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July 2008

Of all the sorts of writing it’s possible to do badly, maybe travel writing—apart from sex—is the easiest. Is there any place on earth, I wonder, which really isn’t “a country of contrasts”? But Judith Chalmers, Lord love her, need blush no more. For as it turns out, even those with 2:1s from perfectly respectable universities are prey to the hot’n’heavy travel bug which knocks them off their feet the minute they set foot on foreign soil.

It’s nothing new of course—inhabitants of this soggy island have always been vulnerable to sexual sunstroke. A few words of Spanish historically have a powerful aphrodisiac effect on many young Englishwomen of working-class stock, while their more delicately-bred sisters come over all unnecessary at the thought of a Provençal hot-pot.

But what about when the very thing that turns the sallow traveller on is a belief system—radical Islam—which some consider to be the biggest threat to peace, pleasure and progress since (gulp!) actual fascism? One can understand silly old T.E. Lawrence getting his knickers in a twist over anything in a dishdash; but why on earth would a woman buy into such a fantasy? An educated woman, too—not some teen tot who fell for a Turkish waiter while on holiday with her parents.

Here is Sally Emerson coming over positively purple about Oman in the Sunday Times last month: “The country’s tribal customs and its domination by Islam have helped to preserve its toughness… You seldom see a woman in the streets and shops of Oman; if you do, she is swathed in black, like a shadow. It is as though the women have vanished, been stolen away, and all that is left is men, stately men, like angels in their crisp, clean white gowns and fetchingly embroidered caps…” (Oooh, I bet I know who did all that gown-laundry and cap-embroidery, and it wasn’t those tough angels!)

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Mary Jackson
July 30th, 2008
1:07 PM
Western women who condone or, worse still, convert to Islam, are profoundly stupid. Dozy bints, I call them, and have written about them at length here.

July 21st, 2008
11:07 AM
Nice one Julie. Good to see you have lost none of your bite. The middle class "traveller" has always been far too pronbe to looking down on ordinary tourits, and in conveniently ignoring the reality of what they see around them.

July 11th, 2008
9:07 AM
Excellent article, thanks.

July 10th, 2008
9:07 PM
Good to see the Multi-Culti fashion being called out. "A cheap holiday in other people's misery", indeed.

John the Fierce
July 10th, 2008
3:07 PM
The allure of exotic Islam is like the old allure of exotic communism. They have the appeal of curiosities to wealthy and bored Westerners. One good night in a gulag or a week of beatings at the hands of your husband would change all that, of course, but usually by that time folks have flown off to the next exotic spot where they can fill their vacant minds with more drivel.

Matthew Wilson
July 10th, 2008
12:07 PM
Well said, Julie.

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