WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT MUSLIM COUNTRIES NOW

Foreigners find mystifying the amount of mayhem permitted in the United States despite ever more draconian laws against something loosely called terrorism.   — Gore Vidal, in the year 2000

Sheikh Badfish

At least one famous dead poet believes the “cruelest month” is April. This year, it’s February. Talk about disappointments: this February has been the Super Bowl—or World Cup or Grand Slam—of disappointments here at the Badfish and Chips Café. Take just last night, for instance. I woke up with a disturbing feeling in my chest. Not heartburn, not angina, more like “dread” but emanating from the heart.

 Then a glaring flash of light sizzled through the open window. I thought it might be headlights of a car, but I’m 21 floors up. So, perhaps one of those high-intensity lighting devices they put on top of buildings, so airplanes won’t crash into them—perhaps recently misaligned. But no. It took the thunder a good long while to roll across the vast sands here in Abu Dhabi. Rain, lightning, thunder in the desert; and water on my floor—disappointing, but more disappointing because I have a singular aversion to rain. Not exactly ombrophobia, the fear of rain, I simply dislike rain, intensely, for some reason. I would love to live in Washington State or Oregon—two ecstatically beautiful, lush, and open-minded states—but I’d abhor all that rain.

The second disappointment came a few days ago. I thought I might like to change my blog title—or maybe start a new blog geared specifically to older people who want to travel or read about a geezer who travels. A title for the blog came to mind almost immediately: Geezer Travel. I should have known—it was already taken by some grumpy geezer. Then, another name bubbled up in my head: Boomer Travel. Most informational sites meant to help you learn how to blog advise you to choose a name that suggests who you are, so potential readers know what your blog is about. Like Nomad Norman. Or Edith Eats. Or Haircare Hannah. You guessed it. Boomer Travel was already taken, too. But there are always two sides to everything: upside is the blog name is for sale, I can buy the thing—for US$2200. I’ll think give that a pass. I’m pretty sure you’ll agree: Badfish and Chips Café Travel, Beer Mugs, and AARP News is a bit dodgy as a blog name, but it does get a message across.

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Another disappointment came a couple weeks ago when I discovered a very cool app built into my iPhone 6. It automatically chooses photos from your phone and turns them into a movie with music. It was—as those pesky, millennial, loathed-in-Bhutan backpackers say—quite, freakin awesome. I don’t know how I discovered the app and don’t know its name, but as I was holding my phone and being properly awed watching movies of my photos, the screen went black. And would not light up again. I took it to the Genius Bar at the local Apple shop. You know that device doctors use to look inside your ears—an otoscope—the genius had one and looked right inside my iPhone 6 with his gizmo. Long story short: my iPhone 6 was pronounced dead right there on the operating table with a flashlight in its ear.

I’m not totally broken hearted about losing the iPhone 6 because it’s a legitimate excuse to buy a new 7 Plus, which I wanted to do, mainly because the 7 has an optical zoom lens that takes photos without distorting them (they say), but I couldn’t quite talk myself into spending the cash since my 6 was only a year and a half old and—I thought—in perfect condition. I don’t mistreat it, I’ve never dropped it, I hardly use it for anything but taking photos and hailing Uber taxis, I rarely even carry it with me. And I truly have no clue what all those other people are continuously looking at on their phones.

Two days later my Apple Magic Mouse goes down. Just stops mousing. Same diagnosis—dead, nothing can be done. Can’t open it, can’t fix it. Can’t even look inside its ear with a flashlight. If I were going to Speak Out, I might suggest someone start complaining about all this over-priced Apple gear made in China (!) breaking down. I mean, the gear looks cool and spiffy, and the box—my god, the box looks like you bought it at Tiffany’s. And the bag, with a rope handle! Can’t the Apple geniuses figure a way to make the stuff less prone to the vagaries of premature tech death?

The big disappointment came, however, when the Apple genius informed me that the photos and other data on my 6 would remain on my 6 and could not be retrieved. Now before anyone starts ranting at me for not backing them up, let me just say this: I am not stupid. Lazy, cantankerous, moody, indecisive, disproportionately procrastinistic (is that even a word? I’ll google it…um…later), and I may be afflicted with mad cow disease or frontal lobe syndrome, but I’m not stupid. I usually back up my photos and writings on three separate (rather expensive) portable hard drives—one in my office, one in my daypack, one at home. I’m sometimes a little anal about certain things, like backing up photos. And yet, yeah, I allowed this to happen—it’s not easy being me.

