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The bad news this isn t a book about traveling the world with nothing but a small piece of citrus fruit to keep you company.The ok news As Mackintosh Smith follows in the footsteps of a 14th century globetrotter named Ibn Battutah, a man from Tangiers the Tangerine of the title , the author puts a lot of effort into his descriptions and metaphors, writing of a large and elderly Englishman from within whose carapace of summer weight tweed an Audenesque head moved slowly, periscopically, as if he were a turtle on a constitutional Or, trying to navigate Tangiers, he finds that his street map resembles the biopsy of some many vesicled organ I usually love following along as cranky Brits take on the world, but here, Mackintosh Smith loses me So much detail, so little indication of why I should care And he isn t the kind of traveling companion I d choose Speaking with two Englishwomen who, despite their modest clothing, are attracting a lot of attention from the Moroccan men, the author pontificates to them they re attracting so much attention because they are the other And when a local taxi driver offers the author a condo with a bar and some girls, Mackintosh Smith replies in Arabic, as he likes to remind us , Thank you, but historical geography s my thing He often writes lines like, The next morning, I breakfasted alone Is it any wonder One of my favorite books It s not for everyone, but I loved Mackintosh Smith s fascinating account of his attempt to follow the travels of the 14th century Muslim traveler and explorer Ibn Battutah Battutah traveled widely in and beyond the Middle East, but Mackintosh Smith, a Brit living in Yemen, sticks to the Arabic speaking world His knowledge of culture, Arabic and the obscurities of the English language he even came up with a word his editor didn t know makes for a wonderful read. Travels with a Tangerine, Tim Mackintosh Smith s account of retracing Ibn Battutah s 14th century pilgrimage to Mecca, is a book that falls into the category of topics I love travel history writing, modern day recreations of famous voyages but executions I dislike I found Mackintosh Smith s writing overly pedantic and dense I don t know much about 14th century Arabic history and spent much of the book wishing that Mackintosh Smith had provided of a historical overview Mackintosh Smith seemed concerned with a long dead traveler and historical monuments than it was with the modern lands he traveled through, and Travels with a Tangerine lacked the humor that would have helped make it relatable. The first thing many people ask me when they hear I m writing a fantasy novel is whether I, with all my travelling experience, shouldn t be writing a travel book instead I used to wonder about that myself, but every time I consider it, I inevitably come across a real travel writer, someone who has an interesting angle, has thoroughly researched the places he is visiting and is always willing to do something outrageous if it will result in a good story things I might not necessarily be willing to do myself.Tim Mackintosh Smith is such a writer An Arabist who lived in the Middle East for seventeen years, speaks fluent Arabic and seems to have learned whole libraries worth of books by heart, he decided to follow in the footsteps of Ibn Battutah, possibly the greatest traveller the world has ever known This book the first of two about a present day attempt to recreate Ibn Batuttah s journey sees him travelling from Morocco to Turkey, trying to do and see the things his fourteenth century hero did and saw on his journey, like visiting tombs of ancient saints, eating odd and frankly rather unappetising dishes, and so on Interspersed with witty descriptions of these quests are equally amusing conversations he has with locals, as well as heaps of quotes from Ibn Battutah s book and other contemporary sources, many of which are downright hilarious Mackintosh Smith clearly loves Arab culture, and his enthusiasm is contagious He also has a deliciously dry, British sense of humour which practically drips off the pages The result is a ferociously erudite, well researched book which can be slow going in parts but packs enough weirdness and humour to be eminently engaging I frequently found myself laughing out loud while reading it, and reading out passages to others More importantly, though, the book gave me an itch to read Arabic literature and learn about Arab culture and history, which is a testament to the infectiousness of Mackintosh Smith s enthusiasm In short, it s one of the best travel books I ve ever read, which sets a standard few writers and certainly not yours truly can ever hope to emulate Sigh. great travel book on Ibn Battutah the arab geographer and explorer vivid interseting to the full a must I haven t finished reading this book I m two thirds of the way through and I need a break It s