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Director : Brad Peyton.
Cast : Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joe Manganiello, Malin Åkerman, Jake Lacy, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, P. J. Byrne, Breanne Hill, Matt Gerald.
Genre : Action, Adventure, Science Fiction.
Duration : 1 hours 55 minutes
Synopsis :
Movie ‘Rampage’ was released in April 12, 2018 in genre Action. Brad Peyton was directed this movie and starring by Dwayne Johnson. This movie tell story about Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.
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Director : Joe Russo, Anthony Russo.
Cast : Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Tessa Thompson, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Angela Bassett, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, Linda Cardellini, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Callan Mulvey, Kerry Condon, Jacob Batalon, Tiffany Espensen, Isabella Amara, Sean Gunn, Terry Notary.
Genre : Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action.
Duration : 2 hours 36 minutes
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Movie ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ was released in April 25, 2018 in genre Adventure. Joe Russo was directed this movie and starring by Robert Downey Jr.. This movie tell story about As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.
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Director : Steven Spielberg.
Cast : Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, Ralph Ineson, Susan Lynch, Clare Higgins, Perdita Weeks, Cara Pifko, Vic Chao, Cara Theobold, Isaac Andrews, Kit Connor, Ronke Adekoluejo, Lynne Wilmot, Letitia Wright, Michael Wildman, Lulu Wilson, Mckenna Grace, Armani Jackson, Britain Dalton, Jacob Bertrand, Daniel Zolghadri, Julia Nickson, Samantha Russell.
Genre : Adventure, Science Fiction, Action.
Duration : 2 hours 20 minutes
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Movie ‘Ready Player One’ was released in March 28, 2018 in genre Adventure. Steven Spielberg was directed this movie and starring by Tye Sheridan. This movie tell story about When the creator of a popular video game system dies, a virtual contest is created to compete for his fortune.
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Director : Jeff Wadlow.
Cast : Tyler Posey, Lucy Hale, Aurora Perrineau, Nolan Gerard Funk, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Brady Smith, Sophia Taylor Ali, Samantha Logan.
Genre : Thriller, Horror.
Duration : 1 hours 34 minutes
Synopsis :
‘Truth or Dare’ is a movie genre Thriller, was released in April 12, 2018. Jeff Wadlow was directed this movie and starring by Tyler Posey. This movie tell story about A harmless game of “Truth or Dare” among friends turns deadly when someone—or something—begins to punish those who tell a lie—or refuse the dare.
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Walking to Petra: 7 Pillars of Beauty

Reposted from the Huffington Post:

 

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Rated among the 15 best treks in the world by National Geographic, one anticipates a great deal in walking across southern Jordan to Petra. Seven reasons why this section of the Abraham Path still exceeds anyone’s expectations.

1. Descending Wadi Dana

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On the King’s Highway towards Dana village there are still patches of snow, remnants of a storm two weeks ago that closed off parts of mountainous Jordan from the rest of the country. But spring has commenced. From breakfast at the Dana Lodge, we descend 900m, seven hours and four ecosystems into Wadi Dana. This is Jordan’s largest nature reserve and one of the few where you can hike both independently and with a guide. We wander past granite rock formations, limestone, and sandstone cliffs. The wadi is pristine, its trail rocky, then smooth, then overflown with a stream that carries away the last melting snow from the 1600m ridge above us. Dana hosts 700 plant species, 200 kinds of birds and 40 types of mammal: not the diversity you would associate with the Middle East.

2. Feynan Stargazing

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We end our first day at Feynan, arriving at the point where Wadi Dana opens up into the Araba Valley: the middle of nowhere. I heard much about Feynan Ecolodgebefore, as one of Jordan’s most inspiring, off-the-beaten-track places to stay in Jordan. But there’s nothing like the special feeling of entering someplace unique after a day’s journey on foot. The lodge is entirely off the grid and powered by the sun for its core needs; the 26 rooms and restaurant use less electricity than one city apartment in Amman. Hundreds of locally made candles light up at night. Every detail and every color belongs. Staffed entirely by locals from the area, 80 Bedouin families benefit from preserving nature and their own culture at Feynan.