Perhaps the most disturbing disappointment came back near the beginning of February. You know what they say about one bad apple spoiling the barrel? The Bible says one bad apple won’t spoil the whole bunch. But out here in the real world, it appears that’s exactly what happens. Especially if you’re Arabic dwelling in the barrel of Islam. Here in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of February, I learned a worrying new word from a young Muslim university student: Islamophobia.

It may not be a new word to you, but I’d never heard it. Because I presently reside outside the States, travel in foreign lands, and rarely get back to the U.S. (and have no TV and don’t read newspapers), I’m a tad outside the news loop. And if I’m honest, I generally find it more satisfying to wallow in ignorance regarding most topics in the news—and don’t some news broadcasts just seem so biased one way or the other, as though they had a visceral agenda. Or as though their priority was more about attracting viewers or making money than spreading credible news. Whatever happened to Walter Cronkite, a man you could trust, a man you could believe in? I believe it best not to begin a diatribe regarding  Islamophobia; I fear I might start saying something I should not finish.

One thing, though, I might mention about my crusty, geezer self: if you travel to, say, Marrakesh  or Timbuktu, two atavistic Islamic towns, you may not find me the most friendly or outgoing person you run across in a café there. I’m rather an introvert and apparently, possess a smidgeon of shyness, which makes me appear aloof sometimes. I may not be the most religious, or the most spiritually aware, traveler you meet. You may discover I possess an overdose of macrophobia—the fear of long waits. And a touch of agoraphobia – a fear of crowded spaces, and acrophobia – the fear of heights. I don’t know if there’s a name for a fear of the sight of blood, but that one messes with my head, too. I don’t actually fear needles, but I don’t cherish them, nor embrace both their positive and negative sides.

I admit, I harbor my share of weaknesses—I’ve failed at numerous aspects of life. I’ve failed professionally at times. I’ve failed my lovers at times. I’ve failed my children at times. And my friends. Due to these failings, I’ve been labeled disparaging names. But Islamophobe was never one of them.

And if you’re American, no matter what strong or weak characteristics you possess, is it a name we call you? I’m thinking, we are too great a nation with too much responsibility to ourselves and the world to disgrace ourselves by wandering that far back in time; to back-step our progress toward enlightenment, righteousness and decency; and to blithely slither down into the dark ravine inhabited by the overbearing ogres of Ignorance, Bias, and Folly. This is the 21st century, for pete’s sake, not the 12th. Nor even the 20th.

I was right, as you see: I have begun a diatribe that I should not finish. So I will stop. I will spare you my shallow, ill-formed and potentially-politically-incorrect thoughts on topics such as the Christian Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery in the Rebel South, Native Americans, McCarthyism, Japanese detention camps, Trump’s Walls and—no, no. I will stop. But perhaps, we should ponder another new fear: potusophobia.

Through my years of travel, I have visited numerous Muslim countries. I’ve seen sights you’ll find nowhere else in the world. I’ve glimpsed remnants of history you’ll see nowhere else in the world. I’ve witnessed pieces of culture you’ll discover nowhere else. I’ve met wonderful people in Muslim countries, had delightful experiences and conversations with perfect strangers, been invited to dinner by perfect strangers, been offered many cups of tea and coffee by perfect strangers, and when in need, I’ve been helped immensely by perfect strangers in these countries.

9 THINGS YOU FIND IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES

ABU DHABI:

Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque holds the largest single-loomed carpet in the world and perhaps the largest chandelier in a mosque, weighing 12 tons and garnished with Swarovski crystal and 24-carat gold plate. Non-Muslims are welcome to visit during non-prayer times. The mosque is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture, with many of the traditional features (domes, arches, inlaid tile) and at the same time is upscale contemporary in design and simply luscious in detail. Nobody walks out of here thinking: “yeah, that was okay.” No, they walk out knowing precisely what the original intention of the word “awesome” feels like.

