It is not uncommon to read a travelogue that often wanders, because that is actually the state of mind of a traveler. Shahzad Aziz however, has managed to pretty much restrain himself from doing this. He puts a great deal of facts and insight on the issues and environment he was dealing with- and this is a great help to us amateur readers. I found it very helpful of him to have briefed about a certain country’s history before actually incising more about it.
As much as we enjoy reading a man’s travel experience, we have to always keep in mind that his ideas are his ideas, and they might or might not be true. A good example is with this book itself- Shahzad might have had a certain fixed idea about a country simply because he has spoken only to people of similar ideology. It could also be due to his presumptions; when they are challenged and proven wrong, this could have a big impact on him, thus causing him to over-express it in the same manner. In fact, it’s normal for us to emphasize on one thing but at the same time being lax or completely ignore the other, due to our subconscious selective interest. At one point Shahzad wrote about how he met many people who ignored the calls of prayer on Friday, but he could have, at the same time, missed stressing or even mentioning the overwhelming attendance in the mosques.
So we readers have to be extra careful. Don’t blame the writer though; he can never include everything in the book, if he wants to keep it at a readable size.
If I remember correctly, this is only the second book I read of this nature. I personally like it because this is how, I feel, a man can travel without passports and whatever hassles, but only with a valued book in his hands.
p/s- Don’t be a nerd.