After the sun sets, the evening pastime is stargazing on the rooftop terrace. Suleiman is the master of its larger-than-life telescope. With his green laser pen he points out how to navigate one’s way from one constellation to the next. In eloquent English he instructs us: “Follow the Big Dipper and draw a line that extends five times from the distance between the final two stars. There: you arrive at the North Star. Oh, and this is where I was born”, he points his laser to a cave about four hundred meters from the lodge, “and where I live now”, shifting the green beam to a Bedouin tent one hundred meters further. He then reprograms the telescope. “Here are the rings of Saturn. There, the four moons of Jupiter.” Peddling through time and space, Suleiman hosts us between earth and sky.

3. Walking the Rim of Mt. Safaha 

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Many travelers know Jordan is abundant with remote wilderness, but few places will have such shifting vistas as the landscapes on this trek. On the rim of Mt. Safaha for some eight hours, one epic set of scenery unfolds after the other. There is no lack of amazing scenery across the other 1000 plus km the Abraham Path presently features across the Middle East. But I have not walked any region where the land shifts so dramatically at every turn as between Dana and Petra.

4. Mysterious Little Petra 

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Few visitors to Petra take the time to visit Petra’s smaller sister. Seven km north of the main city, Little Petra is secluded in the Siq al-Barid or “the Cold Canyon”. Cold because little sunlight can penetrate the backside through which we enter and descend past carved temples and villas, following a maze of rock-cut stairs winding up the cliffs without beginning or end. In Nabatean times, trading caravans stopped here, with their masters refreshing themselves before visiting the larger city for business. Two millennia ago, this region was the epicenter of cosmopolitanism, the New York City of its era: crossroads of art, trade, and a mind-blowing blend of classical architecture. One villa still features a rare painted ceiling in which a lush tree hides a winged cupid with bow and arrow. Walking trails, however narrow and nimble they are on the map of human activity, have this amazing ability to connect the hidden gems.

5. Petra

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The trail between Little Petra and Petra takes us past small sand dunes and mellow green patches of winter wheat, followed by a Bronze Age settlement, steeper cliffs, and then, the city of Petra, member of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Visitors entering Petra the traditional way -from the village of Wadi Musa through the Siq towards the Treasury — experience a blend of amazement and déjà vu. Yes, it is amazing, and yes, you have seen it many times before: in a dozen movies, videogames, novels, and thousands of travel magazines and guidebooks.

We enter through an alternative route, a “back stage” entrance into Petra. No déjà vu for us. (A practical note is in order here: you do need to have entry tickets pre-arranged). We walk from up high on the flanks of Mt. al-Deir towards the Monastery. This is Petra’s largest monument, its iconic urn visible from afar. Few sights in the world can be more rewarding after a few hours of walking. The dimensions are incredible: the doorway is taller than a house; the urn on top over 10m high. In front of the Monastery we sit down for tea and philosophize on our journey these past days and how the world can get familiar with the other face of the Middle East. We come up with a long list of travel and film celebrities who should make the foot journey we have just made.

6. Mt. Haroun Hospitality

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“Maqamaat”, holy shrines situated on mountain tops have always fascinated me. On top of the highest peak in the Petra region sits the Maqam of Haroun, Arabic for Aaron, the brother of Moses. It is visible from many of the cliffs nearer to Petra: a bright white dome on top of a distinctive mountain peak, a sacred place for the Abrahamic faiths. According to tradition Aaron was buried here. There are competing narratives on locations elsewhere in the Middle East, but pilgrims have climbed up here for centuries. It features Byzantine ruins, large water cisterns, and a set of beautiful steps up to the highest point of the Maqam.

Just before our final ascent, we reach a plateau with a small house. A local police man stands guard here. His duty is lonesome: he stays put for a week on the mountain and then is released by another officer. He invites us for tea, and we talk. His middle and last names are Salaam, “peace”. Through a cracked screen on his phone he shows us pictures of the snow that he was in just two weeks ago. Only a trickle of people now pass each day, sometimes no one. A year ago there were dozens. These are tough times for tourism in Jordan. He seems content we’re making it up the mountain and advises us an ancient path to take back. I give him my Abraham Path passport and he signs in Arabic: “Jabal Haroun, 8 March 2015”.

