By Tony Horwitz
This wild and comedian story of center East misadventure is "a very humorous and regularly insightful examine the world's so much flamable quarter. Fearlessness is a precious caliber in a shuttle author, and Mr. Horwitz . . . turns out as intrepid as they come".--The ny occasions e-book overview
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Extra info for Baghdad without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia
The six were apparently local tribesmen, sharing watch with the army for unwelcome visits by enemy clans. The village itself seemed outside the orbit of central government. Few cars and trucks had license plates, and there was no arms control at all. In addition to carrying jambiyas, most men had assault rifles slung over their shoulders, pistols jammed in their belts and bandoliers slung across their chests. Nor was it hard to locate the source of all this firepower. Sidling up behind a dozen men window-shopping on the main street, I gazed through the glass at a display of Kalash-nikov AK-47 assault rifles.
Up north. ” He raised his eyes in the Islamic equivalent of crossing oneself. “Go very slow,” he said, as if there were any choice in the car he'd just rented me. “Mountains bad. Road very bad. ” Car more bad. Ten minutes from the rental office, third gear grinded and gave out. I had to race in first gear to twenty-five miles an hour, then jolt into fourth and putter along until I reached my maximum speed of forty. Sanaa at midday was a high-speed free-for-all, clouded in dust. When traffic slowed, cars scaled the median strip and sped down the oncoming lane until that side gridlocked as well.
Arab houses, particularly those in the Persian Gulf states, reveal little to the outside world. Knocking on a plain metal door set in a high wall of stucco, I wondered if the home inside was a palace or a hovel. The door creaked open a few inches and a woman peered out, her face concealed by a black canvas mask. It formed a beak around her nose, with narrow eye slits, like medieval armor. I asked in simple Arabic if she could direct me back to the town I had left to watch the sunset, three hours before.