Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A thousand splendid sun...

A thousand splendid suns is one of of my favourite books I have read. It is written by Khaled Hosseini, which is also the author of the book, the Kite runner. These two books are the only ones he has written yet, I have read both of them and I think he is a very talented writer, who takes his knowledge of hes background and turns them into closely thought of novels. However, A thousand splendid suns stands out to me greatly because it is very emotional and heart capturing story about a young girl named Mariam who was born illegitimately and lives with her mother. Her Father is a wealthy man who is ashamed of what he acted upon, as he himself is involved with hes own family. Mariam always liked spending time with her Father on the rarely occasions he comes for visits. Her mother later commits suicide. Mariam is soon forced by her own Father to marry a much older man named Rasheed. He treats her with much disrespect, and Mariam is stuck in a lifestyle she very much dislikes. She is being controlled by this man, her own husband and she lives her life being feared.

The book also involves another story of a girl named Laila, whom had been living with her loving family and was going to be educated soon. Her dreams end when a rocket hits her home and kills her family. She is now an orphan, and her own boyfriend, Tariq had already left Afghanistan to become refugees in Pakistan. Soon she realises that she is pregnant with Tariq's son and hears the news that Tariq has past away. Along the line Rasheed asks to marry Laila as hes second wife, and she agrees because she has no other option. Laila and Mariam share a very strong bond and relationship together. It is a story about love between a woman and a child and between a woman to another living as wives of a man in the same household. A book of Hope, Love and Survival.

Dar Si Said

Marrakech was full with so many things to do and see, that I almost did not have time to visit every place I wanted to. It is really a city of exploration and valuable history. When I was in Morocco, I had a strong sense that it was a very traditional yet modern at the same time, and these 2 aspects worked very well in the country. I managed to go to Dar Si Said Museum which proved that with so much past and history it is very traditional in a sense but then it is also developing into the modern world. In the museum, there were many objects being displayed that were used for over hundreds of years ago, but which they still use to this day. I saw variable items such as clothing's, wood furniture, household items, bags, rugs, weapons and jewellery. The images above present a number of different teapots which the Moroccans have been using over time. I captured them to see how the had differed. It made me happy that some countries still hold on to their traditions and their trying to be up to date as possible. I think it is very important. I have not found this aspect in so many countries that I have myself travelled too, most of them are just trying to be as modern as possible therefore forgetting about their past traditions.

Saadian tombs

On my visit in Marrakesh, Morocco I went to visit the Saadian tombs. These tombs had been hidden for centuries until they became rediscovered again sometime under 1917. I have to say when I went to visit the surroundings around the tombs were so beautiful. There were colourful tiles, beautifully crafted walls with Arabic writings around them and with greenery and nature all around the place which made it such a nice and quiet environment to be in. From the information I gathered when I was there, I had been told that the first burial took place in 1557, and the huge walls and buildings around the tombs were constructed under Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour ruling. When the next ruler took over, he decided to seal up the burial grounds and the last burial there was said to have been taken place in 1792. Under all this time these Saadian tombs had been forgotten and only re-discovered again in 1917 when the construction of a French passageway was being built in the area.

The interior had so many details to look at, and the queue to look was really long. Sadly, my camera died on me at the time so I was only able to get few shots, the rest I have uploaded from my phone. You can see the Arabic writings from the graves where Quranic verses had been written.

Fashion and Newspaper?

I am really interested in fashion, especially individual styles and anything that strikes as being different and a bit edgy. I watched an episode for project runway the other day which was really interesting.  The show itself is hosted by Heidi Klum and involves various fashion designers competing with each other and taking part in different challenges to create a fashion garment that would stand out from the rest. After each challenge, one designer is eliminated. They have 24 hrs to create it, from the beginning process to the end. The winner of the challenge is then decided upon the judges. So, for this specific challenge the contestents were taken to the Los Angeles times factory, where all the newspapers were produced, and so their next task was out there in the open. They were asked to create a garment/fashion icon from newspapers! Watching the show, I noticed how many did not have a clue of what they were doing and they were just going with the flow to see what they would get out of their creation. However after some period of time, some of them seemed to get a stronger grip of what they were doing. Most of them created dresses out of the newspaper, but there was also one that created a coat, which was my ultimate favourite. When all the finished garments were put on the models to pose for, they looked really good. And it just surprises me how newspaper could be turned into something so nice. Above are some of the outfits the fashion designers created from newspapers. Outstanding...

