Category Archives: UAE

Holiday Recipes from the Middle East: Baba Ganuj

Happy Holidays from Caravan-Serai Tours and Willamette Intl Travel!

Each holiday season our friends over at Caravan-Serai offer an assortment of our favorite recipes from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucasus. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for updates!

Today’s recipe: Baba Ganuj or Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ganuj

 

2lbs (1kg) eggplants

1 large tomato

1 green pepper

1 medium onion

2 garlic cloves

1 Tbs salt

1 Tbs mint

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs pomegranate molasses

 

  • Roast the eggplant s on a baking dish in medium oven approximately one hour, or until the skin darkens and begins to split, remove from oven to cool
  • When eggplants are cool enough handle, break open and scoop out the insides
  • Mash the pulp with a fork until a smooth puree
  • Add olive oil and lemon juice and set aside
  • Finely chop tomato, pepper and onion, add them to eggplant puree and stir
  • Crush garlic in a pestle with salt and stir into juice and olive oil
  • Add liquid to vegetable mixture and mix well
  • Stir in the mint
  • Serve in a shallow bowl with garnish of tomatoes or parsley sprigs and pita bread

A variation on this recipe is to cook the eggplant on a BBQ, it will enhance the smokey flavor! Enjoy!

Call Willamette Intl Travel at 503-224-0180 to discuss options for travel in and around the Middle East.

To read what a Sample 5 Day Emirates Desert Adventure with Caravan-Serai would look like, click here.

Caravan Serai is a Seattle-based company that specializes in small-group escorted tours to destinations in the Middle East and North Africa such as Jordan, Turkey and Morocco. Expert guides escort guests through fun-filled and tasty itineraries, valuing comfort and safety all the while trekking across ancient paths and historical ruins.

To read more about Caravan-Serai, click here.

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Filed under Africa, Egypt, Middle East, Morocco, Travel by Taste, Turkey, UAE, VOTM

On the Ground in Dubai!

Last January 2013, WIT Agent Pam Davis took the nonstop flight from Seattle on Emirates Airlines to the luxury city of Dubai. With the airline expanding new ports all over the world, it’s not uncommon that your trip to Russia or Africa is going to have a forced overnight in Dubai! Why not attach an extension on your trip to explore the Arab World? Check out the details in our On the Ground with Pam.

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Dubai is a fascinating destination. The country is part of the United Arab Emirates—there are seven different emirates which have banded together. The largest of these are Abu Dhabi, the capital, and Dubai. Abu Dhabi has more oil resources while the economy of Dubai is based more on business and tourism.

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Dubai is a country of superlatives. They have the largest shopping mall in the world (complete with an indoor ski slope!), and the Burj Khalifa which is the tallest building in the world (I went to the top in the fastest elevator in the world – it took 30 seconds to climb 125 floors to an observation tower). Everything seems over-the-top. Hotels are opulent, and Dubai 962construction seems to be going on everywhere. I stayed at the Atlantis Hotel, located at the top end of Palm Island,a man-made series of sand islands that jut out into the gulf and from the air look like a palm tree. Even the public transportation is luxurious—the metro line has first and second class cars; the first class cars have leather seats, and each train has a separate car designated for women and children only. There are special pink taxis with women drivers, also designated for women and children.

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The population of the emirate is now 75% expatriate—local citizens represent only 25% of the population. Most of the people are workers who come from India and the Philippines, with some Europeans and Americans who work for foreign companies. The locals have some extraordinary benefits— free housing (and it looks very nice), free education (even at foreign schools), and no income tax. No wonder they love Sheik Mohammed, the hereditary ruler. While the resort hotels accept Western-style dress, much of the country is still somewhat conservative. Men wear traditional white robes, and women wear black burkas which are basically robes covering street clothing when out in public. Inside the shopping malls are uniformed women who patrol the corridors, passing out dress code requests for women whose skirts or sleeves are deemed too short.