INDONESIA

Bali Rice paddy

Rice paddies, coconut palms, and thatched roofs abound in the tiny village of Tegallalang located just north of Ubud on the island of Bali. Try to arrive early in the morning to catch the sun’s rays backlighting the rice fronds as they dance in the breeze, and to beat the tour buses and taxis. Be sure to visit a local café on the ravine above the rice fields for an actually-affordable kopi luwak or a traditional breakfast of burbur ayam or nasi goreng, but mostly to linger and gaze a good long while at the lush and eloquent artistry of the landscape.

DUBAI:

Burj Al Arab - Dubai

Madinat Jumeira & Burj Al Arab:  Madinat Jumeira is the largest, and perhaps most unique, resort in Dubai—it boasts canals you can sail and appears as a traditional town, with numerous restaurants, shops, even a souk. Beyond it, the Burj Al Arab rests on its own island just off the mainland in the Persian Gulf; it is the only 7-star hotel in the world. A helo pad masquerades as a crow’s nest on top; each suite has its own butler. If your first thought is to wonder how much a room or the helo ride from the airport costs, this place is most likely way overbudget.

EGYPT:

Pyramids - Giza, Egypt

Pyramids at Giza: built almost 4600 years ago, precisely how they were erected is still quite a mystery to expert Egyptologists. They guestimate that over two million stone blocks, weighing from 2½  to over 14 tons each were utilized in the construction. Rent a camel and circumnavigate them for a lesson in humility.  Visit during winter when the weather is clear and temperatures more pleasant than summer in a desert. Carry water any time you go. And don’t rush—spend enough time here to fathom exactly what you are looking at.

IRAN:

Iran Dowry Chest

Shiraz dowry chest:  Before the invention of shelves or closets — where do you hang shelves in a tent?— most people in the world stored their worldly possessions in wooden boxes. This Persian dowry chest, with brass studs and appliqué plates would have been used by a bride to carry her dowry of clothing, fine fabrics, and jewels. She also probably utilized a steel or brass push-key spring lock to secure her valuables.

JORDAN:

Kilim Carpet - Jordan

Kilim carpet:  in Aqaba, a shop keeper named Haroun tells me the oldest known image of a loom appears on an Egyptian dish, from maybe 4000 BC. But it is believed the loom appeared earlier than the dawn of civilization, which makes a good argument for seamstress being the “oldest profession.” Nomads wandering Jordan, perhaps 100 years ago, wove this kilim carpet with weft-facing flatweave threads and no pile; they produced natural blue die from the indigo plant and used the rug as flooring in their tents.

TURKEY:

Turkish Coffee Pot

Turkish Coffee:     most people now believe an Ethiopian goatherd first discovered coffee, or rather, his goats discovered it. The goatherd simply observed them going slightly berserk after eating the ripe berries off the tree. Coffee in Turkey is different than what you might expect from your local Starbucks. Turkish coffee is prepared more like American cowboy coffee, brewed in a copper, open-top pot and sweetened with sugar while still in the pot. This elaborate coffee decanter, near the ancient town of Ephesus, elegantly displays the importance of a good cup of coffee to start your morning, or evening, anywhere in the world.

BAHRAIN:

Henna hands

Henna hands:  some experts believe the art of henna design is over 9000 years old and because of its cooling properties, was first applied in layers without design to cover and cool the body. It is now used traditionally in numerous countries during special occasions, such as weddings or birthdays, and also, as a form of decoration, the way you might apply eye liner. If you live in California, you may spot Madonna or Liv Tyler sporting the stuff.

MALDIVES:

Maldives Over-water Jacuzzi

Jacuzzi over water: guidebooks rave about the white sand beaches, unrivaled luxury, crystal-clear water, and vibrant sea life in the Maldives. Sure, of course, you’ll find all that. But sometimes, you just may desire to kick back and watch the day saunter along, while lounging in your jacuzzi on the deck of your over-water bungalow on an island quite literally in the middle of nowhere—an island you feel fairly confident produces no Islamophobia or any other phobia, except maybe the fear of departure from a place like this.

