Sunday, February 25, 2007

To the holy shrines

I have just finished reading "To the Holy Shrines" by Sir Richard Burton. This was famous journey that Burton made to Mecca. He had to go in disguise, because westerners were not allowed in that city. Perhaps, it is still illegal for non-arabs to enter Mecca. The book was written in 1853, so we are not talking about the welsh actor. Burton is a very intriguing figure. In this trip, it took a lot of planning to get into Mecca. He had to convince everyone around him that he was not English. It helped that he spoke many languages. The wikepedia entry contains many of his other exploits, such as trying to find the source of the Nile. In these modern times, there is not such a big need for explorers. If I want to find out the source of the River Kelvin, I can just use google. Where is the magic in that? I have another book by Burton on swords. I am still reading that. Richard Burton was also used as a character in the Riverworld Saga books by Philip Jose Farmer . So now you know my interest.