The Statue of Liberty

From the moment of its dedication, the Statue of Liberty has been an enigmatic monument.

The colossal statue was a gift from France and the brainchild of French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi to symbolize America’s message of liberty to the world.

The sculptor behind the Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, was born in 1834 in France, in the Alsace region on the border of Germany. When Auguste was nine, his mother Charlotte moved with her children to Paris and allowed them to study under some of France’s most accomplished artists, braving the city’s civil unrest for her sons’ education.

After completing his first commissioned work at age twenty, a large bronze statue of Napoleonic General Jean Rapp, Bartholdi traveled with a group of French cultural ambassadors to photograph works of antiquity in Egypt.

They encountered desert landscapes where ancient cities lay in ruins but colossal statues remained, inspiring Bartholdi to write “These granite beings, in their imperturbable majesty, seem to be still listening to the most remote antiquity. Their kindly and impassible glance seems to ignore the present and to be fixed upon an unlimited future.”

As an emerging artist, Bartholdi actively searched for commissions as well as inspiration, and he secured a meeting with Khedive Isma’il Pasha of Egypt, the ruler overseeing and funding the French construction of the Suez Canal. Bartholdi presented a figurine for a colossal lighthouse depicting an Egyptian fellaha, a female serf, entitled Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia. This design was ultimately rejected by the khedive.

In 1865, a French political intellectual and anti-slavery activist named Edouard de Laboulaye proposed that a statue representing liberty be built for the United States. This monument would honor the United States’ centennial of independence and the friendship with France.

The Statue of Liberty was built in France between 1875 and 1884. Bartholdi required the assistance of an engineer to address structural issues associated with designing such a colossal copper sculpture. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, just prior to creating his famed Eiffel Tower, was engaged to design the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework that allows the Statue’s copper skin to move independently yet stand upright.

Construction of the Statue was completed in France in July 1884. The massive sculpture stood tall above the rooftops of Paris. For its trans-Atlantic voyage aboard the frigate Isère, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. The ship arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885.

Back in America that same year architect Richard Morris Hunt was selected to design the Statue’s granite pedestal, and construction got underway. The pedestal was completed in April 1886. The statue was reassembled on Liberty Island in 1886, although the torch has been redesigned or restored several times since its installation. Finally, on October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland oversaw the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in front of thousands of spectators.

The sculptor behind the Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi found his inspiration in the Land of the Pharaohs. You can take an armchair trip to Egypt, visit the Pyramids of Giza, and cruise along the Nile to Upper Egypt and the famous temples by reading SECRET KISSES.

Katy Mahoney, Hoda Seif, and Sarah Kohn. Three girls from different backgrounds and religions pledged to maintain their friendship forever.

On Graduation Day, Katy meets Hoda’s oldest brother Tarek, a dark and handsome medical graduate who can’t take his eyes off her. The graduation celebration ends with Hoda and Omar breaking off their engagement, Hoda exchanging a secret kiss wit Liam, Kathy’s cousin, and Omar befriending Sarah and renting a room in her house.

Three best friends, three secret and forbidden romances.

For five years, the three friends meet and exchange confidences and advice. Sarah is concerned about Omar’s narrow-mindedness and decides he has to change. Katy knows she’ll have a battle royal on her hands with her pious Catholic mother. And Hoda is in a worse shape. Her family’s religion forbids her to marry an infidel.

Will they choose the men they love and break with families and traditions? Difficult choice.

ON PREORDER

Kissing Plans: From best friend to lovers. But she’s engaged. What better way to get rid of the unpleasant fiancé? Finding him a girlfriend.
Family Plans: A plane crash destroyed their lives. Can it bring them together despite the painful secrets it uncovered?
Healing Plans: He adopted two minority children but lost his wife. Finally things settle for him, until the lovely surgeon he hires turns his life upside down.

Indiana Jones in Petra

I visited Petra almost ten years ago as part of a cruise that took us from Italy all the way to Singapore, sailing the Mediterranean, crossing the Suez Canal, and continuing through the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The blockbuster film Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade was partly filmed in the ancient city of Petra, a place unknown to much of the world before 1989. Indiana Jones was reviewed as “One of the best action-adventure films of all time,” and “One of the all-time greats. Harrison Ford is perfection-plus as Indiana Jones, so iconic a character that the AFI cited him as the second greatest movie hero of all time.”

“Archeology has never been so cool.”

Located between rugged desert canyons and mountains– in what is now the southwestern corner of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan– Petra was once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106. The city sat empty and in near ruin for centuries. In the early 1800s, a European traveler disguised himself in Bedouin costume and infiltrated the mysterious site. In 1985, the Petra Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2007 it was named one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Bab Al Siq’ is Arabic for gateway to the ‘siq’. Here we discovered squared monuments, the massive Djinn blocks, and the Obelisk Tomb, carved in the 1st century AD. Above the tomb are four pyramids as well as a niche with a statue in bas-relief that is a symbolic representation of the five people buried there. An inscription indicated that the tomb was used for Abdomanchos and his family, probably in 40- 70 AD.

The Siq, the main road that leads to the city, is a rock canal that measures 3 to 12 meters in width and reaches up to 80 meters in height. The main part of the Siq is created by natural rock formation and the rest was carved by the Nabataeans.

The siq opens up onto Petra’s most magnificent façade; the Treasury, or Al Khazna (in Arabic). It is almost 40 meters high and intricately decorated with Corinthian capitals, friezes, figures and more. The Treasury consists of two floors with a width of 25.30 meters and a height of 39.1 meters, and comprises three chambers. The most recent excavation has unearthed a graveyard beneath the Treasury. 

Almost three decades ago, George Lucas decided to use the monumental Treasury, the centerpiece of Jordan’s ancient city of Petra, as the exterior of The Temple of the Sun in his movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Cast and crew had to travel all the way to Jordan for just one day of shooting, because that’s all it took to make those scenes work.

The Treasury is crowned by a funerary urn, which according to local legend conceals a pharaoh’s treasure. Although the original function is still a mystery, The Treasury was probably constructed in the 1st century BC. However, in reality the urn represented a memorial for royalty.

While the filmmakers were allowed to have free access to the main entrance chamber, access is prohibited to most mortal visitors. The good news is that the most spectacular part of the location is its exterior – as well as the path you need to take to get there in the first place.

The 1.2 kilometer-long walk through a cleft called The Siq is the only way to access the Treasury and come back to the entrance.

Carved directly into vibrant red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff faces, the prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra was “lost” to the Western world for hundreds of years.

Unfortunately with the pandemic going on for almost two years, I have stopped traveling. Instead I write non-stop and have finished writing a series of eight romance novels, LOVE PLANS. The five first books are on pre-order, and SAILING AWAY PLANS will be released tomorrow.

Love Plans Series:

Sailing Away Plans: The successful surgeon quits work to start a new life in the Caribbean, on his new boat and in a new clinic, but love strikes at the wrong time. [RELEASE DAY 9/2]

Dating Plans: Attraction sizzles between a divorced surgeon and a psychologist with a challenging daughter. Things get more difficult when the teenager’s father returns.

Rescue Plans: Arianna fought hard to escape the slums and become a flight nurse. Captain Lopez taught her to conquer fear. Can he help her forget the scum from the past and win her trust?

Wedding Plans: Will the doctor make the right decision between an angry fiancée and a medical emergency?

Baby Plans: They meet at the artificial insemination clinic. Zach is doing research for an article. Audrey is secretly getting a baby. But artificial insemination works in many ways…