In my travels, I’ve made friends with people in Islamic countries, and lived beside them. I’ve watched women stand with outstretched arms in the rain and get drenched, like a child seeing rain for the first time, because it rains so rarely in a desert. I’ve seen old men weep when a favored camel died. I’ve seen two young men get out of their cars, walk toward each other and shake hands, then touch noses and smile before beginning their argument about whose fault the car accident was. At their core, at the center of their culture and religion and traditions, they are some of the most peaceful, loving, and warm-hearted people I’ve encountered. And sure, I understand our fears sometimes force us to become who we are. However, I pray that the one bad apple of terrorism—attended by its writhing worm of fear—will not change all this for me.

See more Lucille’s Photo Rehab

See more DP Photo Challenge: Against the Odds

See more:                 RIGHT NOW IN THE MALDIVES

Jordan:                       ANATOMY OF A NOMAD HEART & ICE CREAM

More Bali:               (EXTRA) ORDINARY: PREPARING THE PADDY

See more DP Photo Challenge: A Good Match

122 comments

  1. Good to read you again, Badfish. And chips. I must report that I have not yet been to a Muslim country (if you don’t count Bosnia and Herzegovina while still within Yugoslavia. I only remember the muezzin). They have just built the first mosque in Slovenia. I don’t know if it will be open to non-Muslims and if so, I’ll visit it. As for other countries, I’d love to see Morocco and Iran and Turkey, to name but a few. I’m glad that you wrote this and I’ve read it, but not for your and everybody’s trouble. One question, who is the gentleman in the top photo?

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  2. Well, I’m glad that you have a forum to exercise your inner voice. Yes, your advice is sound. Do travel where you want before… All I can say is: hope is a precious descriptor that keeps me afloat. Happy travels.

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    • Sally, thanks so much for listening to my inner voice. Nobody usually wants to hear that stuff! And I’m with you: hope is sometimes all we need to get us through the day, or into a foreign land. I’m wondering—do you have an iPhone 7?

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  3. nice trip…thanks! I especially like the mosque with the humungous chandelier…wow! I confess that I always make it a point to stay on the perimeter and not stand directly under a big chandelier….guess I have a phobia about Murphy’s Law of chandeliers….all that glitter is calming, and may be a trick. Oh, I also like the pyramids at Giza. I have never been to Giza, but have spent numerous happy hours at pyramid sites in Mexico.

    While tourists always stand around measuring the huge pyramids with their eyes…squinting through little squares they made with their hands, saying stuff like “how did they ever do that!” But to me its usually pretty obvious…bringing those huge stone slabs from far off lands always makes me wonder why they didn’t build them where the stones were found….but what do I know. It occurs to me everytime I maneuver a concrete block across the driveway…the same techniques would have worked for them at Giza. Besides, the pyramids were undoubtedly built by aliens, who would have had huge backhoes and ball-bearings. great to hear from you, Badfish!

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  4. I also love visiting Islamic countries BF, but I might not again. I travel with a female friend and although we’re no spring chickens, and hence not particularly alluring anymore, I’m not sure how safe I’d feel now. I hope that changes before I’m too old to go anywhere because meanwhile it’s getting harder to find anywhere interesting to go that’s also affordable!

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  5. This is a wonderful list of travel suggestions, Badfish. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman is another amazing place you can visit. In fact, Oman is an amazing place. We spent three weeks there and at no time did we feel unsafe or unwelcome. I often tell people they should go there.
    Sorry to hear all your stories of woe. Hopefully things will improve as the year goes on. Don’t change your blog name. I like it just how it is!

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  6. You make that Keffiyeh, tunic and robes (and, dare I say, thongs?) look FAB-O-LUS.
    Here’s another term you probably haven’t come across yet: Trumpistan.
    The whole business is enough to put this in-a-former-life-I-must-have-been-a-rain-forest-fungus Great North-wet resident in a real snit, as if I woke up from a terrible dream and found myself living in the hot, dusty, dry and barren desert. Just sayin’.

