Remedies, Detriments, And Moral Factors

The jurist, poet, and scholar Baha Al-Din Ibn Shaddad (بهاء الدين ابن شداد) was born in the city of Mosul, Iraq in 1145.  He was a close friend of the famed commander and statesman Saladin, and wrote a highly valued biography of that eminent conqueror.  He served for a time as the qadi (judge) of Aleppo, and in this capacity had much opportunity to acquaint himself to the realities of human behavior; it seems that, no matter the country or culture, career lawyers and judges make remarkably astute observers.  Ibn Shaddad’s biographer Ibn Khallikan says that the judge often liked to quote this line of verse from the poet Ibn Al-Fadl (known as Surr-Durr):

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The Indian Rope Trick

The traveler Ibn Battuta visited north India in the early 1330s  to seek the employment of the sultan Mohammad Ibn Tughluq.  At some point during his residence in the city of Delhi, he had occasion to observe the practices of the Indian holy men, whom he called jugis (i.e., yogis).

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The Sultan’s Two Goblets

The medieval Arab traveler Ibn Battuta passed through Persia during his many years of wanderings.  One of the regions he visited there was Lorestan, which is today a province in western Iran, situated in the Zagros mountains.  Lorestan was at that time ruled by Muzaffar Al-Din Afrasiyab, a member of the Hazaraspid dynasty, which was a line of Kurdish Sunni composition.  The sultans who ruled this country carried the title atabek, a hereditary Turkic and Persian title of nobility.

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The Travels Of Benjamin Of Tudela

The motivations of intrepid travelers are not difficult to discern.  The desire to get out, to get away from everything that reeks of contemptible familiarity, to smash through obstacles and barriers both mental and physical, to be confronted with stimuli both terrifying and strange:  these would be primary impulses.  Following close behind them would be a thirst to seek one’s fortune, to take a certain measure of the world and its people, and to test one’s mettle against the mettlesome natures of others.  It has been so for centuries.

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The Travels And Philosophy Of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

She was born in 1689 in Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, the eldest daughter of Evelyn, Duke of Kingston, and Lady Mary Fielding.  When she was only four years old, her mother died, and this event became a defining one in her life; for she was raised in a decidedly male environment, a fact that imparted her personality with a bluntness and daring that distinguished her from other aristocratic women of her era.  As seems to be the case for many great travelers, she had to win her education through her own efforts.  She developed an interest in the classical languages at an early age; but as good instruction was impossible to come by, she taught herself Latin, French, and the basics of Greek through her own unrelenting exertions.  By her teenage years, she was composing verses.

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The Travels And Achievements Of Giovanni Belzoni

Giovanni Battista Belzoni ranks as one of the most unexpected and fascinating of European travelers.  With little formal experience and education, he managed not only to explore and document various parts of the Arab world, but also to carry out engineering and logistical feats that would have daunted even the trained professionals of his era.  This fearless Italian was born in Padua in 1788.  He was but one of fourteen children, and the son of a barber; finding few career prospects in his native city, he set out for Rome at the age of sixteen with the intention of pursuing a monastic career.  The Church at least could offer him food, drink, and a roof over his head; and for a poor youth, these inducements were considerably attractive.

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The Instituto Ricardo Brennand, And The Praia Dos Carneiros

The Instituto Ricardo Brennand is a Recife cultural institution containing a museum, library, and armory.  Founded in 2002, it is an impressive complex and well worth the visit.  I always try to see local museums when I travel, and I was glad that I came here.

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Porto De Galinhas And Maragogi

We recently visited the beach areas of Porto de Galinhas and Maragogi.  Porto de Galinhas is a major tourist beach destination, and is located about 60 km. south of Recife, in the state of Pernambuco.  Maragogi is a greater distance away; it is located in the state of Alagoas.  Both of these places are known for their “natural pools” (piscinas naturais).

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Some Views Of Olinda, Brazil

Olinda is located in the greater Recife area in Brazil’s state of Pernambuco.  It is considered one of the best-preserved of the old colonial cities.  We visited the city today, and the result is the collection of photos below.  The city is about a 25 minute drive from downtown Recife.

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Recife, Brazil At Night

We took a boat ride in Recife last night.  It was really just a short ride from one part of the city to the historic downtown area, which was surprisingly alive, considering that it was Christmas Day.  I sampled a lot of the street food, as is my usual habit.  One interesting thing I noticed was that whenever the boat passed under a bridge, the passengers clapped in unison.  I supposed this was a local custom, perhaps having its origin as a way of warding off bad luck, or giving thanks for continued safety.  No one I spoke to seemed to know the origin of the custom.

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