Illustrated by revealing interviews with women and men in the tourist resorts in the Sinai, Egypt, this book is ostensibly about western women who sleep with 'native' men while on holiday. Broadening the scope of issues involved, it examines the link between these holiday romances and a much wider romanticism of place and people - of the landscapes of paradise, deserts and the lure of the Bedouin sheikh - that are used to sell these destinations. It argues that the romantic stereotyping and deliberate positioning of 'Third World' resorts as places that somehow exist outside of the modernities the women come from is inextricably bound up in the relationships. Similarly, for the local man the tourist resort is perceived as a place other than his own cultural space and time and represents a modernity that is otherwise only found in the 'West'. The relationships that ensue can therefore only occur because the tourist resort acts as an intermediate space. In analyzing the interaction of these men and women within the context of modernity, the book provides insights into gender issues to do with globalization, travel and sexuality, as well as opening up the debate on sex tourism and showing this to be a lot more ambiguous and complicated than it might at first appear.
'This book will appeal to anyone who has ever fancied the waiter on vacation. Shifting attention from male to female sex tourists, and from sex itself to the wider context of sexualised tourism and tourist geographies, it also makes a serious and provocative intervention in debates about sexuality, gender and imperialism.' Richard Phillips, University of Liverpool UK. 'Carefully researched and thoughtfully written, Jacobs offers a rich analysis of the complexities and contradictions underlying tourist encounters between European women and "local" men in the Sinai. While postcolonial tourism has generated no shortage of theoretical speculation, this book succeeds by actually conveying the voices of women and men, tourists and locals, "moderns" and "non-moderns" as they reflect upon their encounters with Oriental and Occidental "others".' Tim Oakes, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA 'This is a lucid account of tourism and draws usefully upon postcolonial understandings of the historical-socio-economic web that exists between "the West and the Rest" to understand the intricate relationships between European women and Egyptian men. Jacobs offers a salutary reminder that the longing to "lose oneself" is always problematic and never neutral, and that the desire "to leave the hell of work to a paradise of leisure" is always freighted with historical-socio-cultural resonances.' Times Higher Education