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  7. Oh Mr. Badfish, I have been wondering where you have been…now I know that wonderful world of technology failed you for awhile! I honestly have thought of going back to pen and paper for my accounting work at times…
    This blog is troublesome to me, as it is now apparent that the world is well aware of what has gone on here in the past month,…please continue to be the ambassador of goodwill and acceptance that a great many of us here in the U.S. practice…I have yet to understand why bad people are lumped in with the good just because of one common denominator. It is a vicious cycle that now many will think all Americans feel this way just because we are Americans…please rest assured the majority do not.
    I still hold out hope that by the time my daughter is old enough, we will be able to visit these countries and see and experience all the wonderful cultures that make up this beautiful planet. Many of us are fighting and will continue to do so…

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    • keli–yeah, been away. Work woes. And life just gets in the way some times. I would love to honor and promote goodwill and acceptance where ever needed. But a badfish can only do so much, you know. I did wonder just what was the temperature of things back in the States. Wondered if we still had some open minds.

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  8. What a lovely thoughtful post. Sorry to hear about your Februarius horribilis (a term I just made up). I particularly liked your short piece about the two young men greeting one another with affection before arguing who had caused the car accident.

    Please don’t change the name of your blog: it’s a wonderful and unique name. You said it right when you said ‘At their core, at the center of their culture and religion and traditions, they are some of the most peaceful, loving, and warm-hearted people I’ve encountered.’ We found that wherever we went in Jordan and Egypt last fall.

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    • Don, right…Februarius horribilis: wish I’d have thought of that term! Actually it hasn’t been so bad. I still have good coffee to drink, croissants to eat, a bed, a window I can close. What else does a guy need? We even shake hands with the police when they arrive at the accident!! The nose thing is a local custom that seems so appealing.
      And right: peaceful and loving…but I bet you guys find that most everywhere you go….the mirror effect.

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  9. Thanks for your thoughts in this post. Beautiful places you recommend (and coffee too!!). I hope technology treats you better in the near future. I have become a trumpophobe because I don’t want to live in Trumpistan. It’s good you stay away from the news. Most of us back in the USA are trying to figure out how to stay informed without going bananas. I may just read blogs in the future…

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    • Ha! Yeah, I’m hoping the god of technology offers a bit of mercy soon! I love technology, and then, I hate it. I had not heard of Trumpistan until today! Funny. But then, maybe not that funny. And right…no news is good news.

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  10. Wonderful to see you again Badfish. I was worried you might have disappeared out to sea. Can’t believe you turned down the steal of a deal for Boomer Travel.
    Good on you to be disconnected Ted from the news. Try to keep it that way. I spend a great deal of time shaking my head and trying to keep my eyeball from flying out of its socket. In happier news our sponsored Syrian family is doing fabulous and proving what can happen we all get along and work together.

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    • Sue…yeah, good to be back. I had the work woes. Still have them. But I’m a trooper, trooping through here. And sure, 2200 bucks is a steal, but????
      I’ll steer clear of news, if you keep your eyeballs in your socket. Glad to here your Syrian family is fabulous!! One thing is: good is always good.

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  11. Welcome back Oh Bad One. Hey, without going into depressing details, it’s much bigger than Islamophobia. So you might want to expand your new blog title search to something like, Places To Visit, While There Are Still Places To Visit – Anywhere.

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    • Steveo…..you always have the best comebacks!! I think you’re right. I’m going to go change that title right now. Or…write another one with places that might disappear or build walls.

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  12. You’ve been as absent as I have, but here you are back with a thoughtful, appealing post while I continue to languish in my moving funk. Hope to be back to normal life and normal blogging soon – meanwhile, glad to see you back (and with all kinds of similar thoughts to what is stewing in my head).

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    • Lex…yes, I’ve been away…work woes and chores. But someone has to keep doing this blog stuff, eh, might as well be us. Hope your move is going OK. I just hate the idea of moving again…all that packing and thinking about things.

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  13. Islamophobia is another name for collective hysteria and base stupidity. Just my opinion but I’m a grumpy old woman and I say so! I loved this piece unreservedly and (rare in my case) agreed with every word about every issue. Chapeau, sir!

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  14. Heaves sigh! It’s good to be back 🙂 Well, I really mean to have YOU back. And talking good sense (apart from all that iPad stuff- I can’t afford Apple so I can’t help you with the problem 😦 ) So you know I can’t afford the penthouse suite either, but I do covet that Turkish coffee pot. Couldn’t we solve all the world’s problems over a good pot of coffee? I wish someone would!

