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Close Encounters with Strangers

Eric Hansen is an intrepid traveller with a keenly perceptive eye and an appreciation for the odd and unusual. He will go anywhere and try anything. Through it all he manages to capture the most revealing conversations and the most transporting moments in his travels, from the Maldives to Sacramento, from Cannes to Borneo and far beyond.

Hansen writes about the mind-altering experience of drinking kava in Vanuatu and about heartrending moments working at Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying Destitute in Calcutta. He joins a grieving husband searching for his dead wife's wedding wing at a crash site in the Borneo rain forest. He recounts his miraculous survival of Cyclone Tracy on a fishing boat off the north coast of Australia, and he befriends an elderly Russian woman who would prepare catered dinners for George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky in her tiny Manhattan kitchen while drug dealers were shot to death in the downstairs lobby. He spends time with an ornithologist who studies endangered ants and the sex lives of banana slugs - and takes topless dancers on bird-watching expeditions.

Each essay is a passionate experience of life refracted through Hansen's singularly evocative and original voice; a gift for remarkable detail makes the strangest of situations at once accessible and intriguing. Suffused with Hansen's inimitable insight, self-effacing charm and deadpan humour, THE BIRD MAN AND THE LAP DANCER surprises and delights with a myriad of places and possibilities.

Hardback - 228 pages

Published 2005

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  • Seller location: Hamilton, Waikato, NZ

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