Posted by mukikamu on December 6, 2007
Here I am, stepping into something huge again. Paul Theroux is one of the most popular travel writers of our times and I am fully aware that it will take me years to eat myself through his literature. He has several essential travel volumes to choose from and hereby I officially promise to report on The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express A.S.A.P..
The volume I read this time was The Happy Isles of Oceania and to be perfectly honest, after the poetic and respectful admiration towards locals of Thesiger, the superior realism of Theroux came as a bucket of icy water to my face. While Thesiger emphasizes his travels’ substantiality and nobleness, Theroux is shamelessly critical. He calls himself a ‘natural skeptic’ but sometimes I felt he was directly rude. He is not the type to rave about his destinations and I definitely wasn’t encouraged to start planning a trip right away. After getting over this initial culture shock however, I found his book informative, drawing an up-to-date picture of the far-away and exotic islands I just dream about. It is a very personal book too, written when times were tough, which explains his bitterness of style, but I am still flabbergasted how miserably unhappy you can be in paradise. The most enjoyable passages for me were the ones where he is quietly paddling his collapsible kayak alone and his rage and anger gives way to peace in his heart. Envy filled my heart.
I really must read another book of his to get a real picture. However spoilt, ungrateful, unsatisfied and grumpy he seems, he is a brilliant observer and a great traveler.
Posted in Australia, AUSTRALIA & THE PACIFIC, Books, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Fiji islands, Hawaii, Marquesas, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Travelers, Trobriands, Vanatu, Vava'u | Tagged: Australia, Bengt Danielson, book, Cook, Easter Island, Gaugin, Marquesas, Mellville, New Zealand, Oceania, Samoa, Solomons, Tahiti, Theroux, Thesiger, Thor Heyerdahl, Tonga, traveler, Trobriands, Vanatu, Vava'u | 1 Comment »
Posted by mukikamu on August 6, 2007
Is there a greater classic among adventure books than the reckless Thor Heyerdahl’s story about a 104 day long raft ride through the Pacific in 1947? It is just as crazy as it is heroic and makes your jaw drop everytime. The 6 men fighting the elements on a hand-made balsa wood vesel are at the mercy of the acient Gods of South America and the Pacific. Encounters with wonderful Verne-like creatures of the sea bring the Pacific to life. Squids and giant sharks are right under your feet, fish and octopus fly into your face daily. You just have to put your toothbrush in the water and a fish bites on it vehemently. Myths accompany the Scandinavian crew all the way, it’s an uplifting tale of a pursuit of dreams. Mandatory for armchair explorers. I am prepared to fight everyone who says it’s a children’s book.
OUR HERO THOR HEYERDAHL
Posted in AUSTRALIA & THE PACIFIC, Books, Easter Island, Ecuador, Marquesas, Peru, South America, Tahiti, Travelers | 3 Comments »
Posted by mukikamu on January 25, 2007
One of the greatest explorers of all times, James Cook has put his experiences on his journeys around the world down in a book. We can be thankful because his ship log truly takes us back in time. I am always amazed at the challenges these sailors overcame with the limited technology at hand at the time. The book itself is a bit long and tiring to follow, but is definately one of the essetial reads for vocational travelers. What we today call exploration is just a show-off compared to the heroism of Cook’s travels. Imagine he travelled the world between 1772 and 1779! It is also thought-provoking to peek-in the daily life of these ships. The tough conditions, imprisonment and army rules would certainly drive modern men mad in no time.
Posted in ASIA, AUSTRALIA & THE PACIFIC, Books, Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, Travelers | Leave a Comment »