Category Archives: Travels

BBC 3 Free Thinking interview with Matthew Sweet

Matthew Sweet of BBC Free Thinking was a brilliant reader of the book, having read closely and with an eye for fetching detail. We talked for about half an hour, and the interview can be heard here (my part of … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, empire, imperialism & colonialism, environment, free ports/zones, infrastructure, labour, Middle East, political economy, ports, shipping conditions, transport, Travels, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The poetry of medieval maritime travel

I have been reading Arab navigation manuals and travelogues, and there is such poetry in the navigation manuals in particular. It is the liminality of the navigation texts in particular – between art and science, familiar and wholly other.  I … Continue reading

Posted in Middle East, seafaring, the sea, Travels, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Medieval Arab Naviation

“More interesting is the testimony of Ibn al-Mujawir who reports that in 626 A.H./1228-9 A.D. a ship arrived in Aden from Qumr (Comoros or Madagascar); the art of navigation of the people of Qumr impressed him as superior to that … Continue reading

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Malta-Dubai; 13 August 2016 – Day 4, steaming towards Beirut

13 August 06.00 ship time (GMT+2); 07.00 GPS time (my phone) Steaming towards Beirut The ship left Damietta sometime after midnight, having spent only twelve hours there. The officers must be absolutely shattered, since we will be arriving in Beirut … Continue reading

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Malta-Dubai; 12 August 2016 – Day 3, Damietta

Friday 12 August 12.15 (GMT +2) Arriving in Damietta You can tell you are approaching port by a number of signs. First is the arrival of the land creatures: swifts, green flies, storks (or something else long-necked and ungainly). Next, … Continue reading

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Malta-Dubai; 11 August 2016 – Day 2, at sea in the Mediterranean

11 August 2016 10.35 (Ship time. My phone’s GPS says it is actually 11.35) The Mediterranean; steaming towards Damietta The Mediterranean is such a lonely sea. Its vastness is such that one doesn’t really see ships passing except in the … Continue reading

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Malta-Dubai again; 10 August 2016 – Day 1, Setting Off from Malta

In August 2016, I once again boarded a ship in Malta to travel to Jabal Ali.  I had recorded the previous occasion with giddy excitement, all things seeming new and unfamiliar.  Perhaps the familiarity of the trip, or the fact … Continue reading

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