7. The Bridge on Foot

For long Jordanian tourism has struggled with the question of how to bridge the gap between its very solid safety record and security perceptions in the rest of the world. There is a group that is literally bridging that gap with their feet and they deserve more attention: a wide collective of Jordanian outdoor leaders and explorers have come together to create the continuous 600+ km Jordan Trail connecting the forested hills of Um Qais and Ajloun in the north to the spectacular deserts of Wadi Rum and Aqaba in the south. The Abraham Path follows and supports this route, of which Dana-Petra is one spectacular section. Jordan’s hiking scene is homegrown with thousands of members and developing rapidly as its leaders are sewing together the best that the country has to offer in people, nature and cultural heritage. They are laying the basis for a new kind of tourism in the country: slower, fairer, more enriching. And they are drawing on a crowd that is more resilient to the frenzy of Middle East geopolitics than conventional tourism.

On our way back from Mt. Haroun, we finally pass Petra’s movie star icon of the Treasury, traditionally the first site visitors drop their jaws at. Opposite is a cliff with high up, at its very edge, a small tent. Here one of Petra’s most amazing rock climbers hovers far above the tourist crowds. My friend David calls him “the Mystic Bedouin”. When the Dana-Petra route was explored last year, the team took a winding footpath up the cliff and asked about any direct ways to the Treasury below him. His answer: “if you open your mind there are many ways.”

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Photo credits in order of appearance: Stefan Szepesi, David Landis, Bashar Alaeddin (for Feynan Ecolodge), Dick Simon, Paul Gray (2x), Stefan Szepesi, Sumaya Agha. 

Dana to Petra can be walked in 4 (very experienced hikers only), 5, or 6 days, or parts of the trail for those with less time. The walk is possible both independently, and with guides and luggage transfers. Options for lodging are varied between luxury ecolodges, Bedouin tents, wilderness camping and guesthouses/hotels in Petra. Elaborate details on the walk (maps, GIS, tour operators, site descriptions, etc.) can be found at abrahampath.org/path/dana.

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Director : Jason Reitman.
Cast : Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, Ron Livingston, Colleen Wheeler, Elaine Tan.
Genre : Comedy.
Duration : 1 hours 30 minutes
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‘Tully’ is a movie genre Comedy, was released in April 20, 2018. Jason Reitman was directed this movie and starring by Charlize Theron. This movie tell story about Marlo, a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother. Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging nanny named Tully.
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Past, Present, and Paths in Between

As-salaamu Alaykum!” we called in greeting, wishing peace upon the small figure sitting on the large rock ahead.

Walaykum as-salaam,” he responded, deftly deflecting the peace back upon us and pairing it with a bemused twist of his eyebrows.

“We’re walking to the other side of this wadi. Do you know any good paths?”

Silence. Then, with a loose gesture to the left, “If you walk that way for about half an hour, you’ll find the road.”

“Thanks, but we don’t want the road. How have other people gotten across?”

“They take the road.”

“But before the road was there?”

He shrugged, stood, bestowed another measure of peace upon us, and strode off.

Mark, the coordinator of this scouting trip along the Jordan Trail, shook his head. “Modernization has effectively erased these trails from local memory,” he lamented.

Though I instinctively sympathized with this implied nostalgia for times past, part of me wondered if I was right to do so. If we’re traveling through these regions to better understand the modern Middle East, I thought, maybe we have to start by acknowledging its modernity – not by clinging to some artificial, romanticized sense of the ancient. Maybe – I still couldn’t help sighing – we have to give this region the dignity of realizing that times have changed?

A few hours passed, and we were making progress down the steep bank of the wadi. Then we reached the edge of what appeared to be an entirely sheer cliff face. The group fanned out, seeking any small footpath lying unseen between the rocks. After a solid half an hour of exploration, Amjad called out: “Donkey poop!” We rushed over and crowded excitedly around the droppings. If local shepherds had gotten their animals to this point, there must be a trail nearby! We laughed at Amjad’s unexpected exclamation and continued forward, winding down the narrow path that did indeed exist. I continued to chuckle as we went, feeling my earlier angst subside. Maybe times haven’t really changed so drastically.

