Destination: Morocco

Detained in the Sahara

It was night. Soldiers ordered Bill Donahue from the vehicle. Would they administer primitive justice?

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The Travel Writing of Paul Bowles

Paul Bowles is best known for his 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky, but he produced quite a bit of travel writing during his lifetime, including one of our 100 Most Celebrated Travel Books of All Time (see #87). Much of his shorter stuff, covering places as diverse as the Costa del Sol and Sri Lanka,  has just been collected into an anthology edited by Rough Guides founder Mark Ellingham. It just earned a positive review in The Independent.

Michael Jacobs calls particular attention to a piece included in the anthology about travel writing itself.

In this 1958 piece, Bowles voices concerns only too relevant today.

At a time when “in theory anyone can go anywhere”, he saw the genre as having shifted in emphasis “from the place to the effect of the place upon the person”. However, he thought that the sort of people likely now to travel would be generally unsympathetic towards subjective impressions and prefer a work containing practical information. Bowles believed that a travel book should be nothing more than “the story of what happened to one person in a particular place”, but he feared “such books form a category which is doomed to extinction”.

Fortunately for those of us who love great travel writing, they’re not quite extinct yet.

The Back Lanes of Tangier

On the pleasures of wandering in the evolving Moroccan city

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What’s That Smell?

What’s That Smell? iStockPhoto

Paul Lynch explores the intersection of travel and the nose

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The Onion Reveals How to See the ‘Real Morocco’

It’s just down the alley that curves into the distance, and Tahar Hissou knows you’ll like the woven goods you’ll find down there. “I could tell by your Boise State University T-shirt that you are an educated man who knows it is truly best to visit my country alone,” he writes. “That is how you get to see the real Morocco, the one you cannot find in any guidebook.”

Trekking the High Atlas, Taking the Pain

Trekking the High Atlas, Taking the Pain iStockPhoto

A fall in Morocco's rugged mountains left Jeffrey Tayler writhing in agony -- and wondering whether to abandon his journey

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Interview With Nicholas Kristof: Traveling and Tweeting Under ‘Half the Sky’

Nicholas Kristof Photo by Fred R. Conrad

David Frey asks the author about his dream vacation, Twitter, travel to hellholes and the trip that changed his life

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Slate Takes a Ramadan World Tour

Slate Takes a Ramadan World Tour Photo by tinou bao via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by tinou bao via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Writer Jason Rezaian has spent time in five different Muslim-majority countries—Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Iran and Turkey—during the annual month of fasting, and in a short essay he reflects on the subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences in the ways each one celebrates their shared holy month.

Paul Theroux: ‘The Cross-Country Trip is the Supreme Example of the Journey as the Destination’

Yet one of the most intrepid travel writers alive had never driven across the U.S. So when the Smithsonian asked him and five other travel writers to take on their dream assignments, he picked the cross-country trip. He delivered a beautiful story. He writes:

In my life, I had sought out other parts of the world—Patagonia, Assam, the Yangtze; I had not realized that the dramatic desert I had imagined Patagonia to be was visible on my way from Sedona to Santa Fe, that the rolling hills of West Virginia were reminiscent of Assam and that my sight of the Mississippi recalled other great rivers. I’m glad I saw the rest of the world before I drove across America. I have traveled so often in other countries and am so accustomed to other landscapes, I sometimes felt on my trip that I was seeing America, coast to coast, with the eyes of a foreigner, feeling overwhelmed, humbled and grateful.

The other five writers involved are Susan Orlean (Destination: Morocco), Francine Prose (Japan), Geoffrey C. Ward (India), Caroline Alexander (Jamaica) and Frances Mayes (Poland). Here’s Jan Morris’s introduction to the project.

Ethical Travel for the Mindful Tourist

Ethical Travel for the Mindful Tourist Photo by joiseyshowaa (Creative Commons).
Photo by joiseyshowaa (Creative Commons).

Argentina, Bolivia and Bulgaria top the 2008 list of the top ten ethical travel destinations, according to Ethical Traveler, a project of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Earth Island Institute. Researchers studied 70 developing countries “from Albania to Zimbabwe” to see which are actively improving their natural environment and the lives of their people through tourism. Half of the countries on the list are in Latin America but none in Asia, where runaway development has wreaked havoc on the land and human rights abuses continue to worsen.

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Eight Best Cities for Street Food

Istanbul iStockphoto

Terry Ward lifts the lid on a few of the world's tastiest places to eat the people's cuisine

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How Should I Spend My Time in Spain?

Vagabonding traveler Rolf Potts answers your questions about travel

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Mint and Djinns in Fes

Morocco, Tea pot Photo by Terry Ward.

Terry Ward wondered if her Moroccan friend believed in genies. Over a pot of tea, she learned just what she wanted to know.

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Suffering and Smiling: Vanity Fair Does Africa

Africa is hot. Why? So we can save it? Frank Bures deconstructs the magazine's latest issue and what it says about Western views of the continent.

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Among the Nomads in Morocco

Morocco, like many places, is modernizing. I’ll admit that last time I was in Marrakech, I spent a night in the Ville Nouvelle at a flashy South Beach-style club, sipping top dollar martinis and being wooed by French card players in town for a poker tourney. To really experience traditional Morocco, however, you have to get away from Marrakech’s trendy clubs. Taking that concept to the extreme, the Guardian’s deputy travel editor, Isabel Choat, recently tagged along with a semi-nomadic family during its annual early summer migration from the lowlands to the cooler pastures of the High Atlas mountains.

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