Being a female photog in the Middle East

Obstacle of the day. You’re stuck in a hotel where you’re the only female and shared bathrooms which are filthy squat toilets. Perhaps down there cheap hotel means "send me to the ghetto".

Do you A) Suck it up and pull down your pants or B) skip over to the 5 star hotel next door, sneak in behind a Spanish tourist group and accept a mimosa on the way to their clean, hygienic bathroom. Obviously the answer is a no brainer if you’re a real backpacker. But sometimes a girl needs a little luxury when traveling. After all…. being the only female in a hotel of man is leads them to think one thing. There will be no showering for you in this hotel at the risk of getting spied on…or worse.

Being a solo female backpacker can be on its worst days hellish, but the good days always make up for it and usually the bad days are few and far in between. Everyone says guys have it easier, and to an extent it’s true. Guys can pee standing up, are hairier therefore never have to worry about shaving and seem to care (much) less about grooming (as I can attest that half my backpack is always taken up by hair products). But things aren’t always easy in the land of testosterone, especially as a photographer. During a recent trip to the Middle East while comparing notes with various male photographers (which are there any others kinds down there? I would have loved to come across with a female a camera) it seemed that people were more accepting and more friendly to me then the males I talked to. I was invited into homes while I walked through refugee camps, given enough cups of tea to float me away, hugged and kissed loved and fed. By comparison…the guys seemed to get yelled at and abused whenever they pointed the camera at someone. Now perhaps this was just one person getting lucky but I would love to compare notes with another female photog. Not only as the Middle East the easiest place to get photographs as compared to some of the other regions I have gone to, it as also the most fun. Families posed for me, men did the GQ and kids made funny faces. It was a dream come true…

From "The Little Princesses Guide to Backpacking. The Trials and Tribulations of a Traveling Twenty-something"

Photo credits: Angela Ostafichuk.

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October 30, 2009


glad you got to find some fun during your travel...nice adventure! :-)

October 29, 2009


Thanks so much for your kind words^^ Alot of bathrooms in hotels have "shared" bathrooms in the Middle East...but usually it's kind of one sided when your the only female in the hotel...

October 26, 2009


Sounds like a great adventure to me! :0)

October 26, 2009


Cool! I would like to see more photos from your adventure!
Where was that place with no bathroom for women!?!
Cheers ;)

October 26, 2009


I wish you many happy moments in your trips!

Lovely picture!

October 26, 2009


You are a very brave girl ! David.

October 26, 2009


great blog, thanks for sharing your travel experiences :)

October 26, 2009


Great adventure :)))) I love reading those traveling blogs!

October 26, 2009


hoping you'll continue the princesses guide in your next adventure! :) wonderful ! good luck finding your "homes with clean bathrooms"

October 26, 2009


Which part of Middle East did you find a shared bathroom????? Well Im in Dubai visited few other Middle East country like, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, I never found a place with shared bathroom. Here even in small malls you will find clean hygienic bathrooms.

Well talking about the hospitality of the people, you don't believe, these folks are very friendly and down to earth. They treat you as one of their family member. BTW are you planing to visit Dubai???

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