Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah
Ibn Battutah set out in 1325 from his native Tangier on the pilgrimage to Mecca. By the time he returned twenty-nine years later, he had visited most of the known world, travelling three times the distance Marco Polo covered. Spiritual backpacker, social climber, temporary hermit and failed ambassador, he braved brigands, blisters and his own prejudices. The outcome was a monumental travel classic. Captivated by this indefatigable man, award-winning travel writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith set out on his own eventful journey, retracing the Moroccan's eccentric trip from Tangier to Constantinople. Tim proves himself a perfect companion to this distant traveller, and the result is an amazing blend of personalities, history and contemporary observation.
'A brilliant, erudite and entertaining literary coup' -- Time
'Battutah couldn't enjoy a better champion ... This is a considerable book, mind-broadening, not only in the way that it revives the history of a remarkable traveller, but also for its representation of modern Islam as tolerant, hospitable, humorous and cultured' -- The Times
'Sometimes, as [Mackintosh-Smith] travels from Cairo to the Crimea, across deserts, into assassins' strongholds, it seems that Ibn Battutah is just a swish of a robe ahead' -- Independent
'A fluent Arabist who has lived in Yemen for the best part of two decades, Mackintosh-Smith is an accomplished etymologist who delights in his field of research and shares Ibn Battutah's roving intellectual curiosity, if not his boundless sexual appetite ... Travels with a Tangerine has all the makings of a classic' -- The Spectator
'Mackintosh-Smith is an intrepid and determined traveller, with an uncanny instinct for right turnings and the necessary conviction to pursue them ... Mixing archaic language ... with a twenty-first-century sensibility, fogeyism with an appetite for fun, food and a good smoke, he slips effortlessly between our world and that of the fourteenth century. In so doing, he has created a gripping and accomplished travel book' -- Sunday Times
'With the Travels of IB (as he affectionately thinks of him) in hand, Mackintosh-Smith here follows his predecessor's trail as far as the Crimea, seeking what remains of the sights Battutah saw, skilfully evoking those that have vanished, all the while remaining alert to the deep connections between modern Muslim society and the past. The result is an immensely engaging book' -- Daily Telegraph
Tim Mackintosh-Smith's first book, Yemen: Travels in Dictionary Land, won the 1998 Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award and is now regarded as a classic of Arabian description. His books on Ibn Battutah's adventures in the old Islamic world and in India have all received huge critical acclaim. His journeys in search of Ibn Battutah have also been turned into a major BBC television series. For the past twenty-five years his home has been the Yemeni capital San'a, where he lives in a tower-house on top of the ancient Sabaean city and next door to the modern donkey market.