Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Carpets and souks

A few days ago someone sent me a photograph of me at 27 just before I got married to Johan. I think it was that year. I got married on the 9th June 1988 but the picture must have been in May as it is was my friends birthday, the dress I wore for my wedding was already worn. That is bad luck to start with but the picture, personal to me only told me a lot, and made me think.
Wearing gold jewelry, my hair darkened as I hid my white blonde hair then, I look worried which for someone with a huge sense of humour looks strange. I was wearing a Belville Sassoon dress with big white sleeves and I still own it.  The picture was sent to me at a time when I am starting a new chapter. It has made me think back to my life and what I wanted to achieve then.

 I was born in Lebanon but left six weeks afterwards to English parents, one a journalist the other an opera singer.  I always said I would go when I am going to die. Because of politics and the world we live in now I wish to explore areas I do not know before then, to understand the Middle East you must visit it. I decided to do this by ship. The Seabourn, and the boats name is Encore.  Discovering that Arabia is a huge desert made of shells. I decided to make a trade journey through it. Muslims we know love trade and they have existed side by side with the Chinese and Africans, Indians and Europeans. I realize I must take time to relive the past and future, and this is the last luxurious way to travel.  The biggest commodities were frankincense, pearls, ivory, slavery, peppers, fabrics and weapons, now it is oil.  America sells 34,000 billion of weapons a year and Great Britain 8 Billion a year to Saudi Arabia alone. In times past the British have had good relations which meant trading and traveling permits to safety through Arabia. If you do this trip you will have a better  understanding of the current climate .

The areas are valuable, dangerous and vast. The climate extreme. From China to Baghdad, from Japan to Europe via Zanzibar, Oman  the demand for trade was and is necessary. Oman is one of the most important trade ports. Nearby in ancient times the Queen of Sheba lived it has exotic history. Copper was produced along with textiles, timber. I am following the original daring trader, Sinbad the 11.
Rich now from oil, the Arabs have abandoned their tents and two breeds of camels, one with a one hump and another with two humps  to drive in air conditioned luxury and live in huge magnificent contemporary architectural buildings collecting artifacts, Arabian horses and falcons.  From Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, the sea dominates their lands and the mountains protect their caravan route, whilst the mosques and prayers keep their people pretty pure.
I fall asleep to the sounds of the ship and dream of carpets and souks, wishing to follow previous brave women who studied Arabic and lived there,  who fell in love with the Nomad's way of life.

Cautious an Arab bites

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