Monday, May 21, 2007

"In a final show of strength, the sun amped up its assault, blazing intensely before finanlly giving up and dropping below the rim of the earth. The searing breeze turned deliciously cool. The desert breathed a sigh of relief. At last I could let down my guard and revel in my environs, watching happily as the sky turned into a swirl of pink and violet and bronze as darkness slowly seeped from the east. I realized that the safest place in the Sahara was not a place at all, but a time: night. Making it to sunset, I thought, was the one goal I could pin my hopes on every day, since it would never disappoint. I unbuttoned my shirt to let the refreshing evening air wash over as much of my skin as possible."

What would you do for an adventure? Swim the English channel? Climb a mountain? Ride a bull in a rodeo? For Michael Benanav it was a lifelong dream to explore deserets. One night, while surfing the Internet, he stumbled across information about the Caravan of White Gold and the salt mines of Taoudenni. The Caraven was actually composed of Berabish desert people riding camels who would brave the searing heat of the Sahara desert to go deep into its heart to the salt mines of Taoudenni, where they would take blocks of this once precious mineral (once worth its weight in gold!) and transport it back to civilization. Michael was hooked! In short order he had scrapped most of his life savings together and was flying to Africa to meet with a guide to take him into the desert and join the Caravan. Together they would brave the barren, unforgiving land and make their way to Taoudenni and back.

Far from being a safe adventure, this is daring true story of a man who braved 117 degree temperature, dangerous land, and the constant threat that if he fell ill, the tribe would leave him to die in the desert rather than take him back to civilization, all in order to chase his dreams. The book starts off a little slow, but once your into it, your hooked! Check out "Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold." You won't regret it!

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