Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friendly Travelers

The last post was quite a downer, so I thought I'd end with a happier note about the friendliness and genuine personal interest I found among my fellow travelers. I exchanged at least a few friendly words of conversation with every Middle Eastern man I sat next to on the plane or stood in line with at the airports. We talked about family, home countries, KAUST, religious beliefs, and our respective cultures.
I was able to learn a lot about Hajj and Omra, the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, from three men in particular who traveled from France and from India for Omra. All men of peace, they were excited about the things of God and eager to talk about him and about their religious traditions. One gentleman, after an hour of conversation at the Dubai airport in broken English and Arabic, told me that I would make a very good Muslim and gave me a small gift along with his email address.
I was very encouraged by these men and these conversations. I have heard that Saudi culture is very communal and friendly, even more so than in parts of the USA, and I hope that yesterday's relationships were not an abberation, but that the exchanges will continue freely with new friends and strangers throughout my stay here.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for friendly, talkative people : ) By the way... pretty picture from your hotel! Can't wait to see/hear more.