Cannibals, Savages, Sex and Great Walls Too! Troost, Troost, Troost! Great Adventure Travel!

Yikes, Yak!

Boy, that NEVER gets old…at least they’ve got plenty of room to roam…as opposed to this beach!

Talk about drawing a crowd…maybe you need to find a beach a bit more secluded, like this one…oh, except that:

Nice Beach, Hungry Cannibals!

You know that saying, right? What a beautiful beach, too bad about the cannibals…remember that if you decide to escape to paradise…just make sure the beach isn’t on an island inhabited by the descendents of cannibals…or, in this case, retreat to the safety of your easy chair read the three of the best travel books written by the terrific Author J. Maarten Troost!

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost – published in 2007
. Now THIS is a great title for a book!

Welcome to the Gilbert Islands, tucked away in the far northern pacific ocean, home to gorgeous beaches like this:

Kiribati Awaits!

How could you resist? Well, lucky for us, an aspiring travel writer with wanderlust couldn’t! At the age of twenty-six, J. 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. With the success of his first book, he came back with more!

Getting Stoned With Savages – Maarten Troost. Published in 2006

Troost found a way to up the ante from “Sex Lives” with his next memoir, “Getting Stoned with Savages”. Once again we get his wry wit and infectious joy of discovery in a hilarious account of life in the farthest reaches of the world.

How can you argue about a part of the world that leads to pictures like this?

After two grueling years on the island of Tarawa, battling feral dogs, machete-wielding neighbors, and a lack of beer on a daily basis, Maarten Troost was in no hurry to return to the South Pacific.

But as time went on, he realized he felt remarkably out of place among the trappings of twenty-first-century America. When he found himself holding down a job—one that might possibly lead to a career—he knew it was time for him and his wife, Sylvia, to repack their bags and set off for parts unknown.

“Eat The Man!”

“Getting Stoned with Savages” tells the hilarious story of Troost’s time on Vanuatu — a rugged cluster of islands where the natives gorge themselves on kava and are still known to “eat the man.”


Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles against typhoons, earthquakes, and giant centipedes and soon finds himself swept up in the laid-back, clothing-optional lifestyle of the islanders. When his wife Sylvia gets pregnant, they decamp for slightly-more-civilized Fiji, a fallen paradise where the local chiefs can be found watching rugby in the house next door.

And as they contend with new parenthood in a country rife with prostitutes and government coups, their son begins to take quite naturally to island living—in complete contrast to his dad.

Just like his previous work, this is a hilarious, well-written account of “living in paradise” – a great travel book!


Troost’s most recent adventures takes him to a homey place that 1.5 billion people call home – CHINA.


Yep, it’s time for Troost to head to China to check out what sounds like the coolest wall in the world!

But China is more than the Great Wall, 1.5 billion people all in front of you – they also have Yaks.

Yes, Yaks! Yikes! Yak! This one looks like he’s in a BAD mood…here’s why:

In the mood for yak dumplings? Neither is he!

“Lost on Planet China: One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation” by J. Maarten Troost

Troost finds yaks, walls, people, spit, people, amazingly crowded trains, the worst pollution he’s ever seen – and much, much more…I can’t imagine ever going to China without reading this!

As you can see, China is BIG BIG BIG – and it’s a complex, fascinating country with enough dangers and delicacies to keep him, and readers, endlessly entertained.

When the travel bug hit Troost again, he decided to go big-time, taking on the world’s most populous and intriguing nation. In “Lost on Planet China”, Troost escorts readers on a journey through the new beating heart of the modern world, from the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi Desert and the hinterlands of Tibet. With Yaks.

Here’s how Amazon describes the book: “Lost on Planet China” finds Troost dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai; eating Yak in Tibet (hence the unhappy Yak standing before you)

Troost must decipher all sorts of food and restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as Cattle Penis with Garlic); visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead, very orange); and hiking (with 80,000 other people) up Tai Shan, China’s most revered mountain. And of course, eating those delicious-looking Yak dumplings…

But in addition to his trademark gonzo adventures, the book also delivers a telling look at a vast and complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think.

As Troost shows, while we may be familiar with Yao Ming or dim sum or the cheap, plastic products that line the shelves of every store, the real China remains a world—indeed, a planet–unto itself.

Food can be classified as meat, poultry, grain, fish, fruit, vegetable and Chinese. Embrace the Chinese. If you love it, it will love you back. True, you may find yourself perplexed by what resides on your plate. You may even be appalled.

“The Chinese have an expression: We eat everything with four legs except the table, and anything with two legs except the person. They mean it too. And so you may find yourself in a restaurant in Guangzhou contemplating the spicy cow veins”

Again, cue up the yak dumplings in Lhasa, or the grilled frog in Shanghai, or the donkey hotpot in the Hexi Corridor, or the live squid on the island of Putuoshan.

There are Troost has proven himself a terrific writer, and this is just another great adventure to take with him! But know that, if you go to China, you will end up in the middle of this:



This book is a real eye-opener to what it would be like to visit China – and I WOULD love to someday…but boy, does it sound and look crowded…

Congrats to Troost for his great travel writing – If you haven’t read all of these books, you are behind – as for me, I’m on two of them for the second time…they really are all GREAT!

Categories: Books / Media, China, Food, Politics, Restaurants, Talent/Celebrities, Technology, Travel, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized, Wacky Food

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11 replies


  1. China’s Mob Alert! World’s Most Crowded Subways EVER! « johnrieber
  2. Holiday Gift Guide! Headhunters! Cannibals! South Seas Paradise! Exotic Travel Escapes! « johnrieber
  3. Headhunters! Amazing Travel Adventures Gift Pack! « Spinning Orbit
  4. American Nomads! The Amazing Adventures Of Warriors, Mountain Men And The Wild West! | johnrieber
  5. World’s Most Dangerous Hiking Trail! Cliffhanger Restaurants! China’s Extreme Adventures! | johnrieber
  6. “Nothing To Envy!” The Horror Of Life In North Korea! Brilliant Book Looks At This Isolated Hell! | johnrieber
  7. Amazing Airline Landing Skims Crowd! Incredible Travel Adventures! – johnrieber
  8. Living In Paradise – With Cannibals! Incredible “Faraway” South Seas Adventures! – johnrieber
  9. North Korea’s Legendary “Koryo” Burger! The Mystery Of A Mysterious Hamburger Revealed! – johnrieber
  10. Cannibals! Headhunters! Paradise!? The “Wednesday Bookmobile” Heads To The Wild Wild Wild South Pacific! – johnrieber
  11. Cannibals! Headhunters! Paradise!? The “Wednesday Bookmobile” Heads To The Wild Wild Wild South Pacific! – johnrieber

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