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Motoring with Mohammed: Journeys to Yemen and the Red Sea Paperback – February 4, 1992
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As he tells of the turbulent seas that stranded him on the island and of his efforts to retrieve his buried journals when he returned to Yemen ten years later, Hansen enthralls us with a portrait -- uncannily sympathetic and wildly offbeat -- of this forgotten corner of the Middle East. With a host of extraordinary characters from his guide, Mohammed, ever on the lookout for one more sheep to squeeze into the back seat of his car, to madcap expatriates and Eritrean gun runners- and with landscapes that include cities of dreamlike architectural splendor, endless sand dunes, and terrifying mountain passes, Hansen reveals the indelible allure of a land steeped in custom, conflicts old and new, and uncommon beauty.
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
"Motoring with Mohammed" is a book in three parts. The first bit is true adventure, storms at sea, a shipwreck, a desert island, the revelation of character among the survivors, brigands, and an unlikely rescue. It's great writing, deft and light, touching beauty and terror.
The second, and major, part of the book recounts Hansen's return to Yemen ten years later to look for a personal treasure he left on the island. In truth, not much happens, but in Eric Hansen's hands it always manages to not happen in an interesting way. His introduction to the local narcotic "qat", his subtle dance with intransigent bureaucracy, his unwise wanderings in high, misty mountains and along the edge of great deserts of The Empty Quarter make this a great read.
Hansen never meets an uninteresting person. Even the hostile and the dull are intriguing or comical in his hands. He gets to travel with sheep and mystic woodsmen, to meet an ageing Frenchwoman under a tragic spell, a toilet inspector, and the ghost of his grandmother. Along the way, he gets to play with his favorite theme: the essence of "destination". He doesn't labour it, but you know what he means.
The third, and briefest, part of his story is an unexpected twist, which neatly closes the circle even if by that stage we hardly require it.
A friend of mind informed me that Yemen ranks bottom of the world for gender equality. Certainly no woman could have written this book. The more reason for us to be grateful for this window on a little-known world. Eric Hansen has written a beguiling and joyous story.Read more ›
Eric Hansen has scored with this book, and I've recommended it to probably 40 people and given it as a gift to 5-6.
Read it and enjoy in - on many levels.
The sights, sounds, and smells surround his narrative, whether describing a storm at sea, impressive architecture or the scent of perfume that follows the veiled women.
There are government restrictions, of course, but he still is treated with hospitality wherever he goes. He joins the men in their communal qat-chewing sessions where whole afternoons are spent under the intoxicating effects of this slightly narcotic drug. He hikes for miles over extremely dangerous terrain. He visits the baths, the bazaars, the prison. And considering the fact that he only speaks English, he manages to have conversations with a wide variety of people. Always, his observations are clear and show his respect for the people of Yemen and their culture.
As an armchair traveler I was delighted with this book. It was wonderful seeing the world through Mr. Hansen's eyes. However, he is a man and so therefore his experiences were that of the male world. This is no fault of the book or of his writing. After all, he only could write about what he experienced.
I recommend this book heartily. It brought me to Yemen, taught be about the land and the people, and expanded my appreciation and depth of understanding of a place I will likely never visit. For this I thank the author.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic read. I learned a lot about Yemen many years ago. I still would never go there.Published 3 months ago by JIm Brown
Eric Hansen its my new favorite travel writer. I was floored by his rare combination of admiration for foreign cultures, humor and idiosyncratic storytelling. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Donkeyoattea
Every since learning of this book I have been looking forward to read it simply because it involved traveling in Yemen, a country that has a long and interesting history and is a... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Young Animal
One of those great travel/adventure yarns that makes you either wish you had done all that, or glad you read the book before starting out for a place that weird.Published 18 months ago by kidtree
oh, what a read! I wish things were so simple today. Eric had a great adventure. I will think of his story whenever I smoke my Midwakh.Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
Delivery was immediate and the book basically as described - together, clean of underlining and tired. I am fully satisfied.Published 18 months ago by DJMCK
Truly enjoyed the read of this experience. Would recommend for a light read and cultural insight. Fascinating concept, well presented. Condition of book as described.Published on December 6, 2013 by Sandra L. Larsen
An entertaining travel adventure novel/memoir. This would have been given 5 stars except for the authors penchant for getting a bit wordy in describing events scenes to the point... Read morePublished on November 4, 2013 by Carl bowden