Stumbling across a Persian mosque

After exploring around the neighborhood near where my airbnb apartment was, I saw this beautiful building from a far. I started walking towards it and I found out it was an Iranian hospital. Little did I knew, I stumbled around a Persian neighborhood.

outside of the Persian mosque photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

For those who don’t know, Persian and Iranian are similar. Iran was once a part of the Persian empire. That is something, I did not know at the time of me stumbling across this beautiful piece of art. Found out later while doing research. Walked towards this interestingly patterned building. From outside looking in, I figured out it was a mosque. I could tell by the shoe cubby and chants of the Qur’an.

Inside of the mosque’s entrance photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Saw someone come out of the mosque. Asked if it was okay for me to enter. I got the clearance to explore. Once inside the gates to the entrance, I was in awe towards the attention to detail. The colors made the building look so majestic. The patterns and the designs are so beautiful. Couldn’t wait to see how the inside looks like. Put my shoes in the cubby and I was off.

Inside of the mosque seeing the men praying photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

The inside of the mosque was truly foreign and new to me. The colors matched the outside with a touch more of green. To make sure it was okay, I asked one of the mosque’s operators if I could take photos. He gave me permission of course.

I got to see some of the followers pray. Similar to how it was during my time in Cairo, the mosque was sectioned by gender. I was not allowed to go on the women’s side. Still, I enjoyed the part I was given access to.

Sometimes, it’s hard to picture how close United Arab Emirates is to Iran. It’s literally less than a two hour flight from Dubai. Makes sense why there’s a strong Persian community here. Glad I got to see in person.

Another look of the mosque photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

As I was looking at the Muslims praying, I started to think a little to myself. The differences between this mosque and the mosque in Cairo. They both practice different types of Islam. Egypt is Sunni majority and Iran is Shia majority. They are similar and very different at the same time. Similar to Catholics and Protestants, the houses of worship look very different. It’s almost the same here. Expect, Sunni is the majority branch of Islam at about 87% to 90% of the Muslim population. While, Shia Islam is about 13% to 10%. Here is the link for those who want to more read about this.

Also, I remember something funny at this time. I was wearing the cross my family gave to me for my travels. This whole time I was exploring this mosque, you can clearly tell I was a christian or came from a Christian family. Yet, not one person gave me a second look nor hostility. To think how, I was once so scared about going to a Muslim majority country. I can only laugh at myself now. I grew so much as a person throughout my travels. With every new country, I was becoming a person. Someone with more understanding to others who are different than me. Truly believe, we can stop more wars from happening, if we just understood each other better. We all have similarities despite our differences. Hopefully, we get to see that in our lifetime.

After about an hour of looking around, I saw pretty much all of the mosque. That was my sign to walk back into the heat. Thought about staying until the sun went down. However, I didn’t want to take advantage of the friendly welcome I was given.

Safe travels everyone and much love!

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On top of the world: reaching the top of the Burj Khalifa

My whole childhood I wanted to do this. Today, I would be going to the top of the world’s tallest building. I was filled with so much excitement. My palms were sweaty and my body kept shaking. Had to conquer a big fear today.

A hologram of the Burj Khalifa photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Went to the entrance of The Burj khalifa at the Dubai Mall. There’s been a lot hype about this building. All my friends back home told me that I had to see the view from the top. You get to see the sun set twice. Too bad I forgot, I was scared of heights.

A view of Dubai from the top photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

On the elevator up, they give you a history about Dubai and the making of this mountainous building. My ears popped several time. Didn’t even want to think how high we were. Just kept thinking about my ears. The pressure was strong. Eventually, my ears drums stopped hurting. Now I was hoping, I don’t end up with a nosebleed.

Me taking a selfie photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

We got out of the elevator and into a viewer deck. The whole time, my hands were numb and my gut kept giving me that butterfly feeling. Taking that selfie was like walking on hot coals. For some reason, my mind kept picturing me falling off the edge. Even with all this protective glass, that fear of falling consumed me.

A better view of Dubai from the top photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Fighting through my fears, I went closer to the edge. I wanted take a photo for you all to see. It was gut-numbing work. My fear of heights was difficult to overcome. Defeating it made this moment that much memorable. This was my childhood dream. Funny how I found out that Dubai is in the middle of constructing an even taller building.

At the “five star” pizza hut photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

After my trip to the top was done, had to go back to the ground level. Exited out into the Dubai mall. Saw a pizza hut and decided to chow down on some pizza. My eyes couldn’t roll harder. There was waiters at this pizza hut. Im sure, there was probably a five star rating somewhere. Just felt weird to be eating at a fast food place that gave me the five star treatment. Tend to forget, American brands sometimes have more value outside of the United States. Either way, I enjoyed my day. Couldn’t wait what tomorrow had in store.

Check out our eBook “How to Travel for Dirt Cheap” by Hugo Morel for ways to make your dreams of traveling come true without breaking the bank.

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