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Category: Muslim World

Turkish Cyprus 2015

In 1974, Turkey invaded the northern part of the island of Cyprus and have controlled about 40% of the territory ever since. They’ve named it the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but in truth it’s just an exclave of Turkey now. After all, they officially use the Turkish language and the Turkish Lira, and have an enormous Turkish military presence.…

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Makkah (Hejaz) 2015

Click here to read part one of the story. Stage two of my first ever trip to Islam’s most revered cities (aka Muslim Disneyland) was the main event: the Umrah (i.e. pilgrimage) to Makkah – birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, where the Quran was first revealed and (according to Muslims) the holiest place in the universe. There are very specific…

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Madinah (Hejaz) 2015

In early 2015, I was given the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah pilgrimage. It almost didn’t happen though. Firstly, thanks to a corrupt and deceitful travel agent my passport sat in a drawer for two weeks instead of being sent to the embassy. Then, secondly, I was stymied by the sheer incompetence of the staff at…

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Istanbul 2015

Early 2015 and I was heading back to Istanbul once again for a quick cultural tour of both the European old city and the Anatolian side. I love playing tour guide for family and friends who are visiting new places and, seeing as I’d lived in this city for about six months, I was the perfect person to plan the…

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Andalucía Tour 2014 (1)

Another Christmas and another big foreign tour. Once again I’m spending my winter in a different country. This time around, I’ve decided to take some of my family to see the Andalusian region of Spain. As usual, we were taking the sensible option of flying into Malaga, hiring a car, and controlling our own schedule. If you have the ability…

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Essaouira 2012

While in Marrakech, I wanted to arrange at least one day trip to experience something different. Many of the options just weren’t practical if you were bringing a baby with you. (Hiking the Atlas Mountains? Errr… No thanks!) However, the driver I’d hired to shuttle us from the airport suggested a visit to Essaouira, a small town on Africa’s Atlantic…

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Marrakech 2012

For the third Christmas in a row I was off to foreign climes. This time I was heading to north east Africa to experience the madness of Marrakech – and taking a baby with me?! (My own baby. I hadn’t stolen someone else’s!!) I normally stay in budget and mid-range hotels when I travel. But, with a not-yet-one-year-old in tow,…

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Kuala Lumpur 2012

I’d been to Kuala Lumpur once before. However, this time I was going to Malaysia on the invitation of the Prime Minister – who I wasn’t able to meet – and the Deputy Prime Minister – who generously had dinner with me. Getting to mix with Malaysia’s political and cultural elite at various ceremonies and events is one of the…

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Doha 2012

OK, so here’s the thing. I went to Doha, the capital of Qatar, for professional reasons and took quite a few photos. However, I’d ordered a cheap SD card off ebay and… surprise! It failed dramatically before I could even get my photos off it. The lesson here is: BUY YOUR MEMORY CARDS FROM AMAZON! Only one photo survived. I…

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