Khamsat: Selected Articles
by Joe Ferriss
Three weeks in the Middle East would hardly qualify me as an experienced traveler compared to the many travelers who have preceded me in the last several hundred years. However, when one reads about their journeys over time it gives some perspective when actually making such a journey and experiencing it personally. Now, I was there, and somehow all that I had read about was jumping out of those old books into my reality. As you shall see in this overview some things have changed but discovering what hasn't changed was a most regenerating experience for me as a lover of the traditional Arabian horse.
So much was packed into this 22 day journey that many articles will continue to flow from the experience from both myself and others who made this pilgrimage with me. However, this overview is from my personal perspective – more about how it FEELS to experience this trip through my eyes, than the details of each presentation which will need to be covered later.
<< My first sunrise in the Middle East. At dawn from my balcony in Amman, Jordan, timeless stone buildings greet the peerless sun in a perpetual ritual. Nearby minarets of the mosques broadcast a most melodic singular man's voice giving the call to prayer.
My choosing to go on this adventure was inspired by two events which happened to occur independent of each other but in succession to each other. The first event was the annual Arabian Horse Historians Association (A.H.H.A) meeting, and subsequent trip, hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform in Damascus, Syria. The second event was the biannual World Arabian Horse Organization (W.A.H.O.) Conference held in Abu Dhabi and hosted by the Emirates Arabian Horse Society under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. I left the U.S. on October 28 filled with anticipation and curiosity and returned on November 18, 1996 feeling as though I had traveled through a millennium and back again deeply touched by the experience. The relevance of this trip as an Al Khamsa enthusiast unfolds throughout the reflections which follow. Because of the scope of this journey I will only be able to report on the Jordanian and Syrian trips in this issue. My coverage of travels in the Gulf region and W.A.H.O. will have to come in the following issue of Khamsat in order to give it the space it deserves.