The Middle East, along with it's region-mate North Africa, has been portrayed as, well, a mess. I have only been to the ME bit of MENA once, and certainly cannot claim to be an expert. But that one trip left me (mostly) impressed. Yes, there were some problems as a solo female traveler in Istanbul, but the sights of the city justified the trip. And don't get me started on how much I loved Israel and Jordan (actually, do get me started, please read my blogs, that's why they're here).