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Dubai is on the edge of the desert, and while there I was able to go 4-wheeling in the desert dunes, a Dubai 935popular pastime for tourists and a good contrast to the city and beaches. The service on Emirates Airlines was excellent, and they have an extensive route system connecting their Seattle gateway with the Middle East, Asia and Africa. They also have some good stopover packages—with a 3 or 4 night stay en route to another destination, you can experience much of what Dubai has to offer.

WIT Agent Pam would love to share with you more of her firsthand tips from Dubai! Call her at 503-224-0180 for more information on Dubai or Emirates. 

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Dubai 907 Dubai 911            Dubai 963

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Filed under Airlines, Emirates, Middle East, UAE

Dubai

This weekend our agent Pam is in Dubai, escorted and hosted by the world-renown airline Emirates. She’s coming back next week, and we can’t wait for her report! Today we’re taking a closer look at the popular city-state.

photo by Shenli Leong, Creative Commons

Dubai has boomed as a major destination in the past 10 years, and these days draws tourists and business travelers from all across the globe. There’s a plethora of sights, enchanting landscapes and luxury attractions for every type of traveler to enjoy. Here are some top sights:

–         Experience the old Bastakiya Quarter and cultural centers: the Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, and the Jumeirah Mosque

–         Head over to the Abra Dock and ride in a wooden boat taxi for a memorable cruise

–         Wander the souqs, marketplaces of spices, textiles, perfumes and jewelry

photo by Emmanuel Eragne, Creative Commons

–         View the Dubai Fountain, in Burj Khalifa Lake. The fountain, designed by the creators of the Fountains of the Bellagio, shoots water up to 500 feet!

–         Visit the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,722 feet.

–         Fancy a break from the desert? Head over to the Dubai Mall of the Emirates, to Ski Dubai, the world’s third largest indoor ski slope. Complete with trainers, a chair life and t-bar, ski down 6,000 tons of snow to your heart’s delight.

–         Head out of the city and enjoy sandy beaches, striking deserts, water slides, golf, and a hot air balloon ride. Who knows—you may be able to catch a camel race in the winter.

–        Ride on the sand with professional guides and go dune-bashing

photo by Robert Young, Creative Commons

Interested in a vacation to Dubai? Whether you’re a luxury or adventurous traveler, we can help you plan your ideal vacation. Just passing through? Emirates connects the world with top destinations in Africa and Asia. Willamette Intl Travel regularly books tourists heading to safaris in Kenya or conferences in Hyderabad.

Emirates flies a nonstop from Seattle and other major U.S. hubs to Dubai. Call Willamette Intl Travel for the best times/dates to fly! Call 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Filed under Airlines, Emirates, Middle East, UAE

WIT Agent off to Dubai, UAE

emirates

Our agent Pam is heading out tomorrow to Dubai on our vendor Emirates. She will depart on January 31 from Seattle on the nonstop to Dubai, and return on Feb 4.

Her outbound and return flights will be on the Boeing 777-200LR, and will be approximately 14 hours and 30 minutes. There are private suites in first class, and lie-flat seats in business class. All seats feature ice, the award-winning inflight entertainment system, offering up to 1,200 channels. We regularly book our clients in first and business class, and recommend these highly.

Emirates is currently the fastest-growing Middle Eastern airline. They stirred up some excitement for travelers when they announced a direct flight between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Dubai on March 1, 2011. Emirates flies to more than 100 destinations from Dubai, including Islamabad, Delhi, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Nairobi, Seychelles, Johannesburg and Dakar.

Pam will do three nights in Dubai with her Emirates hosts, seeing beautiful Dubai, the world’s tallest building, and learning the ins and outs of the airline and the city. She’ll travel with a local guide and discover this urban jewel of the Arabian desert, and it’s world-class service and attractions.

This is a terrific opportunity to see the inside workings of an airline—so stay tuned for her report!

Willamette Intl Travel can connect you with contract fares on Emirates to hot destinations in Africa, Arabia and Asia! We work side by side with our Emirates representatives to ensure you have an exceptional travel experience. Traveling first or business class? Emirates offers some incredible high-end classes at low-end rates! Call us today at 503.224.0180 or email info@witravel.com.

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Filed under Airlines, Emirates, Middle East, UAE, Vendors, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?