Flesh and modesty in the name of religion

There are a suspiciously large amount of semi-naked men walking around Cairo airport as I am on my way to Nairobi. They are clad only in sparkling towels and shawls.

Obviously, it’s time for the Haj – the revered pilgrimage to Mecca that should be undertaken by Muslims at least once in the lifetime.

The surly customs guards have melted, wordlessly pushing them through the customs queues while we look on.

Otherwise, there are plenty of people pulling down their swine-flu face masks to drag on a last cigarette before they board their late-night flights to Kenya, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad.

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