I listened to this wonderful and intriguing podcast “Outsiders in the Muslim World” from Travel with Rick Steves. I am a traveling junkie so this show is one of my stables. Rick always shows these destinations in a unique and personal angle which is something you rare get from just traveling books.
“Two American travelers reveal the hidden sub-cultures in the Muslim World of the Middle East and North Africa. Looking behind the veil, our guests are an American Muslim who spent a year on her own getting acquainted with the region and a gay travel writer who was surprised by what he encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Just the title of the episode resonates with me. I am an outsider (and have been for most my life living on different continents). Few people in this world get the chance to see Saudi Arabia the way expats do, and that’s why I started this blog to share our unique experiences with the rest of the world. As Maliha Masood set out to do by writing her book “Zaatar days and Hannah nights” for a post 911 Islamphobic world, she shares her experiences in a historically and culturally rich region full of warm hospitality and enchanting encounters.
Michael Luongo, the editor of Gay Travels in the Muslim World, unveils the pink elephant in the room – homosexuality in the Muslim world. The fact that this outwardly condemned practice is hidden in suggestive gestures and thriving behind closed doors exemplifies the quintessential duality of what it’s like to live in the Muslim/Arab world. This duality, which many westerners fail to understand, echoes through out everyday life from business to domestic lives, and is something I can identify in my own culture.