- Taschenbuch: 336 Seiten
- Verlag: Ameera Publishing (Juni 2002)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0971545111
- ISBN-13: 978-0971545113
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23 x 15,6 x 2,3 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.856.490 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Away from My Desk: A Round-The-World Detour from the Rat Race, the Tech Wreck, and the Traffic Jam of Life in America (Englisch) Taschenbuch – Juni 2002
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Travelling mainly by motorcycle, the author traverses 45 countries on six continents in this memoir, experiencing both fascinating and harrowing travails during a one-year journey. With a healthy mix of contemporary and historical perspectives, new insights are provided on typical tourist destinations like the Taj Mahal and the Trevi Fountain. Additionally, encounters with a law enforcement official in the Czech Republic and a panty-wielding pickpocket in Istanbul (among other things) supply plenty of humour along the way. These vivid and engaging accounts showcase the destinations not just as tourists see them, but as residents experience them as well, realistically portraying floods, earthquakes and civil unrest.
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At times funny, at times touching (especially the India leg of the journey), always enlightening. Made me wish that the journey never ends. One can only hope that Rif and Tracey set off again and share the story with us.
The book chronicles a year spent traveling around the world, often but not always on a motorcycle. The author, Rif Haffar, and his girlfriend, to whom he aptly refers as Tracy the Lionhearted, undertook this adventure on fairly short notice after a corporate reorg left Haffar with time on his hands. The semi-spontaneous nature of the trip's inception remains a thematic element in the story that unfolds: these are people who are brave enough and joyous enough to seize opportunities and absorb experiences as they present themselves, to not be rigidly dependent on schedules or itineraries, to navigate the many frustrations and pleasures of travel with ongoing good humor. This book is not (nor does it purport to be) a definitive travel guide to any of the many places visited (though there are plenty of historical and cultural factoids to keep things interesting). It does not pretend to be a manual on riding or maintaining a motorcycle. Nor is it, by any stretch of the imagination, a book about how to travel on a tight budget. Haffar obviously has the means to travel comfortably, and part of the beauty of the book for me was the fact that he was unabashed about alternating sleeping in tents, in campers, in huts with staying in the occasional four-star hotel. It is this aspect of the book that I imagine will or does appeal to a segment of the traveling population that is slightly older and slightly more affluent, yet retains the thirst for newness and adventure they began to satisfy way back when Europe still could be done for $5 a day.
Haffar has so many stories to tell here, and they are all told with an intelligence and an incisive wit that surprises and delights. At the same time, he does not pull punches when he runs into circumstances that he finds frustrating, ridiculous, or unpleasant, and refreshingly does not adopt the banal and vaguely disingenuous tone of guidebooks whose charter it is to be polite. Thus, although his humor can at times seem a little sharp, it is so clearly and fortunately co-mingled with a fundamental attitude of respect and compassion that it rarely, if ever, truly stings. He describes doing things that I will never, ever, ever do: bungee jumping for one, swimming with sharks for another, and also describes a whole host of things that any of would count ourselves fortunate to experience. This book rekindled my never-very-dormant travel lust, and the unrealistic notion that on my next big travel adventure I will take Haffar along to keep me in stitches.
Rif Haffar describes the art of travel in some unusual places where only the bold venture, as well as providing tips on accommodations, pitfalls, and humorous vignettes of problems, e.g.,loss of Honda to Customs in Bombay, that many would experience if they dared such an adventure. The book doesn't tell you where to go, as much as what to expect when you get there. It is reminiscent of the somewhat more Herculean trip taken in 1936 by Peter Flemming and his companion, recorded in his classic book `News From Tartary'. Haffar prefers clean hotels to tents and yurts. He has a wry wit and a rare talent for telling a good story, as well as providing information that saves the trouble `... of staying in lousy hotels, eating bad food and getting bitten by exotic bugs of varying nationalities'.
If you wish to experience an exciting and humorous odyssey in your armchair, journeying from Lisbon, across Europe to the Middle East, then to Asia, Oceania, South and Central America, then this is a book you will enjoy. If you are courageous, and plan such a trip by motorbike, or otherwise, `Away from the Desk' is essential reading.
One minor disappointment was the small black and white photos - would they have been in color! On the other hand, I suppose this would add substantially to the book's price.
This is a thoroughly entertaining, witty and nicely-paced book, written by someone obviously enjoying the hell out of his travels. Theirs is the sabbatical of a lifetime, and Mr. Haffar's easy and intimate style takes you along for a memorable ride. Beyond the journey, the author's wide-ranging interests and remarkable knowledge - spanning art, history, geology, economics, and opera to mention a few - take you on a trip of a different kind: a compendious yet fascinating tour of our world, including some of the most thoroughly misunderstood places and peoples.
I still dip into this book almost daily for a refreshing perspective or, perhaps more truthfully, for one of Mr. Haffar's reliably hilarious remarks. Highly recommended.
disappointment of visiting a well know tourist site that's clearly over-rated. Somehow, this book rang absolutely true to the traveler's experience. At some times I felt I was reliving one of my own travel adventures; at others I was inexplicably JEALOUS that in all my years of backpacking around this crazy planet I never stayed the night in the suites at the Hilton and enjoyed those "fluffy white towels"! Kudos to this traveler who was unafraid to do it all his own way without fear of telling it just like it was - with a quirky smile on his face. A joy to read.