Sunday, 27 September 2009

T mobile advertisement

My friend showed me this advertisement on YouTube for T mobile. It was a live show advert taking place at the Liverpool train station. A very unusual situation starts happening, when random people in the station all gather together to dance, and from the video you can see how only one individual starts dancing and then more and more join in. It is a very good and planned advert, and the people involved made a really good act together especially at the end when after the dance everyone just goes their separate way. It is one of very clever and simple adverts I have seen, and it works very well!!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

My sisters keeper

My sisters keeper, is a beautifully written story by one of my favourite authors Jodi Picoult. It tells a story about two parents- Sara and Brian Fitzgerald, who learn to know that their two year old daughter has been diagnosed with leukemia. They want to be able to treat their child, with their only hope of treatment involving Sara conceiving another child, specifically for the purpose of being able to help their first child Kate. The two sisters grow up to become very close to one another and they practically do everything together. Whenever Kate is in the hospital, Anna needs to be there too, to provide her share for the treatments. The parents never seem to ask Anna if she wants to donate every time for her sisters need. It is not a choice for her, but a must. It shows how some parents would do anything for their sick child, even conceiving another child who has been genetically matched to be able to provide another with what she needs. However, the parents both receive a shock of news when their own daughter hires a lawyer demanding her own rights in the position, stating she does not want to act as a donor for Kate anymore. It is a very emotional journey for the family, as they are only trying to help their first child, but then when their own second child stands against them they stand in a very challenging position. This book brought me to tears because it is a very troubled story with a family that is trying to stay close. Lucky for me, it has been turned into a movie as well which I am yet eagerly waiting for to watch. Below is the trailer for the movie.

The Hurt Locker

The hurt locker is about a group of bomb technicians whom volunteer to take up the challenges set aside for them in Baghdad, Iraq. They are a part of a bomb squad, with their ideal task being to look out for bombs, handmade bombs around the city and disarm them. Making the place a safer environment and surrounding for the people. Both the Iraqis and the Americans. It is a very dangerous job and very risk taking, as it involves getting as close as possible to these bombs and trying to disarming them in any case and situation with random people watching throughout the streets. One wrong move, and your dead. Sadly the team leader dies in one of the incidents, and the team is forced to take upon their new leader, William James whose confidence arises so much they start to dislike him. He acts unsafely and disturbingly at times but even though with all his attitude, he stands out to be a very brave and clever member. You start to feel the tension between the members because of this when sergeant James suddenly became in charge as they're not used to have a leader with such behavioral manners in such a dangerous place.

I think it is an interesting story, because the movie is partly based upon real events as well, which makes it more heart pounding. And every bomb they disarm is very risk taking so it keeps you actively watching. It shows how important a team leader really is in the role he/she is playing. It is a great movie to watch and to remember how some individuals jobs are so dangerous, that they might risk their own life to help the surrounding.

The Reader

The reader is such a beautiful and dramatic movie. It takes place in Germany in the 1950's. Kate Winslet plays a woman named Hannah Schmitz, whom starts having an affair with a much younger boy named Michael Berg. The two met at a time in the street, while Michael was feeling very ill, and she helped him. After the boy, decided to thank her for her generosity they started to have this loving affair which would soon become a long lasting memory both of them would not live without. However, Hanna was always interested in having books being read to her, on a daily basis Michael would go running from school to her home for them to enjoy the company of another another, make love and Michael to read to Hanna which she so terribly liked. However soon enough, a twist occurs and the Hanna completely disappears from his life. Over time, Michael starts studying Law at the university and the next time he sees Hanna is at an unexpected court trial where she is being charged. She is sent to prison, for life sentence because she was shamefully embarrassed of telling her secret she has been holding on too so long, even never having told michael himself. In the movie, it shows when Michael is much older and how his not able to let go of Hanna, his past.

All in all, this movie grabs you, and it makes you think how some people are not able to admit something they are very ashamed of, a secret to oneself that would never be told, not even if your own life would be harmed and restricted. It is a book which has been beautifully written by Bernhard Schlink, and turned into a movie.

Nandos-Ramadan advert :)

For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan, is the fasting period where we fast from the sunrise till the sunsets, so it is quite a long period of time and obviously differs from country to country. I was thinking about the adverts they display for Ramadan, I have mostly watched Ramadan adverts in Arabic, but i thought how there's not enough creative English ads for Ramadan being displayed at the same time. The ones I have seen in Arabic were mainly in two different categories, the ones wishing a warm greeting for the holy month, such as Ramadan Kareem and the other ones which are in a funny nature. Which I usually prefer myself. Anyway so I started searching for Ramadan adverts online, and I came across this one. It is surprising how nothing is said by the man in the video, but its strong capture and simple idea made it really funny to watch. It is definitely one of my favourite Ramadan adverts I have seen.
In the ad, the man is holding a chicken leg, and eagerly waiting for the sun to set so he could dig in.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The boy in the striped pyjamas

