Friday, May 11, 2007

You spin me right round baby, right round

Absence characterizes acquisitionist land at the moment, on the blog scene and mentally as my mind drifts off…

I’m distracted by Big Exciting Things. Disillusioned with work/study/work/study I impulsively decided to take time off uni. On June 22nd, I’m heading off on a round-the world trip with mother dearest. Three months in Europe – with a rough country plan and a Eurail pass for spontaneity and convenience. I’m wildly excited about Greece because I’ve been learning Modern Greek for the last two years. We’ve allowed a month in Morocco so there should be some serious exploration and dining there. From there we head on to India and Nepal for six weeks. Lastly, we finish up with Thailand and Vietnam. Reading ramifications entail immersion in a plethora of travel narratives and guide books as I ease into the art of travel with mental meandering.

Holy Cow by Australian author Sarah MacDonald is a crazy crash course in the madness that is India. As a student backpacker Sarah had gone to India, and left disillusioned and loathsome. Before leaving, a man prophesised she would return, but giving him the finger, Sarah returned to Australia. As it would work out, she later goes back to India for love. Following her husband there, a journalist, Sarah befriends some locals and sets up a life in India. Sarah embarks upon a humorous and alarming spiritual quest as she investigates a number of different faiths in a place where people do not understand her agnosticism.

Particularly amusing is Sarah’s attempt at mastering Hindi. Frustrated by her outsider status Sarah learns Hindi to converse with the locals and circumvent extortionate ‘special’ prices for foreigners. Practicing Hindi on the streets she meets with surprised reactions. Unfortunately, Sarah was taught the overly formal language which according to her teacher befitted her station. Try questioning a taxi driver about his ‘automobile of gold’ or buying some time with a ‘let me twirl my moustache whilst I cogitate’ and you’ll have an idea about the utility value of this mode of expression.

Rule No 5: No Sex on the Bus by Brian Thacker confirms the reasons I wouldn’t want to do a tour but is nevertheless full of amusing, frightening and amorous anecdotes. As a tour guide on bus trips throughout Europe Brian was responsible for enforcing - and on the odd occasion breaking - the rules set out for tour guides and trippers. Keeping a bunch of wildly oversexed, energetic and mixed tourists would be a testing experience but it’s evident Thacker’s easygoing attitude and sense of humour got him through it.


Today, I finished off a sumptuous course in the form of The Summer of My Greek Taverna by Tom Stone. Again with the travel narratives sorry, but this one dovetails nicely with my fascination with all things Greek. Tom Stone, an American man, goes to Greece one summer in the hope of writing a novel. He finds love with a French painter in Greece and stays for twenty-two years. Buying into a partnership running The Beautiful Eleni, a taverna in Greece, he goes into business on the Patmian island. He comes to know and work the taverna intimately and discovers that the romanticised retreat he had only experienced as a visitor is a stress-mine. Despite this, word of Tom's cooking and hospitality spreads, and the taverna experiences unprecedented success. Referred to throughout the book and featured at the back are the tried-and-tested recipes from the taverna. I’m particularly excited about trying out the Youvarlakia Avgolemono (Meatballs in Egg-Lemon Sauce) on my housemates.

3 comments:

Ex Libris said...

Your trip sounds wonderful! Hope you have a great time.

Bybee said...

This sounds like such an excellent trip! Much more broadening and educational than university life. I do hope you'll be a little bit wired during your trip so that we'll know what's going on with you and your travels.

acquisitionist said...

ex libris and bybee, thank you.

I'm itching to go and can't wait for this semester to wind down. My plan is to keep a journal - for books and travel impressions - and to cruise into a net cafe and post at least once a week. Will get onto creating a travel blog soon...