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The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer: Close…

The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer: Close Encounters with Strangers

by Eric Hansen

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1459122,648 (3.86)5


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The tone in this travel book spans from wild parties on Thursday Island and lucky boat races along the West Coast to somber caregiving in Calcutta and a spooky story in Borneo. I liked the exotic pieces in Vanuatu and Maldives compared to the more mundane places in America. But to make up for it, Hansen gives the reader a close-up of individuals like Zoya and the Birdman. Overall an interesting read. ( )
  Deracine | Sep 4, 2018 |
This is the first book by Hansen I've read, and I enjoyed it. It is a very funny and quick read. There are not many travel writers who describe events like "It was like an all-male barn dance at sea." Or describe a man spitting his flaming dentures off a pier on Thursday Island. ( )
  benjclark | Jan 12, 2016 |
This book is a collection of stories about the author's experiences traveling the world. I really like the way the author relates to the people he encounters while traveling. His tone never sounds patronizing or condescending, and he seems to have very genuine interactions with the people he meets. I am interested to read more by Hansen. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
After a lifetime of travel to exotic locations, the author recounts some of his most memorable interactions with people he met along the way. You will meet an elderly woman who caters food to royalty from her derelict home, island natives, a stripper and a grieving husband among others. Travel vicariously from the comfort of your own home. ( )
  poetreegirl | Mar 4, 2013 |
I'm a sucker for fluffy, smart-aleck, 3-star travel memoirs, but this one was different. These stories (as the subtitle "Close Encounters with Strangers" suggests), are all about a diverse crowd of incredibly fascinating characters.

The title story was a wonderful study of the natural history of exotic dancers, "...you can't expect to mix money, men, naked women and alcohol and expect to have an easy time." It fell short on ornithology however. Through some shoddy note-taking or editing, the author mentions the main character's trip to Maine, in search of specialties like Colima Warbler and Harris' Hawk. Stick to the strippers, Mr. Hanson.

Many stories were predictable, but all were gems, from the nostagic "Life at the Grand Hotel", to the sad ghost story, "Three Nights on the Mountain".

Speaking of Ghosts, it was "The Ghost Wind" an underdog racing story, that brought a tear to my eye. 150 karoke-screaming cadets on the decrepit Indonesian tall ship beating Japan's "King of the Sea" in a wind-less race to LA. Great stuff. Great people. ( )
  Sandydog1 | Jul 4, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679771824, Paperback)

Eric Hansen survives a cyclone on a boat off the Australian coast, cradles a dying man in Calcutta, and drinks mind-altering kava in Vanuatu. He helps a widower search for his wife's wedding ring amid plane-crash wreckage in Borneo and accompanies topless dancers on a bird-watching expedition in California. From the Maldives to Sacramento, from Cannes to Washington Heights, Eric Hansen has a way of getting himself into the most sacred ceremonies and the most candid conversations.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:11 -0400)

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A study in Emerald -- The fairy reel -- October in the chair -- The hidden chamber -- Forbidden brides of the faceless slaves in the secret house of the night of dread desire -- The flints of memory lane -- Closing time -- Going Wodwo -- Bitter grounds -- Other people -- Keepsakes and treasures -- Good boys deserve favours -- Strange little girls -- Harlequin valentine -- Locks -- The problem of Susan -- Instructions -- My life -- Feeders and eaters -- Diseasemaker's croup -- Goliath -- Pages from a journal found in a shoebox left in a greyhound bus somewhere between Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Kentucky -- How to talk to girls at parties -- The day the saucers came -- Sunbird -- Inventing Aladdin -- The monarch of the glen.… (more)

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