City of Jerusalem has a special place in my heart.  Not only for the richness of its history, but also for its religious meaning. Not only is it a religious place for Jews and Christians, but also for Muslims.  The Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa Mosque are must visit sites for Muslims, and even tourists who are interested in religious history.  Even to see different people of religious backgrounds walking the streets of Jerusalem is an awesome experience.

Just like Eat Pray Love, I have found Aqaba and Ramallah a place to eat foods that are a truly enriching experience.  I found love in Aqaba and Ramallah when visiting family and friends.  I found a city to pray in Jerusalem where the prophets and messengers walked the old city.

This post is sponsored by EAT PRAY LOVE ON DIRECTOR’S CUT BLU-RAY & DVD will be released on video November 23rd. I was able to preview a copy of the DVD.
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