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Posted June 20, 2003
haha I met andres at a wrap up party..Andres is a very cool guy .. I think he might check up on this so if your reading Great job on your book..You gotta teach me some of your martial things you promised! AdiosWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 5, 2002
The back cover of this book is titillating enough for any serious traveler that ever dreamed of an extended motorcycle trip to buy the book and settle in for a good read. And in fact, the book is a good read but it is also flawed by the personality of the author. Andrés Carlstein is a first-generation American with Latin American roots (he fails to mention exactly what those roots are but we are left to deduce that they may be Argentinean) who decides upon graduation from college to sell everything he owns and buy a motorcycle for a trip to the top of Argentina for a year 2009 New Years Celebration. The fact that he¿d never owned or ridden a motorcycle didn¿t deter him in the least and for that he must be considered either very brave or very foolish. In fact he fails to mention a lot of things and writes as if we already knew them. I frequently found myself backtracking to see if I missed some important detail that led up to a current decision but more often than not, I never learned more than the point he just made. Since a great deal of this was written on the road, I guess that can be forgiven. Andrés finds two other like souls on the Internet that agree to make the majority of the trip with him and he meets them in Texas for the trip south. I don¿t know if I could have that much faith in strangers considering the trip together would be almost 5 months. Traveling with people you know can be daunting but with total strangers, the results can be disastrous. Both are veteran motorcycle travelers and bring a great deal of experience to the table. By his own admission, Andrés only contribution to the group was his ability to convince hoteliers to give them a discount if he mentions them in his upcoming book. And, mention them he did but not always favorably and there is no contact information for the establishments other than their name and city or origin. It would have been nice to see an appendix at the end with full address and phone numbers. Whether it¿s his New York background, his youth or just his inexperience, this book is very much like two trains heading at full steam towards each other on the same track. You know there¿s going to be a horrible disaster but you can¿t look away. I admit that once I started the book, I couldn¿t put it down. My reading was punctuated with alternate laughter and comments of a disparaging nature. We only get one side of the story and I would be fascinated to hear what his traveling companions thought but we only get glimpses of their feelings. Even so, they are not flattering. In fact one of the surprises of this book is that Andrés does admit to a lot of mistakes. Some from ignorance and some from arrogance. He spends an inordinate amount of his free time either getting drunk or pursuing sexual conquests with just about any woman he meets. Some of these women are only interested in the same thing he is but some you feel sorry for. His love `em and leave `em attitude may be a generational reflection but it wasn¿t something I wanted to read about. Andrés meets a lot of like-minded travelers but most are portrayed from his perspective as less than noble. He mentions meeting and riding for a short time with world travelers and record book setters Gail and Eric Haws and their incredible web site about their journeys but fails to give us the web address. An unforgivable oversight. OK, I¿m prejudiced because I¿m a long time motorcyclist and world traveler. But, I think most of the people interested in this book would be riders like myself that dream about this kind of trip. Andrés constantly proves himself to be less than reliable in his judgment. He planned this trip for nine months but showed up at the Mexican border without a title to his motorcycle delaying the trip for everyone while the proper paperwork is acquired. I¿m amazed his riding companions didn¿t dump him right there. On the plus side, his description of the landscape, peopleWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 25, 2002
Very fast paced, almost breathless going from one episode right into another. Very readable, regularly witty and insightful. This is more about the adventure and emotion of the trip rather than the technical details. A youthful exuberance permeates the storytelling, which in turn reveals some of the lapses in planning and judgement he commits on the trip. Almost as much what not to do as to what to do. There are technical/practical details in the book, but only enough to get one thinking about what one's own list might include. Part of the appeal of the book is the author's realization (mostly) of his own character and how that affected the trip, and his relations with the people he meet. To some extent this is a coming of age story. This is more refreshing and perhaps more valuable than compared to books written by experienced voyagers.adventure seekers. I'd be very interested in another book (presumably another expedition) by this author, as much to see how he develops as enjoying the writing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 12, 2002
I bought this book based on a review I read in the Washington Post Book World in which the viewer proclaimed the experience "...the most fun I've had sitting down in a long time." I wholeheartedly agree! This book was extremely funny, very engaging and entertaining. It is full of wild adventures, screwball comedy, and wonderfully quirky characters. Carlsteins' prose vacillates between sardonic humor, and yes, touching philosophical musings effortlessly. This book offers much adventure and excitement for those in search of that, and also offers quite a bit of information useful to the south american traveller. Tricks for avoiding fleecing by corrupt border con artists, techniques such as carrying a dummy wallet, and useful info on lodging and scenic locales are just a sampling. Overall, a fun ride. Highly reccommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2002
This is one of the most refreshing and entertaining books I have read in a long time. Carlstein's biting wit never fails to amuse, and his charming, self depricating demeanor quickly endears him to the reader, despite his neophyte bumblings. I can only imagine that those who have criticized this book are either overly prudish, or take themselves and this book too seriously. Although this does offer some great advice to any one who wishes to take a similar trip, this is obviously not meant to be the be-all and end-all of travel guides. This is an armchair adventure novel - and an excellent one at that. Buy this book for the simple pleasure of reading one mans' story of trials and triumph- you won't be disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 5, 2002
Funny and interesting but I could not find the "philosophy" that Nicola talks about, I think some of the author's views are shallow, but he seems young and I think this is a first great effort. The book has some good elements, like how light and easy to read it is, perfect for one of those days when I don't want to think.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 27, 2002
A rich, fun and sexy read for anyone with a spirit for adventure. The author's boyish charm is irresistible and soon has you hooked. Diverse characters, historical anecdotes, cultural pearls and even a little philosophy are woven with humor to create an engrossing journal. A selection of what's truly memorable should give a sense of the book's sheer variety. The wonderfully 'satanic' Peter, luring our hero into a host of dangerous situations, ranging from rigs over ravines to drunken liaisons in starlit ruins. 'Surgeon', the pudgy welding prodigy, pouring over his work to the awe of his tiny accomplices. Carlstein weilding his Multi-Tool at phantom theives and being saved by (and from) girls with no more than popcorn or his belt buckle. More than this, ruminations on the fall of the Incas, the impending doom of Machu Picchu and the incredible lives of Chilean miners give us a wealth of food for thought.We share in the author's moment of Zen-like 'satori' while colliding head on with a truck and come out questionably unscathed. The riders' passion for the road is infectious: even the technically challenged will get caught up in the fight to keep their mechanical beasts on the move. You'll come away feeling invigorated and a little wiser, touched by both the beauty and ugliness of the people and terrain encountered - and no doubt with a burning desire to be on the back of Carlstein's bike for the next quest.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2009
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