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  15. Been to some of these countries – much wonderful art and nature, and good natured people. Stay away from the news…every day I wake up and hope it is just a bad (!) dream. No pun intended…

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  16. that sheikh photo is really fun, bf.
    and are you still thinking of a new blog name?
    and weird about the phone – wonder if you downloaded a bug or some bad code….
    love your exquisite ending photos = and I did not know that henna also cooled… we had it done at a wedding and i was surprised at how long it lasted – also – while flying back home it seemed like so many people kept staring or asking about my henna hand…..

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  17. Another great blog post! You never fail to inspire. But I hate to tell you this. Some of us already have potusophobia… Thinking of getting a shrink!

    (Pssst…Do you think you could leave your email address on my contact page? 😉 If you don’t mind, I mean.)

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    • Calensariel, well thanks again so much. But I’m sorry you already have a dose of teh potus-thingy!! It’s just not fair, is it? Let’s just pray and hope all turns out very well for all of us?!! I don’t hear about much of what’s going on, but lately I heard about “wiretaps” and messages to the Russians. All sounds scarey…let us pray.

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  18. I’ve been treated better in Muslim countries like Jordan, Indonesia, Egypt and Turkey, than just about anywhere. In the Middle East we were invited to drink tea and talk with strangers countless times, and in Indonesia and other Muslim areas of SE Asia, the people are just purely nice. I agree that now is a good time to go for many reasons, maybe the most important is to be an ambassador for the USA and let people know we are not all assholes.

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    • Jeff, well, that is understandable, because their nomadic culture demands a bit of down-home niceness. Nobody wants to be lost or sick in the desert and come upon a tent and not get a cup of coffee and hunk of goat!! Being cool, and nice, is in their DNA, I think.

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  19. Love this post! Yes’m as the US is going nuts why not travel more and I would love to see every country you have mentioned! It is a dream of mine! Keeping writing and inspiring us to travel and see more!

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  20. Dear Mr. Fish,

    I’ve missed you and of course, really enjoyed this post.

    I recently commented on another blog that YOU and she were my two favorite Bloggers. At the risk of offending a few of your readers, (like those offended by your Thong Photography). I am going to insert a link to her post for today. I find her total irreverence hysterical, and often belly laugh when I read her. But be forewarned. Her posts are often NC-17!! In other words, do not read if you are under 17, even WITH your parents’ consent!

    http://theshamefulsheep.com/2017/03/a-lesson-in-anatomy/

    That I like both of you is in no way a reflection on you, however what this says about me, I’m still working through…

    Glad you are back and so sorry for the travails that kept you from us!

    Did you spot yourself in my recent post??

    https://chosenperspectives.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/details-details-unfinished-holiday-gifts/

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    • Kathie, this is odd: I had to “accept” your comment…as though you were a new commenter or something. Did you change something on your blog? Or is it just gremlins? I have missed your posts, will pop over to the link and also check out your other blog suggested–I’m definitely over 17 and love over 17 writing and stuff.

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  21. I agree the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi is so awesome!! as well as Dubai, been to some middle eastern Countries too and yes I agree they have some unique architecture old and new so better visit them now. Actually, I am living in UAE and it’s one of the safest Country in the World.

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    • vinneve…oh yeah, the Grand Mosque in Dubai is very cool, also. It’s the one near the old souq, right? I’m presently in Abu Dhabi, and you’re right—I feel safer here than most places I’ve been (except when I’m driving)…

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      • Sorry but the Grand Mosque is in Abu Dhabi not Dubai. Perhaps the one you visited in Dubai was the Jumeirah? RE Driving you make me laugh because it’s true! You need to learn defensive driving haha!

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  22. I’m with you. I stay away from the news. It gets majorly depressing. Most of it is exaggerated and inaccurate. I don’t even like to mention the “name” for the most part and block any references because I get anxiety attacks over it.

