Stunned and deeply saddened to learn, just moments ago, of Anthony Bourdain's passing. While some found his personality abrasive, I had only admiration for the spunky, people-curious, intrepid Bourdain. The way he was able to travel across the world and connect with others from different cultures, with openness, curiosity and, yes, despite his brashness, even humility. I thought he was a cool guy, never squeamish when it came to trying something new or judgmental when encountering people who lived, differently—basically, the kind of guy you'd want for a friend.
I remember being amused when he visited my homeland, Egypt, how he perversely refused to visit the pyramids (too obvious). I admit, too, I was a tad disappointed with his disinterest in fellucas (sail boats) on the Nile where I have many happy memories, but he made up for it with his deep interest in the desert and its quiet charms.
Below, an excerpt from his visit to pre-Revolution Egypt (in 2008)
You can watch the full episode, here: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2ifwax
Bourdain did a good job, maybe even better, representing my other half: Lebanon. In Beirut, he hung out with revolutionary, Marxist kids in a bar, drank them under the table, and later on with unflappable equanimity went to visit, and dine with, Hamas supporters in their homes.
In these polarized days and our wounded world, would that we could all be such good travelers, respecting the cultures and spirit of the places we explores. I hope Bourdin's last journey is a peaceful one and that he's, finally, free of all suffering. The 61-year-old, celebrated chef and Emmy Award-winning “Parts Unknown” host who is thought to have died of an apparent suicide was found unresponsive in his hotel room in France, earlier this morning.
It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” his network, CNN said in a statement, today. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.