Friday, November 6, 2009


I found this section of the reading very interesting. I thought that the set up of the caravan was very complex. Hundreds of animals, armed guards, and merchants must have been a very exciting sight to see. Hasan and those involved in the caravan become consumed by it. Even the weeks leading up to it are all completely focused on the caravan. I find it interesting that he sees the caravan as a way of forgetting his numerous troubles he has back home.
I liked this chapter so much because we get to learn about the different areas the caravan passed through. Especially interesting was the custom at Umm Junaiba. Here, anyone who passed the “water course” had to jump and dance as they walked. Hasan mentions that most did this out of fun but some were cautious of the superstation that if they didn’t dance they would end up with bad luck.
I could never imagine having to go through something so extensive and drawn out as a caravan. It demands so much and is so dangerous. My question is did people in the caravan enjoy making the journey to sell their goods and experience new places or was it more of a reluctant obligation?


  1. My impression of the caravans is that they were both terrifying and exhilarating. Being able to see new parts of the world, make enormous profits and have adventures was obviously thrilling. Yet at the same time, the caravan was an extremely dangerous undertaking. Dangers included bandits, thirst/starvation, disease, getting lost, and all of the other dangers involved with traveling. So to some, the caravan must have been a great pleasure, if they focus on the adventure and the wealth, while others saw it as an undesirable obligation because of the dangers and the lengthy amounts of time spent away from home.

  2. I agree with some of what Colleen is saying. Seeing the changing landscape would be fantastic. You would also have the opportunity to meet all kinds of interesting people along the way. However, travel during this time was not exactly top of the line. Your body would take a heavy beating over the course of the journey due to the rough landscape. Also there was the threat of death around every corner. You could either catch some disease and pass or a pack of bandits could raid your caravan and leave you for dead. My opinion is that these caravans would be a undesirable but necessary obligation. The earnings from they produced were great, but every trip was a pain in the ass.

  3. Valid points, but please expand on them - this blog post is rather short (remember - you should be writing a page long commentaries).