Arab World. The city never sleeps.

Arab cities after sunset You will find in most Arab cities that there is a rhythm to activities after sunset, which is quite different from, say, Europe or America. The cool of the evening is, of course, appreciated greatly during all seasons, but especially so in the...

Traditional Arab cities (Part 2)

The heat and the needs of prayer affect the days in an Arab city You will also notice how the normal full day in a traditional Arab city is affected partly by the heat and partly by the needs of prayer. At noon it would be normal for many shopkeepers and shoppers to...

Traditional Arab cities (Part 1)

Arab cities were adapted to the requirements of religious observance. Arab cities go back many centuries. Damascus, Cairo and Baghdad experienced town planning long before London or Paris. Public services were provided to ensure cleanliness, both personal (public...

At the Hammam

Hammam  حمام , meaning bathroom or bathhouse, comes from the root  ح - م - م . This root also forms words associated with heating, charcoal, bathing and to have a fever. If you are travelling in the Arab world, it is well worth a visit to a traditional bathhouse...

Eating Practices in Arab Countries

One of my favourite memories from my travels in Arab Countries has undoubtedly been food and the culture around food. In contrast with my British upbringing where food is so often eaten in a hurry and without ceremony, I was delighted to experience the richness and...

Do’s and Don’ts when travelling to Arab countries

In the past few years there have been a number of newspaper articles about tourists getting into trouble in Arab countries. These problems often occur when some tourists do not take the time to understand local or national customs and regulations. Here are some do's...

Making Arabic Script Appear Larger on Websites

I have been learning Arabic for six years now and all this time I have wondered why Arabic script looks so small on the screen even when I increase the zoom. This is unpleasant to look at and can quickly make you feel overwhelmed, straining your eyes to read the text....

Reflections on Becoming Bilingual

Reflections on Becoming Bilingual It has become common knowledge that knowing more than one language is good for the brain. It improves mental flexibility and makes it easier to switch between tasks. I recently attended a fascinating talk on bilingualism which was...

Bedouins in Oman: A foot in two worlds

As urbanisation creeps closer towards the desert, some fear that traditional Bedouin culture is being left behind. Sharqiya Sands, Oman - Leading towards the reddish, rolling dunes of Sharqiya Sands, the paved road gives way to a compressed dirt track, peppered on...

Help-Desk