New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) British explorer Levison Wood says Arabia has fascinating history and great cultural legacy.
He got to know about the Arabian Peninsula as he travelled through the region for his show “Arabia with Levison Wood”.
“This is the culmination of 15 years work. Arabia is a region that I’ve always been fascinated by. I have travelled many times around the Middle East over the course of the last 10-15 years, but with this I wanted to look at it through a different lens. I suppose a lot of people would consider it to be the most controversial region on the planet,” Wood said.
“We usually associate the Middle East with negative connotations — terrorism, destruction, war — or at the very least camels and deserts. When actually there’s this fascinating history and great cultural legacy. It’s also an incredibly diverse and beautiful part of the world, so I wanted to go and show it through a different lens as a traveller, and hopefully draw out some of the more positive human stories along the way. I think that’s what this series does, without glossing over the more negative side of things as well. It’s a raw, gritty look at this region, of which I covered 13 countries. For me, it was the most exciting adventure I’ve done to date,” he added.
“Arabia with Levison Wood”, aired on Discovery and Discovery HD, takes the audience to journey around the Arabian Peninsula along with Wood.
How has filming the series changed the way he feels about the Middle East?
“I went slightly nervous in many ways. I went through a lot of conflict zones, war zones, places like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria. I was a bit apprehensive before I went, but ultimately, I came away with a sense of hope because even in the most dire of circumstances, there’s still amazing people and what really came through was the incredible sense of hospitality and warmth of the people. Wherever I went people looked after me,” he said.
Wood was amazed to look at the diversity of the region.
“It’s not just one culture, one landscape, it’s not just endless desert. I saw everything from the Empty Quarter Desert, which is a big vast empty desert, to snow-capped mountains in Lebanon and amazing lush forests in Southern Yemen. All sorts of different cultures — from the mega-cities in places like Dubai to some of the world’s oldest cities — Damascus and Babylon. It’s just that diversity that will really surprise people.”
With the show, the explorer thinks “people will be blown away by the diversity and start looking at this part of the world from a completely different angle”.