A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Claire312

Married to a Bedouin

by Marguerite van Geldermalsen

I'm hoping to make it to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan on my year long trip through Europe, Turkey and Egypt; so when I came across this book I was anxious to read it. Marguerite van Geldermalsen was just another twenty-something backpacker from New Zealand traveling with a friend when she came to Petra. She really didn't even know much about Jordan or Petra but was looking for adventure. Mohammad Abdallah Othman was a souvenir-seller who convinced her to stay with him in his cave. He must have been quite the salesman.

They married, had 3 children and lived in that cave, carved out by the Nabataeans 2,000 years before. Her story is fascinating, although somewhat unsettling to me. Clearly, I have my limits. She had no electricity, no running water, no heat and especially, no privacy. Hiking down to the water supply with a donkey and loading up the jerry cans with water then trekking back to her cave just doesn't cut it for me. I must say, Mohammad definitely had charisma and initiative; but even so, I just don't get it. She did become a part of their tribe and it was a very close knit community. Furthermore, she had a level of independence the other women didn't seem to share, often sitting with the men while the women clustered together in a separate tent. Marguerite and Mohammad visited her family in New Zealand and stayed for several months; he even managed to get a job. But, they both realized that they missed the closeness of the extended family back in Jordan and the free and easy way of life, dropping in on each other, constantly surrounded by friends and family. So Petra is where they made their life.

This is a compelling story of converting to a completely different way of life, language and religion. Marguerite is an interesting person and her descriptions of the various characters she lived and worked with make for great reading. I think I'll be viewing Petra with a completely different viewpoint.

If you're thinking about going to Petra or just want to read a story that you will become completely immersed in, you can find
Married to a Bedouin at Amazon.

About the reviewer

After 5 years of planning and millions of hours on-line, Claire and her husband Chuck are traveling through Europe in a motorhome for one year. Follow their journey at European Adventures

Posted by Claire312 15:38 Comments (5)

No-Man's Lands: One Man's Odyssey Through The Odyssey

By Scott Huler

I’ve never read The Odyssey but it’s on my list of things to do on my upcoming one year trip through Europe in a campervan. In fact, I’ve downloaded it free onto my Amazon Kindle.

Scott Huler, an NPR contributor, sets off to retrace the steps of Odysseus on his twenty year journey from Troy to Ithaca. The book is great fun and, for me, very educational. In fact, I almost feel as if I’ve now read The Odyssey although I suppose it’s closer to reading the Cliffs Notes version. His style is lively, honest and personal; all the right elements for a road trip memoir, or more accurately, boat, train and bus trip. The map in the front of the book is excellent and I referred to it so often I should probably have made myself a copy for faster viewing.

The writing has a great flow to it and he manages to tell the reader the story of The Odyssey in a very accessible way while comparing it to modern times and drawing pertinent morals. Great characters, plot twists, action and adventure. Who can ask for more?

My husband and I have a general itinerary of all the places we’re going in Europe and this book covers a number of them: Istanbul, Troy, Athens, the Peloponnese, Sicily, Rome, and Naples. He also visits Tunis, Sardinia and Corsica. It would be perfect to read while we’re traveling, but we couldn’t wait. To enjoy Scott's photos, go to his website.

You can find this book on Amazon: No Man's Lands: One Man's Odyssey Through the Odyssey.

About the reviewer:
After 5 years of planning and millions of hours on-line, Claire and her husband Chuck are traveling through Europe in a motorhome for one year. Follow their journey at European Adventures

Posted by Claire312 10:39 Comments (0)

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