    I do want to comment that how you are treated in some of the Muslim countries may be true but keep in mind, you are a male. Women are not generally treated as well even though you say they would be there. Not traveling alone anyway. My girlfriend had moved to Dubai for two months and found it extremely constricting. She was not allowed to go anywhere unaccompanied and found it stressful. She was pretty much confined to their apartment. She was restricted to certain areas only and even walking her dogs was an ordeal. Her husband is still there and has no problem, but he’s at work all the time. A woman alone is a different matter. Of course she moved there during Ramadan ( did I spell that right?) or something like that and after everything she went through to get there she quickly returned.
    Perhaps other women have had different experiences, but were they alone? That is something to consider, you know. I don’t know how many women can travel as freely as you do by themselves for that reason. In Europe it is different, but even so a women still need to exercise caution and or be with a male to have a good experience. You know how outgoing I am, I’d be in trouble all the time.

    Of course, sexism isn’t restricted to those countries. I was surprised that with all the liberalism in California that when I went to make a major purchase, I was asked if I was married and when I said, yes, they wouldn’t talk to me unless my husband was present. I was aghast! I’m sure if I’d had cash to throw down that would have been a different matter, but still. So, standards still vary for women just about everywhere, despite presupposed societal advances.

    Glad to hear you’re back and sorry about your MAC travails. We’ve all missed your entertaining posts.

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    • Either your girlfriend was misinformed or she misinformed you, or she felt some kind of inner turmoil or fear because I know many women here who go places alone every single day. Dubai is a tourist destination…it would be silly to not allow women to move freely. And the UAE is the safest country in the region and safer than most in the whole world. And you’re right, women need to be careful anywhere, but the chances of them being hurt are far less here than the US.
      And really…who is to judge what is worse: seeing teenagers running around in thongs and skirts that barely cover their thongs, or a woman with her shoulders and legs covered? It’s simply a matter of tradition, culture, modesty. But yeah, good and bad in everything, and we all get to have our own agenda or preferences.

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      • Well, I told the hub, I didn’t get it. I was disappointed, but as you probably know, some people just don’t travel well at all. They can be closed minded about anything new. I’ve seen that a lot and I don’t get it. Yet, as we get older if we’ve not traveled abroad much we can get pretty stuffy. I’m sure there are places you and anyone else might not like at all no matter what. To be honest though I never thought of her as one of those who resisted anything new and she was so excited about going too, so perhaps there was more to it. I couldn’t say.

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  23. Wonderful post, Badfish. We have Washington and Oregon in common. I went to high school in Portland. My first husband was from Seattle, so we traveled back and forth for the years we lived in Portland to see his family. I love the Northwest but would hate to go back to all that rain now. I have to agree with Carol about not changing your name. It’s not common, so it’s memorable. I am sorry about all your Apple problems. You’ll have to read my post about losing my iPhone 6 if you haven’t already. It’s one of my most popular posts, and you will sympathize with my problems. I am a technology, website, and blogging problem magnet. 🙂

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    • Yeah, I really like everything about Oregon, Portland in particular–great, great city. But no…on the rain!! It’s legal to smoke that funny stuff there now, isn’t it? Ditto on being a problem magnate!! As they say: what you fear will come upon you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are making me homesick! It’s so much fun to go back, but my husband hates rain! Oops! 🙂 My brother still lives there, but the only thing he’s smoking is too many cigarettes. I guess he figures the rain is going to wash out the air that goes into his lungs! 🙂 I’m sure it is legal, though. It’s legal here in CA.

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  24. I’m glad you’re not an Islamophobe, Badfish, but I’m not surprised. It often seems that the people ranting most volubly about Islam are the ones who know zero about it. I know you’ve traveled all over the place, so I’d have been shocked to discover you were any kind of bigot.

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  25. You always pack so many subjects into each post, I sometimes feel I have to leave important reactions out, but I will try to select my best ones here.

    First and foremost. You have no idea how America is unraveling if you have not kept abreast of the news. Islamophobia is the least of it. Democratophobia is in control of our government. I know you don’t want to hear bad news and I know you think I am exaggerating. But, I am telling you that what is transpiring is on a scale not seen since the 1930s and never here in the US, before. Never. It’s terrifying.

    Last week, I went to a website — or so I thought — for a restaurant we wanted to try. Suddenly, my computer was overtaken and locked by malware. This happened once before and I was able to disable it. Not this time. It took me hours and I had to literally reformat the computer. Luckily, I use a standalone, separate hard drive for my work. But getting the computer back to operating condition for everything else and reloading programs, passwords, etc. was a horror.

