In this piece at New English Review, Dalrymple thinks back to the places he visited during his extensive travels as a young man. Some of them seemed to hold out the hope of a fairy-tale life:
…a pleasant reverie of a life without politics and ideology, a cultured utopia in fact, where there is an abundance of beauty and taste rather than of things, where people treat each other with ceremonial courtesy rather than in business-like fashion at best, and even the smallest and most ordinary of things are infused with a concern for aesthetics. A more fully-human life, in fact.
All those places have “since descended into chaos and massacre”. But of course, he knew even at the time that such a life does not really exist.