]> Sojourn in the Middle East

Sojourn in the Middle East


Part 9 of 9
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This is a blog of some of my impressions during a seven-month period living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (the "KSA") in 2007-08.


The Seychelles

Island paradises really do exist.

The Seychelles are 1,000 miles from the nearest mainland, the protruding remnants of a granitic mountain range on the ancient southern super-continent of Gondwanaland. They are the only oceanic islands in the world with such an origin (all others are volcanic or coral in nature), owing to a great platform beneath the range projecting 1-2 miles above the sea floor. Without this oddity, the mid-ocean deeps are too great for any terrestrial mountain range to reach the surface.

Furthermore, the Seychelles remained uninhabited, and rarely discovered, until the 1700's. They are a treasurehouse of flora and fauna, harboring many unique species, some that remain from the Gondwanaland days, some arrived later but following evolutionary paths divergent from their mainland counterparts. The most famous species may be the Coco de Mer palm, producer of the largest coconut (and largest seed) of the world, possessor of the largest leaf, and indigenous to just two islands in the Seychelles. The stout coconuts have long washed up on the shores of India and the Maldives thousands of miles away, the unique shape of their inner seeds rendering them a symbol of the feminine principle in Tantric traditions.

It is the water and air around the Seychelles that really shine. As far as it is possible to get from polluting activities, they are among the cleanest on planet earth.





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On April 26, 2008, after passing through the Seychelles, I returned home to upstate New York.



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