the Truth

You want the Truth? Well here it is..


The Middle East will start off fun – The chaos, the food, the heat, the ruins.

Hummus will be the best you’ve ever eaten, Baklava will melt in your mouth, grand bazaars full of endless trinkets & hidden treasure, beautiful citadels turn golden in the afternoon sun, and shisha so sweet that breathing oxygen seems boring.

But eventually you’ll get tired of it.

Sleeping on roofs seems like a nice idea – until flies are buzzing your face at 5.30am
The incessant Call-to-Prayer blaring over the entire city every 5 minutes, too loud to even continue your conversation.
Nations of men that don’t wear deodorant, fingers stuck up their nose all day, spitting everywhere and grabbing there crotches like they’ve got crabs.
Women who (literally) can not see sideways because burkas are covering their field of vision, haphazardly bump through bizarres like logs down a river.
Taxi drivers who’s meters never work and never know where the bus-station is.
People yelling, there’s no such thing as talking, only yelling.
Mobile street vendors that always think you need a new watch/belt/socks/razor/TV remote during the middle of your dinner.
And nobody, in any business, anywhere, ever having change.

The great idea of hanging around longer to learn some Arabic suddenly becomes much less appealing, those extra, more distant day-trips never eventuate, and chicken shwarma is actually better back home.

Pleased that you made the effort, but skeptical if you’ll ever go back, you’ll grab some type of fortified souvenir (made in China), pack whats left of your luggage (as most of its gone ‘missing’ in the laundry),

Then finally you’ll leave.

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9 Responses to “the Truth”


  1. 1 Sue September 29, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Great summary for the would-be visitor Matt.

  2. 2 Nathaniel Try October 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Hey I’m spending November throughout Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

    Never been to the Middle East before, so any advice at all would be awesome and greatly appeciated!

    Completely understand if you don’t have time to get back to me.

    Love your blog!

    Cheers,

    Nathaniel Try

  3. 3 fotoautomat October 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    keep up the honesty matty x

  4. 4 trueman October 8, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Finally the Kovacs surfaces….good job.

    I leave the polished turd that is Tokyo tomorrow…the novelty wore off after one day…so i know how you feel…

  5. 5 Nicole @ Getting Back to the Basics October 20, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Besides the repetitive cuisine and the pushy guys at the markets, I loved Egypt! I wasn’t ready to leave in the least! I’m sorry you felt the way you did about the Middle East…

  6. 6 health,health,health October 24, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Tourism in a beautiful place, really can use the word the word to describe it now, that is happy, although the Middle East is a place where a mass of chaos, but it is also fun

  7. 7 thank you for the truth January 3, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Indeed ,nothing very funny there, you probably had more fun on the plane to your next destination.
    And thank you very much for your bright analysis, things are probably not so complicated as they seem to be (i am looking forward to see your article in the next Lonely Planet lebanon edition)

  8. 8 Owen December 26, 2011 at 5:16 am

    On the strength of this post, you probably should just stay home. I’ve travelled throughout the Middle East for the past thirty years and with the exception of an over-touristed Egypt, my experiences with the gracious and unspoilt peoples of the region prove the lie to your poisonous little whine. I spent two months hiking through Syria this spring and the most ignorant people I met were – other tourists.

    I’ve come across travellers who just couldn’t cut it, from Khartoum to Constantinople – they talk incessantly about their favorite taco stand back home, take inordinate precautions against the local water and never venture far from their group or their guidebook. After a few pathetic days they pack up their I-pods and inflatable coat hangers and fly home. Sound familiar to you?

    Seriously. Perhaps Disneyland is more your speed.

    • 9 leavemehere December 26, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Thanks for your opinion Owen, but its just that, an opinion, the same as mine.

      I’ve spent months and months in the Middle East for both work and leisure, with guidebook and without, so I feel I can adequately provide a realistic point of view.

      You have to appreciate that not everyone wants to travel Bear Grylls style, nor will have the capacity to do so, carving their cutlery from pieces of wood, and setting up camp with a few tree branches. So what? They’re not cut out for visiting the region because Owen said so?

      See you at Disneyland.


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