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Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the…
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Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold (utgåvan 2006)

av Michael Benanav (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
928227,630 (4.02)7
Salt was once worth its weight in gold, and treks to mine salt slabs from the heart of the Sahara desert are still made as they were throughout centuries--on a caravan of camels. American writer Benanav was compelled to join the Caravan of White Gold and traveled with nomads, eating meals of sand-covered goat entrails, drinking rancid water, getting lost for a day or two at a time, and enduring blistering heat and freezing nights in the open air.Along the way, he wrote fascinating stories about the perilous life of a camel, the family values of a real nomad, the treating of injured miners in a desert, and the cultural differences of labor and money. This is a well-reviewed travel narrative unlike any other, and it is accompanied by stunning full-color photographs. It will appeal to readers of Stiff, Salt, and fans of Jonathan Raban and Bill Bryson.… (mer)
Medlem:madhukaraphatak
Titel:Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold
Författare:Michael Benanav (Författare)
Info:Lyons Press (2006), 256 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:to-read

Verkdetaljer

Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold av Michael Benanav

  1. 00
    Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert av William Langewiesche (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Both are recent Sahara travel books by American authors.
Africa (227)
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» Se även 7 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 8 (nästa | visa alla)
Engaging, intimate memoir of the author's 36-day journey with a camel caravan to the remote Saharan salt mines at Taoudenni. He travels first to the still-mystical city of Timbuktu in Mali, where he meets up with his prearranged "azalai", which refers to the entire extraction-transit-sale process of the "white gold". Benanav immerses into his journey, in a small caravan led by Walid, who, as with most of the people he meets, is a Taureg, a sub-clan of the native Berber people.

We join the grueling caravan with him, learning much of the nomads' ways, the author's thoughts about their hardships, yet simplicity of lifestyle as compared to the hustle of the consumer culture back home. He does his best to fit into the duties, such as refilling the rubber bladders of precious water on the rare well stops, collecting camel dung for the (equally precious) tea breaks, steeped over portable braziers. He gets the hang of boarding his camel, Lachmar, wins acceptance among his varied teammates, and finds the entire experience revelatory.

What ultimately won me over was Benanav's writing, which is both a swiftly flowing account, and also beautiful in places. Here is one of his many imaginative portrayals of his surrounding, during one of the very long nocturnal treks, as daylight greets them:
~"The dawn broke beautifully. The sun poured like molten brass between platinum-fingered clouds. The ivory sand was drenched with pinks and blues and yellows absorbed from the sky. I heard the twitter of a birdsong for the first time in weeks. The entire world seemed at peace with itself. And I was no exception."~ ( )
  ThoughtPolice | May 16, 2019 |
This book is a stunning narrative about a journey in a camel caravan from Timbuktu to the salt mines of Taoudenni. Being used to living and traveling in deserts, Michael Benanav joins a caravan through the Sahara to salt mines to bring back a resource as priceless as gold. Along the way he learns the life of the azalai, camel drivers, and how to exist in one of the harshest and uncompromising parts of the world. ( )
  mamzel | Oct 27, 2016 |
I first learned about this book from one of those 'Favourite books from 2013' lists (this one was at World Weaver Press' blog --> http://bit.ly/1dYhi3U). Since one of my goals this year is to read more non-fiction it sounded like a good fit. And it really, really was. This is a travel memoir, but it's also a really GOOD story, and I felt like it truly introduced me to a place I'll never likely see in my lifetime (the Sahara). Fantastic reading, the pages flew by. ( )
  RhondaParrish | May 9, 2014 |
This was fun! I enjoyed Benanav's adventure in the desert very much as I sat in a soft chair with water nearby. What a forbidding place the Sahara is, and how glad I am that I don't have to go there. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
"As though we'd entered a different room in the desert, the scenery changed dramatically. Here, rows of red sand ridges poured like ribs from both sides of a spine of ancient black rock. A few flat-topped mesas abruptly broke the northern horizon line, jutting more than a thousand feet from the desert floor....
".... Since we were in the midst of the most stunning terrain we had yet crossed, I asked Walid and Baba if they, too, thought it was beautiful.
"They each grimaced involuntarily, looked at me as if I were crazy, and simultaneously said 'No.'
"I'm sure I looked at them as if they were crazy, and Walid asked, 'Why? Do you?'
"'Yes,' I said, 'it's very beautiful. It's my favorite place so far.'
"Walid shook his head in befuddlement and the three of us laughed in mutual disbelief at the vast discrepancy between our impressions. For them, the most beautiful places in the Sahara are those where enough vegetation grows to support herds of goats and sheep and camels. Everywhere else is the region of death, too terrible to be beautiful. This was as profound as any other cultural difference between us, for I thought that the landscape surrounding us made a powerful case for the objective nature of beauty, which nobody could deny. We grew to appreciate this difference in each other, and it became the source of a comedy routine we'd enact when Walid wanted to make other people laugh: He'd mention this place and ask me what I thought of it. Happy to play my part, I'd praise it in the most poetic terms I could muster. Without fail, our audience would widen their eyes in surprise, then crack up at the fool ideas of a foreigner." pp. 113-114

"The next five days and nights [of travel with the caravan] were a grueling exercise in endurance....
"There were times when thinking about the rest of the day, the rest of the journey, became overwhelming. As I fought to put one weary foot in front of the other, to bear the sun staring me in the face, or to stay seated atop Lachmar [the camel] when ready to drop from exhaustion, it was impossible to imagine making it to the next camp, let alone all the way back to Timbuktu. In order to slip from beneath the crushing weight of future thoughts, I adopted a technique of focusing solely on the moment I was living. In itself, removed from the time line that stretched forward and backward from the present, no single moment was that bad. Perhaps I was walking under a starry sky at 2 AM; forgetting that we'd already been on the move for five hours, and probably had another twelve to go, I could find pleasure in being exactly where I was, right then. Maybe because I was so tired it was easy to achieve an altered state of consciousness; with a little focus I was able to travel through the desert as though in a temporal bubble, totally immersed in the present, as though past and future no longer existed. It became something of a spiritual practice - the transcendence of suffering by meditating on 'the now' - and I nearly signed on wholeheartedly to the cliched mantra of 'Live the moment.' Then I realized that, while I spent half my time doing just that, I spent the other half of the time escaping the moment - distracting myself with mind games, reading while I rode - and that that was just as crucial to maintaining my sanity." pp.164-165
  Mary_Overton | Jul 5, 2012 |
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Wikipedia på engelska (1)

Salt was once worth its weight in gold, and treks to mine salt slabs from the heart of the Sahara desert are still made as they were throughout centuries--on a caravan of camels. American writer Benanav was compelled to join the Caravan of White Gold and traveled with nomads, eating meals of sand-covered goat entrails, drinking rancid water, getting lost for a day or two at a time, and enduring blistering heat and freezing nights in the open air.Along the way, he wrote fascinating stories about the perilous life of a camel, the family values of a real nomad, the treating of injured miners in a desert, and the cultural differences of labor and money. This is a well-reviewed travel narrative unlike any other, and it is accompanied by stunning full-color photographs. It will appeal to readers of Stiff, Salt, and fans of Jonathan Raban and Bill Bryson.

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