|What is it about the inhospitable corners of the world that so attracts the imagination? Scott in the Antarctic, Hillary on top of Everest, and a multitude of wanderers--from Wilfred Thesiger and T. E. Lawrence to Gertrude Bell--wandering through the vast, empty sands of "the empty quarter" in what is now Saudi Arabia; each of these explorers has been drawn to places most of us would never think of going and found there an unexpected window onto their own souls. In The Road to Ubar, filmmaker Nicholas Clapp follows in the footsteps of earlier visitors to the Arabian peninsula as he seeks the legendary city of Ubar. Going back at least two millennia, stories about a vast city filled with gold that disappeared almost in an instant haunt the literature and lore of Arabia. And for almost as long as the stories have been around, so have the rogues and dreamers who have tried to find it. His interest sparked by the accounts of earlier travelers in the region such as Thesiger and Bertram Thomas, Clapp decided to put together his own team in hopes of finding and filming the lost city. |
Using both modern tools (photographs taken from space, courtesy of NASA) as well as old ones (maps, descriptions, and written accounts), Clapp and his team slowly pieced together the clues until they arrived, at last, at the site where they would spend the next four years digging. How they got to the end of The Road to Ubar and what they found there is at the heart of this unusual travel memoir.