The next day, we wandered across a Bedouin man sitting outside his tent. We greeted him, peace was exchanged, he offered us tea, and we began to chat. He was eager to share his stories with us: Stories of the many summer months he’d spent alone in his tent. Stories of fabled gold hidden in the hillside. Stories of magical maps. And other stories that sounded less like something from Aladdin: Stories of the various business endeavors he’d undertaken while spending the winter months in town. Stories of his adventures serving in the military. Stories of the colorful characters he’d met studying in university. I listened to his tales with a smile, shaking my head.

I may still catch myself trying to confine the region to a series of either/or dichotomies: the past or the present. Antiquity or modernity. But its people know better.

 

The Abundance of Scarcity

 

Spending a few days hiking solo in the desert isn’t necessarily the most common way to spend Christmas break, but some people just aren’t very common. Matt, our Program Officer, spent a few days hiking the path in the Negev towards the end of December and ended up learning a thing or two about the simple things in life:

“Do you need help?” – a voice called to me, pulling my mind away from my map.

I was nearing the end of the third day of my solo-backpacking trip in the Negev desert. I had followed the Abraham Path in the Craters Region the first two days of my trip, traveling through stunning desert scenery, including haMakhtesh haKatan (The Small Crater) and Wadi Hatira. On day three I followed the sharp Karbolet Ridge along the south rim of haMakhtesh haGadol (The Large Crater) and then trudged upstream through the dry, flat expanse of the Wadi Tzin Valley en route to Medreshet Ben Gurion, where I planned to stay with a friend before continuing to Mitzpe Ramon.

After a long hike with several challenging ascents and descents, I must have looked rather battered because the speaker’s next words were, “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” I replied, recognizing the person as a young woman, presumably a student at the local university, whom I had passed while laboring up a dusty dirt road to the top of the plateau where the town was located. “I’m just checking my map for the right path into town.”

“I’m going in now,” she replied. “I’ll show you the way.”

I eased into a steady gait, following her and the red trail blazes along a dirt path that wound toward the houses in the distance. She slipped off her sandals, clearly enjoying feeling the earth under her feet.

“Where are you coming from?” she asked.

“I started today by the phosphate plant near Yeroham Spring,” I said, and she look at me quizzically.

“A-OR-ON,” I stammered out a Hebrew word I had seen on my map.

“Ah,” she replied, “The factories. That’s a long way. Which route did you take?”

“I came over the Karbolet and down Wadi Afran.”

“Ooooh!” she exclaimed, “There must have been been water in the wadi!”

“Yes!” I confirmed. The desert had recently received one of its rare winter rains, and deep muddy pools were scattered through the length of the steep wadi. “The wadi was beautiful, but I had rough time avoiding falling in the pools!”

“You didn’t get in!?” She sounded appalled. “We have a rule here in the desert, since we so rarely have rain – whenever you find a pool while hiking, you jump in!”

I laughed. Wading through pools had been far from my mind while toiling down the wadi with a 40 pound pack, but I could understand the allure of the touch of water in such a dry climate.

We passed through a small gate that brought us into town. She continued on her way, and I waited to meet my friend, pondering over her words – “Whenever you find a pool, you jump in!” – and her clear, deep appreciation for the land around her.

While hiking along through the arid desert I realized that I too had become keenly aware of brief vibrant moments in otherwise barren surroundings.

In a land devoid of water, I was struck by the several pools (at Tzafit Spring and in Wadis Hatira and Afran) I saw along the path.

In a place where life struggles to survive, I constantly noted the flora (green stalks that would be in bloom within a week or two) and fauna (Nubian Ibex and many birds) I encountered along the way.

And, at a time of year when winter nights arrived at 16:30 each day, I admired the rich starscapes and enjoyed figuring out where and when familiar constellations appeared in the sky, many miles away from home.

, ,

Water Etiquette in the Desert

We are always exploring new and exciting regions that are associated with Abraham’s heritage. Evan Bryant recounts his experiences on one such trip in the southern Sinai Peninsula: 

We arrived at Moiyet Mileihis (Mileihis spring), a magical oasis in an orange, red and yellow striped sandstone basin at the foot of Jebel Mileihis, on the third day of our 11-day trek in the Sinai Peninsula.

