There is a special magic to be found in the Arabic world. It’s in the architecture, the sounds, the smells, the language and the people. It is other wordly. There is a sense of a history more ancient than elsewhere. For the most part I guess that this is simply a matter of fact. I love hearing the call to prayer. I love listening to conversations on the street, despite not understanding a word. I love the hospitality that is shown by almost everyone you meet. I pity those who have allowed themselves to be convinced that the Arabic world is a dangerous place inhabited by animals. They’re missing out.
My true story for today, which does not involve the lovely lady in the photo. It’s not set in Marrakesh or anywhere else in the Arabic world, but in Malaysia. It involves an equally lovely lady, and her family, in a small mountain village. Tis a very small village, possibly not even noted on most maps, halfway down the mountain from the Cameron Highlands. I somehow found myself stranded there after sunset. No more buses till morning, no hotels. Nada. Nada but a very long and cold night ahead of me.
I did the only thing available to me. I knocked on doors to see if anyone would rent me a room. Well, I exaggerate a little. I knocked on a door. The first one came up trumps. Such quick success surprised me back then. But with a little more travelling under my belt, I now understand that it would have been a greater surprise had I needed to knock on a second door.