A Bedouin Heaven

The design of the Anchorage and its two acres of gardens resulted from the owners experience as a geologist working in the Arabian deserts in summer. With daytime temperatures of 50 degrees, work was possible only from dawn to 10.00 am and from 4.00.pm until dark. Sometimes midday was spent in black Bedouin tents where the men gather to sit in the shade and drink endless cups of sweet tea and coffee. Bedouin conversation against the background of bright light, shimmering heat and sand-rock desert often includes discussions of what heaven would be like after the suffering on Earth is finished. According to the Bedouins of the Arabian Peninsula, heaven is a place where there is green grass, a stream of cool water, trees for shade, flowers, and birds singing. Today in the modern cities of the Arabian Peninsula, the shopping centres are vast air conditioned boxes with many shops inside. Within each such complex one shop space is converted to an image of heaven with a stream of flowing water, plastic flowers, a tape recording of bird calls and usually fish or terrapins in the water. Crowds gather to contemplate these alien images of heaven. The gardens of The Anchorage were terraced, lined with stone, the trees freed of ivy, flower beds planted and the stream cleared to create a little piece of Bedouin heaven on Earth.

– John Roobol

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