A single robust palm tree near a shady alcove in the sandstone cliff betrays the life-giving water flowing from the spring hidden behind it, filling a small manmade pool below. Arriving at this place was a very welcome treat after a long, hot slog through the loose sand of Wadi Mileihis – each step of the way only acheived 70% of what I’m accustomed to with firm footing.

Most of the others in my group were already sitting in the shade by the pool when I arrived sweaty and panting. I promptly dipped my hands into the cool water to splash my face.  Refreshed, I sat down beside the others.

After a short pause our local contact Ben said to our guide Musallem:

“Shall we take this opportunity to talk about water etiquette in the desert?”

Whether the timing of this question had direct reference to me or not, I didn’t know. But at that moment, a creeping embarrassment came over me as I realized that table manners had been nowhere in my mind since coming to the spring, and perhaps my birdbath didn’t quite comply with the desert standard.

“Yes. Let’s talk about water etiquette,” said Musallem.

Ben continued:

“Do you see the teapot and the water bottle there on the edge of the pool? You always use those to take water from the spring. Never use your hands directly in the water. We all have to come to this one spot in the desert, so it’s essential to keep it pristine.”

Now my ears were red. Yes, partially because of the sunburn, but doubly so with the embarrassment. I felt like an awkward barbarian in the presence of Bedouin civility.

Up to that point the real significance of oases in the desert had never occurred to me. Throughout my life I’ve always packed in my own water or used modern filters and tablets for water purification. I’d never relied directly on Mother Nature for my water supply and certainly never in a barren wilderness like the Sinai where that survival necessity is so scarce.

Just then, sitting at the foot of that spring, I suddenly saw in my mind’s eye the centuries fly by and the thousands of desert dwellers and pilgrims who had come before me to that very place to fill their “ghirbes” (Bedouin goatskin water bladders). Who knows – Moses himself could have drunk from these waters!

I was humbled.

And a deep sense of gratitude filled my heart for the opportunity to learn the vital lesson of water etiquette in the desert––at the source.

– Evan Bryant

Photo Credit: Evan Bryant

,

The Sanctuary of Wilderness

“It is a demanding hike, but what we see around us just repays all the efforts,” said Nasser Kaabneh, our bedouin guide from the area of Jericho. I looked around me, taking in the distant landscapes of grayish-blue hills merging with the dusty sky. Then I glanced under my feet, noticing golden lizards squeezing in amongst desert rocks. I could only agree with Nasser’s words.

The silence and solitude of the wilderness between Jericho and Bethlehem encourages spirituality. I noticed fellow hikers closing their eyes, letting a pleasant gust of November’s wind to cool their faces. This is a place where any bit of shade, cave or rock is a sanctuary where a person could sit, relax and meditate.

We’re not the only ones. This atmosphere has long attracted religious leaders searching for exclusion, settling the area and establishing spiritual centers of various faiths. Our path today brings us to two of these: Nabi Musa, a 13th century Islamic shrine dedicated to Prophet Moses and Mar Saba, a 5th century Christian monastery initiated by St. Sabas.

As we left the domes of Nabi Musa behind, we prepared ourselves for the nearly twenty kilometers of desert trail ahead. But the landscape around us gave a boost of a energy that helped us walk faster and further, always curious about the views waiting beyond the next hill. Each time we arrived to the top, the pleasant feeling of accomplishment was obvious on everyone’s face, particularly when we were rewarded with the sight of the desert fortress of Hyrcania. We explored the fortifications, examined the scattered cubes of an ancient mosaic floor. Some of us were even brave enough to visit fortress’ underground chambers.

Finally, the spectacular sight of the Mar Saba monastery met our eyes. We stopped at the edge of the valley, admiring the breathtaking sight of jagged cliffs, a narrow river gorge and  . a clustering of ancient monastery buildings huddled precariously along the opposite canyon wall. The men were allowed to explore its intricate streets. Unfortunately the women could only enjoy the views on the outside – legend says that a woman disguised as a man once crossed the monastery’s threshold and caused a severe earthquake. We prefered to respect monks’ ancient rule.

When we reached our destination, a bedouin tent in the middle of the desert, we had a chance to enjoy our reward: a tasty meal complete with a red sunset and the rising of the night’s first star – another perfect place and time for a spiritual contemplation.

Author and Photo Credit: Beata Andonia/API