Do not be mistaken here; it is not begging as a western-bred assumption might conclude. This is Zaqat, one of the principal duties of all Muslims, to behave charitably toward those in need. It requires a person to give directly to those in need and is a mainstay for elderly people of the community who may find themselves in leaner times. The older man is not a beggar, he is aware of that, and is aware that it is his right to expect support. For his side, the shopkeeper is aware that his obligations include giving a percentage of his income directly to those in need, and that he receives blessings for his act.
Adventure travel by its nature has a Pandora’s box full of things that can go wrong or at least very differently to what you might be expecting. You might be doing things not usually in mainstream holidays, in countries and locations off the beaten track, accommodation that might leave a lot to be desired, but often only overnight and it means you get somewhere really hard to get to, to see or do something worth the telling. Read more . .
There were a few people on that trip who were really keen on the archaeology, and really wanted to know the inside of a cat’s arse (phrase from a Welsh girlfriend’s mother), about everywhere, and some who almost hadn’t any idea where they were. Read more . .
My time in Syria was brief, as part of a single combined trip with Jordan. The UK had no diplomatic relations with the country at the time and it was regarded as a pariah state. Quite the opposite of what we found, a country full of antiquity and tradition, of hospitality and decency toward strangers.