I borrowed this book from my friend who recommended it to me, before it became all popular and before I heard that a movie had been made of it as well. It is a book written very simply yet it's telling a lovely story about two boys from very different backgrounds whom find the company of one another benefiting both of them. The story tells how a friendship builds up between bruno, who is the son of a nazi officer in world war II, and a jewish boy who's been held up as a prisoner in a camp with the other jewish imprisoners. It is a friendship which was never meant to happen from the start, as in the ending bruno is put in a terrible situation which he is not able to get out of. The young boys would meet everyday beside the jewish boys camp fence, where they would spend their afternoons chatting away and trying to understand one another, as their lives completely differ. This book can be easily read and even younger teenagers would find it interesting as it is written in a very simple way. I haven't yet watched the movie, but I' really looking forward to watching it soon hopefully, as soon as I get the chance.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Majorelle Gardens

I went to visit the beautiful Majorelle Gardens when I was in Marrakech. The garden was designed by the french artist and painter Jacques Majorelle. He acquired some land in Marrakech in 1924 and settled down to create this garden, and has today become one of his one best known masterpieces along with his paintings. When I was there, there was a peaceful sort of energy coming from the greenery of the plants, and the contrast of the colours included in the garden itself. There's an museum inside the garden which has been painted with a striking colour of blue which gave the garden a vibrant feeling to it. However, sadly it was closed when I was there so I didn't get to enter it. I felt like all the plants had been carefully planted and the garden carefully constructed. There were several fountains and ponds as well which had some beautiful large goldfishes swimming around, and lilies. Plants have been collected in the shapes of 5 continents. In 1980 the garden's owner became yves saint laurent, and there's a memorial in the garden held for him. Visitors come and enjoy the beautiful plants, colours and read their own books, as I said it is a very relaxing environment. Above are some of the photos I took of the garden.

WWF Adverts

I really like the WWF adverts. Their adverts are so straight to the point and eye catching with their outrageous photos. It makes you stop and think twice about different issues raised by WWF, such as saving wildlife and global warming.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Koutoubia Mosque- A mosque with a story tale

Pictures I took of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco

The Koutoubia Mosque is a beautiful mosque I went to visit in Marrakech, when I was in Morocco this summer. It has got the Koutoubia gardens, with orange trees, and flowers surrounding the mosque too, which makes it a relaxing and beautiful environment to be in. The name Koutob comes from the Arabic word meaning books, as I have been told it used to be surrounded by book sellers. It is the largest mosque in its town. It was built in 1147, but then it had to deconstructed and built all over again because it wasn't headed in the direction of the holy city of Mecca, where the muslims turn to pray towards. It has influences from the Moorish, just like King Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. For me to compare I would say the Kotoubia mosque looked much older, as it is. The Minaret stands 70m tall, and it consists of six rooms built on top of one another. At the top of the Minaret are four golden globes. At the time of construction there were only meant to be three golden globes at the top of the minaret. However, there's an interesting story about the fourth golden globe. The wife of Ysaub El Mansour, who was the ruler of Morocco at the time, had eaten a grape during the fasting period of Ramadan, and so had felt guilty for breaking her fast that she decided to collect all her golden jewellery, melt it and then finally create a fourth golden globe on the top of the minaret.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Minaret

Najwa is a sudanese-muslim that has become closely attached to her religion in a place she feels much foreign too. She feels a sad distance has fallen upon her life to where she used to be in her loving past and to where she stands on her feet now.  She's wearing her modest hijab and working as a maid cleaning the homes of the rich families in London. A city she used to visit when she was young, and her and her family themselves being classified as an upper class family. 20 years ago, before she was working as a maid, and before she came to London, she was a very modern girl living her life back home in Sudan. Her Father was working with the government and having close ties and relations with the president himself. however , over time a political exile occurred, and soon enough Najwa became an Orphan. It all happened as a shock to her and her brother, which soon ended his path with drugs and a dark future. For Najwa her path directed to London, where she became much attached to her religion and faith. she slowly starts to fall in love with Tamer, a university student who is the younger brother of her employer. Is this love bound to happen or has it been restricted?

I found it religiously inspiring myself and it shows how unexpected situations can happen and totally change you completely. Leila Aboulela, is the author if this book, the minaret. I find this novel entertaining in an emotional kind of way. Something that makes you ask yourself questions, which is necessary sometimes. I find her work inspiring as she's not only a successful writer, but she is closely related to me too, my aunt.