In the Mountains of Heaven: True Tales of Adventure on Six Continents

by Mike Tidwell

Hardcover, 2000

Call number




Lyons Press (2000), Edition: 1st, 244 pages

Media reviews

The other essays in Mountains of Heaven are lighter and many are filled with hilarious travel anecdotes. In one essay titled Hanoi Haircut, Tidwell muses on the rich experience of getting a trim abroad, and touts the barber’s chair as “the most intimate contact you’re likely to have with the local culture [and] a chance to assume a part of the local culture on your own body.” In another welcome digression, he relates his first overseas haircut, which took place in a grass hut in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After the cut, the barber methodically picked up every last fallen hair and flushed each one down a nearby latrine in order to prevent local witch doctors from using the hair to work “bad juju” on him.

User reviews

LibraryThing member John_Vaughan
Mike Tidwell seems to believe in ghosts and magic. He certainly writes magically about his adventures; fishing the inner-city parks and ponds of DC or camping in the Congo, his ‘voice’ resonates with his pleasure, respect and love for the peoples he encounters. Tidwell, a journalist and former Peace Corps volunteer, has earned the praise of fellow travel writers, including Paul Theroux and Bob Shacochis, but he has a unique prose, light, humorous, self-effacing and very, very engaging.

Recalling a hunting trip he and his wife make while visiting the Mbuti pygmy in the Ituri forest he contrasts his present life in globally warmed DC with those of this ”… perfect society. We have witnessed the best that humans can be.” On first entering the Mbuti clearing they find the entire twenty members in uncontrollable laughter, so infectious and gleeful that, without any idea of what is so funny, they both join in with the giggling and chuckling, ”… instantly amused with by the sheer, contagious joy of these stone-age comics.”

In these glorious travels Tidwell is still amused when marooned on a tiny desert island in the Caribe with, as its own travel blog says, no amenities at all. Or when continuingly challenged by Kyrgyzstani shepherds, in the Mountains of Heaven as to what it is he wants - ”Gold, wives or horses?”

If you are a reader or collector of travelogues, an armchair voyager or one who has already seen it all and now finds it enough just to recall memories and enjoy another’s trips, do read this glorious book.
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