by Eva Holland | 10.21.10 | 12:23 PM ET
The Guardian’s Georgia Brown made an unconventional trip to Petra—guided by a “Tintinologist” and a copy of The Red Sea Sharks. We’ve talked before about Tintin’s appeal to travelers, and in her dispatch Brown’s guide notes another aspect of that appeal:
Thousands of tourists visit Petra every week, but this summer I was part of the first small group of adventurers to arrive at the rose-red city in the footsteps of Tintin, led by one of the world’s leading Tintinologists, Michael Farr.
For Michael—who, dressed in beige linen suit and explorer’s hat, looks to have stepped from that golden era of travel—this is clearly part of the delight. A natural raconteur, he explains that Tintin creator Hergés drawings were astonishingly accurate, from his rendering of landscapes such as the Middle Eastern desert and local costumes, down to the accuracy of Egyptian hieroglyphs painted on a tomb or the Chinese lettering on a street banner. When fans of the comics see images of the real thing they perhaps cannot help but be reminded of the books in which they first saw them.
(Via The Book Bench)
by Katherine Lonsdorf | 04.16.10 | 11:57 AM ET
Katherine Lonsdorf went to Jordan to broaden her views. An assault by a cab driver changed her perspective forever.
by Eva Holland | 12.03.09 | 1:38 PM ET
Foreign Policy takes a look at a fascinating study that suggests political boundaries could have an impact on the development of animals living on opposite sides of the line. One of the test cases: Israeli and Jordanian gerbils. From the story:
A second study revealed that Israeli gerbils are more cautious than their Jordanian friends… The agricultural fields on the Israeli side of the border not only create a gulf between habitats and thereby cause an increase in the number of species in the region, but they also hail one of the most problematic of intruders in the world: the red fox. On the Jordanian side, the red fox is far less common, so that Jordanian gerbils can allow themselves to be more carefree.
by World Hum | 04.16.09 | 10:04 AM ET
A tourist covered in mud reads a book on Jordan's side of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.
by Joanna Kakissis | 03.19.09 | 11:42 AM ET
Because of a marked decrease in water inflow from the Jordan River, the famous salt lake is shrinking so fast that some scientists believe that it could dry up in 50 years. But politics could also displace it from the list of the world’s top natural wonders, Reuters reports. The countries bordering the sea—Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan—must sign off for the Dead Sea to qualify for votes in 2010-2011 at the New Seven Wonders of Nature competition.
by Joanna Kakissis | 03.06.09 | 2:27 PM ET
Water levels have been dropping dramatically at the giant salt lake in the last 30 years, risking the viability of the thousands-year-old tourist attraction and Biblical landmark, Science Daily reports.
Researchers at the University of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany, discovered that the lake has lost 14 cubic kilometers of water in the last 30 years, an alarming drop which could translate into problems such as receding shorelines that could make it difficult for tourists to access the waters and the formation of a dangerous landscape of sinkholes and mud that could also damage roads.
The high-mineral concentration in the Dead Sea—the lowest body of water on Earth, at 400 meters below sea level—has attracted health tourists for thousands of years, apparently intriguing the likes of Aristotle, Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba. Modern doctors also tell their patients that soaking in the Dead Sea can ease skin ailments. Today, the area is bustling with resorts, spas, restaurants and hotels.
The scientists say climate change hasn’t caused the drop; rather, it’s a result of spiking human water use in the area.
by Julia Ross | 05.14.08 | 12:56 PM ET
I know it’s a cliché for visitors to the Middle East, but the call to prayer has totally seduced me during my two weeks in Jerusalem. At different spots across the city, I’ve been amazed at how the wailing notes can vary depending on the muezzin. At the mosque near my hotel, the muezzin strikes a somber tone, voice cracking on the high notes, while others I’ve heard in the West Bank sound more like trilling songbirds, drawing out “Allahhhh” for all it’s worth.
by Terry Ward | 10.08.07 | 10:49 AM ET
Four accomplished travelers -- Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Liz Sinclair, Terry Ward and Catherine Watson -- talk about the rewards and perils of hitting the road alone as a woman
by Jim Benning | 08.02.07 | 2:05 PM ET