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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 10, 2015 8:51pm-9:01pm EST

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i actually took that motorcycle for three years alone and wrote it all over the world. >> host: you voted around the world. why? >> guest: a lot of us have passions and dreams and i always wanted to travel around the world. i had a passion in photography and certainly writing and motorcycle riding. i found myself at a fork in the road unemployed and recently divorced so i decided instead of trying to find the next job i sold everything that i had and hopped on a motorcycle to experience different cultures and different people all over the world. >> host: why the name forks? >> guest: we come to forks in our lives and forks are the things on the motorcycle that keep us in spirit thing going in the right direction. forks are what we shared annie food with and finally if you are a musician or other of us who
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are no would have tuning fork is. it brings harmony in residence to that. for me certainly as all of them. >> host: before we get into some of the things i want to talk about this book does have recipes. >> guest: actually this book does have recipes. this book is about my experience with connecting people. i went on this trip alone but i can tell you that it didn't take long for me to realize i was never alone. i was lost and even lonely and even hungry. i would just turn around and someone was there. it's amazing how easy it is to connect with people. a lot of times we do that over food or drink. i thought well rather than just do the travel narrative in forks that i would bring another element to that, a full sensory experience. the photography is in there and the food. what's better than tasting the flavor of different cultures? we always talk about food.
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it seems everyone when you are cooking at home and up in the kitchen and that is where we are connected. that's where we connect with each other and with culture. >> host: did you run into any political situations as you traverse the world? >> guest: i've got to tell you there were a few places that didn't want me to come to the country one of them being sudan. definitely the united states hasn't had good diplomatic relations with sudan. when i got to ethiopia my own practice in negotiation and diplomacy to convince him to let me into the country. here's where it gets kind of funny. i have been on the internet with different forms and there were people in cairo, americans trying to get into sudan and some in southern europe as well. all of them had been turned down by the sudanese consular. here i am in ethiopia. am i going to turn back around and go to kenya? where might want to go next?
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somehow after going on three different visits to the sudanese embassy state sudanese embassy state is guided to grant me a visa but there was a catch. sudan from a geography point of view is the largest country in africa. they gave me only seven days to get through it so a transit visa essentially. i had the time that very carefully. also the same kind of thing in syria. as an american you are supposed to have an opportunity, you are supposed to acquire your visa here in washington d.c. at the syrian embassy or consulate before you go there. they don't grant visas to anybody who lives in a country that has diplomatic relations which we did and we do. when i got to the border they said go to washington. i could have gotten this visa before i headed into syria but i had been on the road for two years plus. those visas expire in six months and are only good for 90 days. once again here i am stuck at the border.
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we are talking politics and diplomacy. how do he get into syria? i can turn around and go back to jordan which is where i was writing go through israel but i really wanted to see syria. i took out my tent and camped out between jordan and syria and i waited until i finally convince somebody to call damascus and give me the okay to go into syria. i'm telling you it was probably, maybe because expectations were low but it was one of the best countries i've visited. i never once had to pay for a tank of gas. any gas station i will went into the embrace me and said mr. allen you are our american friends and even at the border even though i had all the pomp and circumstance to get this visa into the country and i had to get one for my motorcycle too too, here's what they said. wade mr. allen the chief inspector wants to see you and i'm thinking great they are not
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going to let me through. there are guns -- guards with guns of the big iron gate. the chief inspector shows up where i'm waiting with my motorcycle gear and i had been there for over day. he said before we go we must have chai. we get together here and have a beer. here it's less have chai. he sat on the side of this dusty border stop on a dirt road and drew an outline of the map of syria. on that he pointed out here is where you need to go to experience syria. the people there are warm. it's just sad that the government you know it actually brings tears to my eyes to think about what's going on there now. i had such a positive experience in syria but that's where we connect with people. it's that tm that culture but i had good experiences too.
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i embraced south africa and its diversity. all over south america, just fantastic people all over the world, fantastic food and beyond border hassles or challenges which i call opportunities anyway that we could get through those things. great stuff all over the world. >> host: allen carl did you ever get treated poorly because you were an american? >> guest: never once was i treated poorly. in fact i was in brazil and i was at a little café a little restaurant chatting and practicing my portuguese at this point and i actually there was another american who brought up the fact that i can't believe we are always getting tossed under the bus so to speak mistreated or maybe misunderstood and what this personally and said, he is like i am tired of hearing americans think that people are
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mistreating them were look at them differently. he said i could think that's all in your mind. that's what he said to me. i found that very similar with other travelers that i met from all over the world is that no people are more interested in learning about us and though it's no you know amazing fact that i would meet people and all the different countries who would try many times to go to the lottery of getting a visa to come to our country. people want to come here. they don't want to push us away. >> host: in your travels did you ever have to call upon the good graces or potential and wants of your brother jonathan carl the white house correspondent for abc news? >> guest: there was one case. it is story on sudan. the atm card and internet access are pretty much everywhere but sudan, it's pretty tough to convert american money or use an
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atm card issued from an american bank or even an international bank. so i was challenged with how am i going to get money to make my way through the seven days going through there? i called jonathan and i said are there any thoughts? he had been to sudan on two or three different expeditions i guess and he had left in a safe in a hotel in khartoum some money that he had forgotten when he checked out of that hotel and believe it or not this is what is so amazing is the sudanese still had his money. ..
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[applause] [applause] >> good evening everyone, thank you for coming out. what a fantastic crowd and you are also wise to be here. i am one of the co-owners of politics and prose my husband and co-owner and bu


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