I’ve neglected my own feature the last few Mondays, frankly because I hadn’t read any magazine pieces that interested me enough to write about. This week, however, I am back!
The April 16th edition of The New Yorker is labelled “The Journeys Issue” and since I am an aspiring world traveller temporarily restriced to the armchair variety, I devoured the articles it contained.
The most fascinating article for me was entitled Modern Mecca by Basharat Peer which detailed his experience on the hajj pilgrimage, one of the 5 pillars of Islam Muslims are required to follow. Islam does have a generally negative reputation in the Western media which comes from a few crazy extremists and plain ignorance; this article described a part of the religion that non-Muslims literally cannot witness in person (non-Muslims are forbidden from entering the city of Mecca). Peer also laments the over-development of this holy city. The elephant in the room, as it were, that he does not address — that much of the development he describes is done by the Binladin Group.
Another piece that interested me was by Patricia Marx about couch surfing. A website connects local residents willing to offer a room (or a couch) in their home to travellers visiting their area. It is certainly a cheap (free!) alternative to hotels and hostels, and it is surely a great way to better experience the true nature of a place (i.e. the non-touristy bits), but I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to try it. Do you think you would?
Have any magazine articles interested you recently? Tell me about them!