    I have always loved the Middle East. I love the food, the art, the history, the culture, Sufism — however, being a woman, I do not love the treatment of women. It is hard to justify it in the 21st century. Nevertheless, I visited those countries and even considered doing some work there. My aunt spent a couple of years working as a professional in Iran and loved it. What else to say. Back to my first comment. Islamophobia is just an excuse for the haters to hate, to spill their dark souls out and blame it on others. Can’t be humorous about this, personally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t want to listen or believe what you were saying months ago. But apparently, you were right. Life is precarious. The world is precarious. Where is Jonathan Livingston Seagull when a guy needs him, eh? I do wish I had taken the ferry over to Iran when the going was good, and safe. I have bought a couple Iranian dowry chests, though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I miss the Persian rug market. Hard to get them. The ones I have were really made in Pakistan. It didn’t help for our “leaders” to tag them part of an axis of evil, lol! Still, you live in an interesting place and get to all the exciting visiting spots now while I am fearful of setting foot outside the US because of the blowback to our current crazy. xo, BF, you are the best.

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  26. But, I forgot!

    Have you heard of Art Wolfe? Check him out: http://artwolfe.com/.

    He ties his photography to environmental organizations and has published 100 books, covering the entire earth from his travels over the past five decades. You could produce similar books.

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    • Thanks for the tip. But I think Art Wolfe is a tad out of my league, eh? And besides, he has to carry all that camera crap around with him when he travels. And waders, for pete’s sake! But thanks, and wouldn’t it be cool if I could come up with some way to pay for my travel through a blog!!! How cool would that be.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You probably don’t care enough about money. But, I am convinced you could do it, one way or another. xx And, I agree about the camera equipment. He also takes people on photographic class tours, so that is something requiring a lot of pre-planning. You like to be ad hoc and I don’t blame you.

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  27. Sorry about the iPhone 6. Maybe it felt very neglected that it decided to call it a day on you. Or, it could have had its hard broken from not getting enough attention. Speaking of fancy technology, I bought myself the very pricey point-and-shoot Canon G7X Mark ii…as an upgrade from the first generation model. I’m already regretting it because of the price…

    The countries you describe here are immensely beautiful. Having traveled Malaysia and Indonesia, I can attest to how inviting some locals there can be.

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  28. Thought I’d pop by, see what and where you are these days. Like the new layout! You mentioned trying out a new blog. Keep me posted! Miss reading your stuff.

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  29. I can’t believe I found an unread Badfish post buried in my mailbox! The horror!

    As I was reading this, I realized how much I missed your writing and photos. If this is an example of you being an introverted curmudgeon, I desperately wish that the world would produce more like you.

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  30. I wouldn’t mind my iPhone 6 conking, so I have a legitimate excuse to buy the 7.

    Couldn’t agree more about visiting Muslim countries, and the rants…..against Apple and Islamophobia. You should return to India now to truly experience the latter. And chest thumping nationalism. Getting depressingly strident by the day. I am planning to visit Kashmir next month just to prove most people there are just people and not all terrorists. Friends are convinced I will not return.

    PS: You make one handsome sheik 🙂

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    • The phone company here has a deal where if you buy through them, they will upgrade your phone each year with the latest model. I didn’t do that, but it seems like a great deal.
      First time I went to Kashmir, I didn’t realize the ladies with the scarves on their heads were Muslims…I was dumb in those days. Almost died on Lake Dal.

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  31. Don’t change the name of your blog, it’s perfect and easy to remember. Sorry about your photos. I still have my 6plus but put most of my photos on a iPhone disk drive – wow does it save room on your phone. Small enough to keep in your pocket so it’s easy to insert back in your phone should you need a photo. As for some of your comments about all the different phobias I found interesting, never heard of macrophobia but I think I have it as I hate long lines. As an American I love Donald Trump so it makes certain remarks uncomfortable to hear however I will say everyone has a point of view tainted by their own experience, childhood and religion. That is all I will say about and to comment on islamaphobia would require a post in its entirety. Looking forward to reading about your next travels my friend :))

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  32. Hey! Just catching up after a long hiatus and trip abroad. Love this post (especially the Fear of Departure from the Maldives). Great thoughts and words throughout. Lovely to read you again. Hope you’re well wherever you are!

    Like

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