martedì 19 giugno 2012

"Arabian Sands" ... Wilfred Thesiger and his travel journeys

Wilfred Thesiger, born in 3 June 1910 and died in 2003, was a great British explorer of his generation and lucky enough to have lived when the globe still had some uncharted corners. 
He rode camels or walked across deserts and scrub land from Northern Kenya to Western Pakistan. Iraq and Afghanistan were more home to him than his native England. 
Wilfred rarely went anywhere without his trusty Leica which he usually carried in a goatskin bag.

He was a man of extreme austerity. The harder a journey was -- extreme shortages of food and water, hostility of terrain and weather -- the more he enjoyed it. 
He hated the modern world and its comforts. Planes, trains and especially cars, he believed, were robbing  remote peoples of their nobility, and the austere beauty of their way of life.
Sheikh Zayed with a falcon at Buraimi, 1949, photographer by Wilfred Thesiger
Closest to his soul were Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, and he encapsulated their allure in his classic travel account Arabian Sands (1959).

The Corniche in Abu Dhabi, a glimpse from the past

Corniche in Abu Dhabi, 1948, photographer by Wilfred Thesiger

This picture was taken in 1948, when Thesiger visited the city for the first time. 
He found a small fishing village grouped around the "Al Hosn" or "White Fort"(it's probably close to where the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce tower now stands).

Corniche nowadays

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