Here’s something you don’t want to see: a hungry Lion licking his lips and looking at you…
Here is a much more idyllic image of what an African safari should be…but, the odds are you will see some of this as well:
That’s the kind of adventure I am up for, and these books will give you the same wanderlust!
“Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide” by Peter Allison
This seems like perfect advice when you go on safari – don’t let them think you are their next meal! What a great idea for a book….here is what Amazon says about it:
At age 19, Australian-born Allison headed to Africa for challenge and adventure, planning to stay no more than a year; having found work as a safari guide, he’s still there some 13 years later. In this fun, fearless memoir, Allison shares his experiences taking “guests” through the African wilderness, trips that often don’t go quite as planned-due especially to the unpredictability of the animals around them.
Allison is a skilled, funny and vibrant storyteller, dishing arcane bits of wisdom like an expatriate Alligator Hunter: “I understand a little bit of monkey language, and ‘kwe’ is a sound I listened for. It was an alarm… full blown monkey conniptions were reserved for leopards.”
A hilarious chapter recounting a troubled thousand mile trek through the Kalahari Desert finds Allison trying to wave down a passing truck in the middle of the night: “I realized that the driver would have seen what looked like a very animated sage bush with pasty white hands growing from it… he’d probably go straight to a witch doctor… and ask if there was a curse on him.”
This is exactly the kind of book I love, and thanks to my daughter Jessica, I can now read it and dream of an upcoming safari of my own…however, if this is a bit too exotic for you, why not just head to the beach?
Just make sure the beach isn’t on an island inhabited by the descendents of cannibals…or, in this case, read the book and laugh out loud!
Welcome to the Gilbert Islands, tucked away in the far northern pacific ocean, home to gorgeous beaches like this:
At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost — who had been wasting his life racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs — decided to pack up and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati.
As one review stated: “He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic.” I’m sure we all have felt that way! But he did it!
“The Sex Lives of Cannibals” tells the hilarious story of what happens when Troost discovers that Tarawa is not the island paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles through relentless, stifling heat, a variety of deadly bacteria, polluted seas, toxic fish — all in a country where the only music to be heard for miles around is “La Macarena.”
Oh, by the way: you feel like climbing to the top of Tarawa? Take a look at this picture – the entire island is twelve feet above sea level – THESE are the islands that will disappear due to climate change…making this book an even more valuable history of a unique part of the world. And it is hilarious to boot!
He and his girlfriend Sylvia spend two years battling incompetent government officials, alarmingly large critters, erratic electricity, and a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis); and contending with a bizarre cast of local characters, including “Half-Dead Fred” and the self-proclaimed Poet Laureate of Tarawa (a British drunkard who’s never written a poem in his life).
With “The Sex Lives of Cannibals”, Maarten Troost has delivered one of the most original, funny travelogues in years – his anecdote about the first time he swam in the pristine cove at the end of the island – only to discover what the locals do there – is priceless!
Troost is a superb writer, hilariously capturing what it is like to live in such a unique world. He has written two follow ups so far, so check them all out!
A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean by Melinda Blanchard and Robert Blanchard – published in 2000.
This is a fascinating book – not only about escaping the rat race, but escaping to a oasis, and then deciding to open a restaurant there!
This is the true story of “a trip to the beach” that never ends. It’s about a husband and wife who escape civilization to build a small restaurant on an island paradise — and discover that even paradise has its pitfalls. As one review put it: “It’s a story filled with calamities and comedy, culinary disasters and triumphs, and indelible portraits of people who live and work on a sliver of beauty set in the Caribbean Sea.”
The story begins when Bob and Melinda Blanchard sell their successful Vermont food business and decide, perhaps impulsively, to get away from it all. Why not open a beach bar and grill on Anguilla, their favorite Caribbean island? One thing leads to another and the little grill turns into an enchanting restaurant that quickly draws four-star reviews and a celebrity-studded clientele eager for Melinda’s delectable cooking.
Amid the frenetic pace of the Christmas “high season,” the Blanchards and their kitchen staff — Clinton and Ozzie, the dancing sous-chefs; Shabby, the master lobster-wrangler; Bug, the dish-washing comedian — come together like a crack drill team. And even in the midst of hilarious pandemonium, there are moments of bliss.
Even better, the couple published a cookbook with recipes from their acclaimed restaurant!
At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook (Clarkson Potter), features a delectable combination of Caribbean creations and New England favorites. From Calypso Chicken and Jamaican Jerk Shrimp to Vermont Cheddar Soup and Balsamic-Glazed Veal Chops, the Blanchards draw on a delightful blend of culinary traditions to create truly unique fare…delicious!
So whatever it takes to inspire you, these books will make you want to head off on your own grand adventure!