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Tortillas to Totems (Every day an Adventure Book 4) by [Manicom, Sam]
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Tortillas to Totems (Every day an Adventure Book 4) Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1299 KB
  • Publisher: Sam Manicom (5 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004QTORC8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,654 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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By M. G. Chisholm TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are two types of motorcyclists. Those obsessed with the technical - typically they like fast bikes or offroaders and there are those who use a bike as a means to an end. Sam Manicom falls into the later category where his bike allows him to travel the world and see places.

The first surprise I had was that he can write. I'm not talking about some flowery literary great, but with a literate easy going style that suits the subject matter. It is easy to read and avoids the frustration one gets when reading about an interesting subject but offset by poor grammar or style.

Secondly he is very fair. Now I say this because clearly like many people who want to experience the world in this way tend to fall into the left wing camp view. All poor people from dirt ridden poverty stricken countries are salt of the Earth folk who would give you their last food, whereas anyone from the USA is clearly a capitalist pig, hell bent on ripping the entire world off.

Sam Manicom immediately when he arrived in the USA did just that. The first couple of pages of his trip into the US were the expected put down of the USA. However, Sam Manicom pulled himself up and in his musings explained to himself that he was being closed minded when he complains about that very thing in others. It made for a very refreshing change. He maintains a good neutral view throughout the trip through the USA and his adventures along the way are well explained and disseminated in a affable natured way.

He describes the trip well and finds some wonderful people on the way and certainly the US comes out of this with flying colours. Spectacular scenery is visited and some extraordinarily generous people are encountered along the way.

Overall if you like travel writing then this is a very good example of the genre with of course a couple of motorbikes thrown if for good luck.
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Format: Paperback
The final book of a four part series, From Tortillas to Totems picks up where Sam Manicom's previous book, Distant Suns, concluded. The border crossings and country counts are smaller here owing to the vast landmass of each North American country traversed, but the adventures and Sam's keen insights are no less evident.

As an American, I particularly enjoyed this book, as it gave me chance to see much of my own country (as well as Mexico and Canada) reflected through the eyes of a fellow traveler. In full disclosure, I consider Sam to be a friend of mine (despite the fact that he nearly killed me), as I am the "John" mentioned in his first book, Into Africa, who was involved in the motorcycle accident with him in Tanzania. Our meet up in New York in the last chapter of this book sort of bookends the whole series in a personal way for me - although that certainly won't carry over unless you're reading this and also appear somewhere in one or more of Sam's books.

I was a bit concerned before starting this final book that it would be a bit harder to get into. Part of the appeal of the early books is their setting in foreign and what I consider to be exotic locales. Would a book in which 2/3 of it is set in the developed and westernized world that I am a part of hold my attention beyond Mexico? Would the relative lack of travel experiences with corrupt and shady officials or risky and dangerous situations make for interesting reading?

I'm happy to report that From Tortillas to Totems is very much a fascinating read, but for different reasons than the prior books in the series.
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Format: Paperback
On a recommendation from some fellow BMW bikers I purchased Sam's latest book 'Tortillas to Totems' From opening the first page to the last I found it difficult to put it down. Sam has the very unique and simplistic way of involving the reader in his writing. He does this by explaining his journey details, with his partner Brigit, on their travels through Mexico, the USA and Canada. And even more impressive is that they did all this on a shoestring budget!!

For those of you who may think like myself that 'life is not a rehearsal' then this is a book to read and be inspired to travel, whilst you still can.

I will certainly now be buying his previous books.
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Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading the 4th book in the series detailing Sam Manicom and Birgits adventures on motorcycles, through Mexico, USA and Canada.
It almost makes me feel like I am there. When Sam describes the riding conditions, be it rain or shine, I can feel it too. These books are very easy to read and very difficult to put down.
One of my favourite passages from the book was not about bikes, but about the contrast between third and first world countries.
I took the liberty of putting in the relevant passage as a taster, in the hope that demand will lead to more books. a
‘North American supermarkets were a childish adventure for us. We were like kids in a toy store at Christmas. For the last couple of years we’d done most of our shopping in little shops where squadrons of flies practised aerobatics over the one choice of sardine, shampoo, soap, bread and sometimes even goat or sheep cheese. We’d bought our vegetables from little Indian women, choosing from their displays lovingly laid out on blankets on the ground. Great fun, but sometimes we’d dreamt of not having to bargain for everything. It’s a slow process. Now, these dreams were coming true. Ten choices of sardine, fixed price; twenty choices of shampoo, fixed price; but what to choose? And so many different types of bread! The goodies on the salad vegetable bar looked really fresh. We stood admiring them and then were amazed as artificial thunder rolled, lights flashed and artificial rain fell all over the salad from the ‘roof’ of the salad bar! When cool air floated out towards us I suddenly realised that I was standing with my mouth open, again… No blanket on the ground here, that’s for sure…’
Read it and, hopefully, you will be as hooked as I am.
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