Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town
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It was by choice that Theroux didn't walk into an Internet cafe in a cell-sized wooden shack in almost any African shantytown and get his wife in Hawaii to fax him the New York Times crossword puzzle. Even at the end of his trip, through all the corruption and horror Africa's dictators have visited on their lands and people, the beaten, oppressed Africans Theroux has met (. In the mountains of Ethiopia he traces the steps of Richard Francis Burton and Rimbaud to a medieval walled town where hyena roam the streets. Admittedly, Theroux reserves most of his vitriol for Western aid workers, riding around in shiny white Land Cruisers, refusing to give him a lift. I do strongly agree with this statement: Only Africans were capable of making a difference in Africa.
In this time he wrote a dozen volumes of highly praised fiction and a number of successful travel books, from which a selection of writings were taken to compile his book Travelling the World (Penguin, 1992). Oh, right, he does get shot at, but even that doesn't sound quite as horrific as it probably should. Lastly the Author mentioned how Africa has became a welfare Continent enabled by NGO’s dependent — insisting upon reinforcing dependency reinforced by romantic notions of “Out of Africa” , clueless Safari visitors and short term hands off Diplomats.It's unfortunate that it was a strictly eastern African trip; a comparison to Northern and Western Africa, including Francophone and more Arabic-speaking countries, would also have been of great interest. Nothing is more exhausting than his 100-page tirade describing things that do not exist: roads, real government, a future. Yet he does take us where we - tender visitors on river cruises and to safari lodges - would fear to go. Theroux's] witty observations and obvious love and curiosity for Africa should help make this entertaining epic a yardstick for future travel writing. Can he live a life so removed from the world that he has completely missed the international campaign against antipersonnel mines, a campaign that has produced acres of reportage and dozens of books and which culminated in the Landmine Ban Treaty of 1998, the best-known piece of international legislation of recent times?
But his encounters with the natives, aid workers and occasional tourists make for rollicking entertainment, even as they offer a sobering look at the social and political chaos in which much of Africa finds itself. Theroux rides a Chinese cultural revolution era railway to Malawi, a gift to free people from South African imperialism. Ultimately, though, what saves "Dark Star Safari" from being a long gasp of disillusion, is his meditations on aging.
Because, despite his hissy fits about white people in white cars who won't give him lifts, he never actually visits an aid project or the office of an aid organisation. The older traveler knows it best: in our hearts we are youthful, and we are insulted to be treated as old men and burdens, for we have come to know that the years have made us more powerful and streetwise. He had liked Africa for being the anti-Europe, the anti-West, which it is, sometimes defiantly, sometimes lazily. Don't travel in crappy cars or eat bad food just so you can prove that you've "lived like an African. As a travel guide, Theroux can both rankle and beguile, but after reading this marvelous report, readers will probably agree with the priest who observes, "Wonderful people.
And for those of us who might squander our two weeks off on a predictable cruise, Theroux's vantage point from the dusty road is very useful indeed. Dark Star Safari, a newly formed group featuring Jan Bang, Erik Honoré, Eivind Aarset and Samuel Rohrer present its eponymous recording debut, an evocative song-driven album.A trip through some of the most threatened and beautiful land in the world, by train, dugout canoe, chicken bus and truck.