an interesting journey, the premise of which is the author following in Ibn Battutah s footsteps, but it is a bit self indulgent at times and there s too much emphasis on a mind boggling number of saints tombs I ll put it back on the shelf and finish it in a few weeks or months time It s probably 4 stars but I have to give it 3 because I m wearying of it. One of the best travel writers around I am giving it three stars just because the subject Mackintosh Smith is dealing with Ibn Battutah and his travels is quite fascinating and there s so much historical importance and intrigue to it.In that regard this book is important But, oh my, it takes some nerves and patience to go through it I don t think Mackintosh Smith executed this well, the book could be much interesting, vivid, playful, funny, challenging you name it There was so much potential in this and I really wish it turned out better The writing is mainly dull and dry, and I didn t like the pinch of misogyny I could taste at times in Smith s portrayal of some women.That being said, I still think it s important and there s objective value to it, hence the three stars. This is going to be a really objective review.The book is about an intelligent and witty Englishman who travels through the Middle East in the footsteps of a great Islamic travel writer.Alright, so I lied I would have given five stars without reading a single page But I did read it, and I discovered some other reasons for doing so.Tim Mackintosh Smith starts out from Ibn Battutah s underwhelming tomb in Tangiers, Morocco, and journeys through Egypt, Syria, Oman, Turkey and the Crimea Ibn Battutah himself had travelled further than that, even reaching China, but these places offer than enough material for one book.The author recounts Ibn Battutah s writings, meets people who can tell him , and then compares what he has heard to his own experiences This leads to an interesting portrait You see how difficult it is to travel those routes today, but that it was way difficult in the 14th century The perception of travellers, of the importance of culture and religion has changed as well, and it is fascinating to see this documented.Mackintosh Smith brings his own sense of humour, which is something I always love in a travel writer He s not offensive, but he is very cheeky at times In all his observations you can feel his love for the subject, and it is always an enjoyable read for me when I can see that the author enjoyed it.Every now and then, his explanations are accompanied by illustrations, done by Martin Yeoman They feel like the sort of unfinished sketches you would do if you saw something on a journey and that makes them feel authentic I also like it because I can then imagine what the finished painting or place might look like and as a result I spend time with those than with finished paintings Mackintosh Smith has also presented a travel documentary for the BBC that follows this book After reading this I really want to see it.When Tim Mackintosh Smith reaches the end of his journey in Istanbul, there isn t a lot of reflection There isn t in the rest of the book either This isn t about finding yourself, it is about tje joy of experiencing foreign places Indeed, there isn t even a real goodbye Mackintosh Smith seems to think that he will be back in Ibn Battutah s footsteps before long I would gladly join him And I can do so, Hall of a Thousand Columns and Landfalls On the Edge of Islam with Ibn Battutah are out already. ^Free Epub ↭ Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah ⇨ In , The Great Arab Traveler Ibn Battutah Set Out From His Native Tangier In North Africa On Pilgrimage To Mecca By The Time He Returned Nearly Thirty Years Later, He Had Seen Most Of The Known World, Covering Three Times The Distance Allegedly Traveled By The Great Venetian Explorer Marco Polo Some , Miles In All Captivated By Ibn Battutah S Account Of His Journey, The Arabic Scholar And Award Winning Travel Writer Tim Mackintosh Smith Set Out To Follow In The Peripatetic Moroccan S Footsteps Traversing Egyptian Deserts And Remote Islands In The Arabian Sea, Visiting Castles In Syria And Innumerable Souks In Medieval Islam S Great Cities, Mackintosh Smith Sought Clues To Ibn Battutah S Life And Times, Encountering The Ghost Of IB In Everything From Place Names In Tangier Alone, A Hotel, Street, Airport, And Ferry Bear IB S Name , To Dietary Staples To An Arabic Online Dating Service And Introducing Us To A World Of Unimaginable Wonders By Necessity, Mackintosh Smith S Journey May Have Cut Some Corners I Only Wish I Had The Odd Thirty Years To Spare, And Ibn Battutah S Enviable Knack Of Extracting Large Amounts Of Cash, Robes And Slaves From Compliant Rulers But In This Wry, Evocative, And Uniquely Engaging Travelogue, He Spares No Effort In Giving Readers An Unforgettable Glimpse Into Both The Present Day And Fourteenth Century Islamic Worlds