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Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Unhinged in Ethiopia: Two Thousand Kilometers of Hell and Heaven on a Bicycle shares the fascinating adventure of George Balarezo as he explores Ethiopia's mountainous terrain on his bicycle and learns about the continent's rich cultural legacy. Balarezo teaches English in South Korea and when he lands a job at a university that includes four months of paid vacation each year, he goes on a bicycle tour of exotic places at every opportunity. After tour cycling in China and Mongolia, his next destination is Africa’s most mountainous country. With his newly purchased second-hand bicycle, he lands in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital. While waiting to cross a busy street, two children persistently ask him for money; his adventure has just begun and this is his story.
George Balarezo’s Unhinged in Ethiopia is an informative and mesmerizing tale of his journey through a beautiful, poor, and culture-rich country. Written in the first-person, it felt akin to accompanying him on his tour. Balarezo writes in vivid detail, especially about the people that he meets along the way. It's a must-read for those who want to experience the world on a bike and learn from their experience. Struggling with the heat, illness, mountainous roads, and children throwing stones at him, he ends his tour with a better understanding of himself and the world in general. I found the African proverbs that introduce most chapters very interesting. Balarezo reveals to us his mindset while traveling and it is very enlightening. Highly recommended!