Middle East
I had a couple of days in Bahrain to see the sights on my way home from Saudi Arabia. I visited the national museum and then hired a driver to see some of the other historic sights.
I think when people think of Dubai they think of money and tall buildings. There’s certainly a lot of both; I saw opulent shopping malls and incredible buildings, but while I was there I tried to see some of the history and traditional buildings.
What is left to say about Egypt? There’s an incredible amount to see and do. The pyramids are of course memorable, but for me I’ll probably most remember the hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings.
I’d wanted to go to Israel for a long time, but had been waiting until my passport was almost full, so I wouldn’t have to try and travel in the Middle East with an Israeli stamp. I spent some time in Jerusalem and Nazareth and surrounding areas.
Jordan is one of the most hospitable places I’ve been. The people are extremely friendly, the sights are magnificent and the food is excellent. Wadi Rum is a beautiful desert and the night I spent in a Bedouin tent there is unforgettable. Petra is stunning and I wish I’d spent more time there. Maybe next time.
When I got back form Kuwait someone said to me “Why did you go to Kuwait? There’s nothing to do there”. I’m inclined to agree, especially if the only time you have to explore is a Friday morning.
Doha will probably be quite nice once they finish building it. Everything seems to be closed or being renovated. The national museum has been closed for a while, the much talked about photography museum has yet to be built, the fort is closed and the museum of Islamic art was still being built. The suq is interesting though, it’s been heavily renovated and almost “disneyfied”. Worth a visit if you’re in the area, but it’s not a major destination.
Most people thought I was crazy when I announced that I was planning a trip to Saudi Arabia. It’s not exactly a top tourist destination and is probably one of the least understand countries by citizens of non-Islamic countries. When people think of Saudi Arabia they think of oil, desert and a totalitarian Islamic state. All of those are true, but there’s also a lot of history, friendly people and fantastic scenery. While many people will have heard of Petra in Jordan, few people have heard of the equally fascinating Madain Saleh, which is considered to be the second Nabateean city after Petra.