Intrepid traveller Ali Hussain Mushaima is well-known for his unique Friendship Arabia tours - journeying by road from Bahrain to various corners of the world. The message has remained the same right from the time he launched his first trip, a 3-month drive to Europe, many years ago: spread the word about Bahrain, its people and all it has to offer. Ali's newest tour, a two month journey from June 23, 2010, is titled: "Tylos to Thassos, Voyage of Discovery".

A homecoming of sorts
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Saturday, 31 May 2008 19:26

A mosque only 200 metres from a church in Damascus



It is so nice to be back in Syria... it feels like home. Visit this country once and you will always come back. 

In Syria, history is everywhere, people are very welcoming and it's certain you will make new friends.

I have been familiar with Syria for a very long time. As a child, I used to accompany my late parents and we visited the country every summer. If you enjoy history, museums, music, shopping or just want to learn something new, Syria is the place.

Today, we visited the old suq as well as Azem Palace. We met our friend Ahmad Sadat, a tour guide who also runs the Rosa Damascina Motel. Ahmad had looked after us during the 2004 Friendship Tour.

We visited his motel and had tea with him. David also did a live interview with him for Radio Bahrain during which he spoke about the history of his country.

After a very good lunch in the Italian restaurant at the Semiramis Hotel, we headed to Bloudan and Zabadani and enjoyed the beautiful weather in the mountains.

After dinner, we will head to the airport to welcome Petra Beuchert, who also did the 2004 Friendship Tour. Petra will join the team for a week before she returns to Scotland.


Goodbye Maria, hello Syria
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Friday, 30 May 2008 19:45

The team enjoys some fresh tea with mint leaves by the Roman amphitheatre in downtown Amman


After a wonderful six days touring Jordan, the Friendship Arabia team is now in Damascus, Syria.

Earlier today, we packed our bags in Amman and got ready for the two-hour drive across the border. En route, we stopped by the Roman amphitheatre in downtown Amman and it was a spectacular sight. 

Our last full day together...
Written by Maria Ramos   
Thursday, 29 May 2008 19:53


Floating on the waters of the Dead Sea!


It's our last full day together. This sad thought made me wake up at 6.30am. But it was spectacular to see the sunshine gently bathing the mountains of Wadi Rum. 

My early start began with lots of laughter as Haider was already up, taking pictures of our Bedouin camp and some of the tourists who had come to stay at the Captain's Camp the night before. Best of all, our guide Awad was already here to say goodbye. Awad, Haider and I started clapping and playing the 'Dembuka' but soon stopped because we realized people were still sleeping. 

The magic of Wadi Rum
Written by Maria Ramos   
Wednesday, 28 May 2008 15:17

Awad plays entertainer during a break in the drive


Wadi Rum is the most beautiful place I've ever seen! 

Nothing else matters when you're here, it's just you, God and the magic of his hand. I really don't have words to describe this desert paradise, I'll let Ammar's pictures do the talking... 

A treat for the senses
Written by Maria Ramos   
Tuesday, 27 May 2008 06:17

Petra, you are truly a 'Wonder of the World'! You're still a treat for all the senses, even if it’s my second visit to you.  

It was John William Burgon’s poem entitled ‘Petra’ written in 1845, which gave Petra the name ‘rose-red city’:

‘Match me such a marvel save in Eastern clime,

A rose-red city half as old as Time’.

Our guide Marwan took us around the Rose-Red city, 85% of which is still underground! Apparently, Petra lies on the African Rift fault line and has been rocked by many earthquakes. It's the iron in the sedimentary rocks that gives Petra its rose-red colour. It is laced with a myriad of colours which, funnily enough, reminds me of the pyramids of local spices in Manama suq! 

Making history in Petra
Written by David Bloomer   
Tuesday, 27 May 2008 01:00

David Bloomer phones in his report to Radio Bahrain


I got up yesterday at my usual time of 6am, it was  another beautiful day in Petra. There was time to spare before the group was due to meet for breakfast so I decided to go for a run. 

The town of Wadi Musa is built on the side of a mountain and our hotel is located at 1,350m so at the gate I had to make my mind up quickly - do I start off running downhill or up? A quick mental toss saw me turning right out the of the gate and heading up a very steep hill. 

Petra continues to captivate
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Monday, 26 May 2008 21:04

Camel drinking water


On our second full day in Jordan, we took in some more sights in Petra. The weather, once again, was clear and perfect for photography.

Among the sights we took in were Siq, the dark, narrow natural gorge which is truly awe-inspiring (you can view some of the pictures in the Gallery), as well as Al Khazneh, where Bedouin music is played in a very surreal atmosphere. 

If you visit Petra, make sure to bring a digital camera with extra memory sticks - you will need them!

Great day for photographs
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Sunday, 25 May 2008 19:31

The luxury desert camp in Petra - see Maria's blog entry for details

We had a great day today, the weather was beautiful and we got to see some of Petra's historic sites after we finished watching the Monaco Grand Prix. You can view some of the images I captured in the Jordan section of the gallery.

Picture perfect Little Petra
Written by Maria Ramos   
Sunday, 25 May 2008 19:15

Maria riding the camel


We left Amman around 10am and took the fast but less scenic route to Petra, the King's Highway. We arrived just in time to watch the Monaco Grand Prix. 

I couldn't believe we were watching the race with the beauty of Petra in the background. After many calls, I managed to track down Marwan, the fantastic guide I had used in Petra last time I was here. 

Since it was too late to enter the main part of Petra we headed to the lesser-known 'Little Petra' and on the way we had lots of beautiful experiences.

Taking a F1 break
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Sunday, 25 May 2008 09:00
Watching the Monaco F1 race in Jordan

After entering Jordan yesterday, we spent a night in Amman before driving to Petra in the morning.

TV presenter Maria Ramos and radio personality David Bloomer joined us in Amman, and David has already done his first tour reports for Radio Bahrain.

We are currently watching the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix on TV. Later today and tomorrow, we will be touring Petra.

More later!

Wonderful start to tour
Written by Maria Ramos   
Saturday, 24 May 2008 18:58

The crew after Maria and David's arrival


As soon as we took off, the  Bahraini couple next to me on the airplane who I'd never met before offered me a packet of crisps! I was so touched and felt that it's this humanity that I love so much about Bahrain. And what a great start to a journey entitled Friendship Arabia!  

The temperature in Amman was a wonderful 25 degrees. Once David and I had settled in to our hotel, we headed off to central Amman for a coffee. It so happened that the area we went to - Abdoun Circle - was where all the action was. There were crowds of people waving Jordanian flags and standing on the streets. The man of the moment was about to arrive - Nasser Qowaider, Jordan's pop idol winner! The crowds went crazy and David managed to catch a Qowaider fan and do a radio report.  

After all that action we watched as the country put up the lights for the following day's Independence Day celebrations and headed back to the hotel to meet the rest of the team who had just arrived from Saudi Arabia after a long and dusty drive.


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