The Arabian peninsula, most of it desert, stark and austere, has shaped its people. It has always been a harsh environment that for the majority of its inhabitants provided a level of life barely above that of minimal subsistence. This produced a society in which family, clan or tribe had to be defended against anyone who might threaten their security and meagre possessions.
Fiercely independent tribesmen with an absolute belief in their religion and their tribal customs created a code of living that included a duty to look after themselves, their kin and - most importantly - travellers. Hospitality has always been paramount, even to enemy tribesmen, provided they came in peace.
This code of conduct is still valid in this time of great change. The Bedouin life is still celebrated; transport may now be with four-wheel drives instead of camels, but the essence of the culture is still intact, as can be seen from the traditional dress, crafts as performed by the women, sports like falcon hunting and traditional dancing. But most of all, it lives on in the friendliness and dignity of the people and their incredible hospitality to strangers.