Tea, it is a common beverage that not all my like but all do know it. It has been poured for such a long time that mankind’s history seems intertwined with it. However, the significance of the drink goes even deeper than that, as is shown in The Book of Tea.
I’m unsure whether or not to call The Book of Tea a genuine book. When reading the text, it’s as if reading a 100-page long poem, or a monologue. Although there is a lot of information shared with the reader the combination of words and the rhythm of the sentences that Okakura uses almost require spoken instead of written words from time to time. This makes reading The Book of Tea an interesting, but also a bit of a tiring experience.
Travel literature is a tricky business, especially when you’ve traveled half the world already and seem to be a tad cynical. Unlike Theroux’ other work, Dark Star Safari is a lot more about people and problems than about travel.
Let’s start with the obvious: Africa is a complicated continent. It’s huge, it houses hundreds of different tribes and people, and it was left in ruins by some idiotic colonists who thought they could use it as their personal bank account. The outcome of this rather simple equation is that Africa is still trying to find itself, and the solutions to the problems they are currently having. While Dark Star Safari Droughtwas originally written in 2002, many of the problems described by Theroux still exist and many new ones have entered the stage. and failing harvests are only becoming worse, resulting in whole tribes and people being uprooted to find their luck and livelihood elsewhere. However, it is rather unlike Theroux to focus this much on problems instead of travel…
Everywhere I look, there is a great open space surrounding the small train. Everywhere I look, there are houses and streets surrounding the large yellow train. Everywhere I look, there are trains. The Great Railway Bazaar proves how many there are in the world.
I like trains, or at least: I like taking the train. If I have the possibility, I take the train to work, or to visit people. It gives you a great opportunity to get some work done, to read something, or to just stare through the window and watch the landscape pass by. It is this feeling of freedom, a moment to relax and let your thoughts drift by like clouds that Theroux describes so well in The Great Railway Bazaar as he travels through Asia, and because of that it is one of my favourite books of all time.