\n\nArabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger
\n\nWidely regarded as one of the defining travel pieces on the Arabian Peninsula, Thesiger’s masterpiece details his trips around the Empty Quarter between 1945 and 1950. Although born into nobility and educated at the famous Eton College Thesiger spent much of his life travelling the Middle East and Africa. Arabian Sands, the more famous of his two travelogues, recounts the slow decline of the Bedouin way of life. Anybody with an interest in travelling in the Middle East– beyond the guide book and tourist-friendly hubs – should encounter the lyrical and moving descriptions of a traditional way of life in the region.
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\n\nQuite what Thesiger would make of modern Arabia it is hard to imagine. The Bedouin way of life he described as being in decline more than 50 years ago has all but eroded now. The Empty Quarter, or Rub' al Khali, remains largely untouched, however. Excursions can be arranged from many of the region’s top hotels. For the best “now and then” comparison check into The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai. As would be expected from a Ritz-Carlton property the hotel is finished to the highest standard and all of the 138 rooms and suites feature Gulf views. 35,000 square feet of landscaped gardens and one of the longest stretches of private beach are provided for guest comfort. For visitors looking to witness something more akin to what Thesiger could have seen, the hotel offers a range of dessert safaris. From overnight trips, complete with Bedouin-style camping, to mountain or coastal excursions this is the best way to experience a way of life which was once standard for millions of Arabs.\n\n\n The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai