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.
Today, my photo takes us back exactly 15 years, to March 2003. I had not long turned 30, still worked at Texaco, and was enjoying the wonders of travelling as a single guy. There’s an awful lot to be said of travelling solo, all positive. I loved the ability to roam, dine and generally spend my time without compromise. Did I ever get lonely? Not once. You always meet people on the trail. On the odd occasion that it is just you, then there is always a good book waiting to be read.
This story starts in the very late 1980s, about 15 years before this photo was taken. I went on a fishing trip with a friend of my dad’s. It was a day trip off the south coast, about 9 miles into the English Channel. I hadn’t at that point in my life been much of a mariner. One trip on a large car ferry across the channel to France was the sum total of my sea faring experience. But I had plans. Big plans. I had my application to join the Royal Navy filled out and ready to post. I can’t remember now what sort of job in the navy I was hoping to get. This trip was to be good practice to test my sea legs. Continue reading
I spent six days in Cairo one summer in the early noughties, before heading off to Sharm el Sheikh on the Sinai peninsula for a further three days. I travelled with a friend, whose ginger hair, pale skin and freckles were not entirely suited to the climate of north Africa. The furnace like heat from the midday sun was, at that time, the biggest issue for western travellers. Continue reading