Forty-eight engaging commentaries by "a modern day Mark Twain," sociologist, photographer, and prize-winning travel journalist, Peter Rose. Included are accounts of excursions on land and sea and portraits of places and people from Cape Cod to Cape Horn. There are captivating photos, stories about playing gumshoe in Honolulu, tour guide in Amsterdam and taxonomist in China, descriptions of windjamming in Maine and on the Mediterranean, trekking in Tuscany, exploring Tierra del Fuego aboard the MV Via Australis and many other adventures, and intriguing revelations about travel writing itself.
From the Prologue: "Travel Writing"
This introduction is about the lives and not-so-hard times of travel writers. Its title is not a redux of grammar grinch Lynne Truss's attack on those who misplace commas. I may be many things, but I am not a Chinese panda who eats shoots and leaves -- nor is my wife. But we are members of a specialized subspecies of scribblers: journalists who spend short and very intense periods eating (and sleeping and sightseeing), shooting pictures, and then rushing away from domestic venues and foreign climes with notebooks and heads full of ideas for writing knowingly about what are, more often than not, very short experiences.
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that those who answer our queries, pose for our photos -- or, more often, observe us as we snap away -- then watch us fade into the sunset, scratch their heads and say, "What is it with those guys? They breeze into town, check out our restaurants, stay in our hotels, inns and B&Bs, take their pictures, and scoot."
Many who do know what we are really doing there often speculate about what will be written about them. Those most au courant, mainly people in the hospitality business, hope to read glowing reports of our visits that are given the widest possible circulation. It is not an unrealistic expectation for, while trying to maintain objectivity, travel journalists more than other writers who also depend on a norm of reciprocity, often have a special feeling for where their bread and butter and less prosaic fare is coming from. In many ways, those who "do" travel are like all other writers who fancy ourselves as wordsmiths but are also different from them.
Most journalists, especially investigative ones, like most social scientists (I'm one of those, too, and sometimes have difficulty keeping my roles sorted out), are extremely cautious when they pull together their stories, reports and analyses based on lengthy research. They are rarely given to taking strong stands unless they can undergird them with unimpeachable data. While not averse to influencing readers, it is rarely a primary goal. This is not so for travel writers. For them (us, when I wear that hat), punditry is expected.
"Take my word, this Indonesian island near Singapore is real find."
"While the brochures make it seem like paradise, I think it is a terribly over-rated place and I would look elsewhere before considering staying there. Trust me."
"If you want a challenging adventure while enjoying creature comforts back in camp, this trip is for you...."
Permanent SabbaticalPROLOGUE: TRAVEL WRITING
1 Eats, Shoots, and Leaves
PART I: AMERICAN POTPOURRI
2 Sentimental Journey
3 Alpine Ambiance in the Green Mountains
4 Between Wintah and Mudtime
5 Hot Rocks and Hedonism
6 Down on the Farm
7 Getting Ready for Prime Time
8 Sooner Sophistication
9 This Place is for the Birds
10 Stoop-Shouldered in Sanibel
11 White Sands, Red Sunsets, and Clear Water
12 Southern Exposure
13 Kiawah Then and Now
14 Pearls of Newport
15 At Home in Paradise
PART II: IN FOREIGN CLIMES
16 Tricks and Treatments in Cancun
17 Moorish Arches and Other Spanish Delights
18 Chianti Classico
19 Italian Culture in a Swiss Canton
20 A Stint in Sweden
21 Gateway to the Fjords
22 Groetjes uit Amsterdam
23 A Dutch Treat for Cape Cod Lovers
24 An Old City and New College Town
25 A Room with a View
26 The New Ireland
27 Sarajevo Today
PART III: DREAMER'S HOLIDAYS
28 Challenging Days, Star-Studded Nights
29 Jammin' with JR
30 Windjamming Plain and Fancy
31 Schooner Heritage
32 Autumn in the Alps
33 A Northwest Passage through Europe
34 A Voyage of Discovery
35 Liner Luxury
36 Cruising in Tierra del Fuego
37 Patagonian Panoramas
PART IV: REVELATIONS
38 Waikiki Watch
39 Malled in Suburbia
40 Colonists and Coneheads
41 Birds of a Feather
42 The Guru of Gallivanting
43 Rip van Winkle in Vermont
44 Seafarer's Serendipity
45 INNstitute in Napa
46 Behind the Scenes
47 Hind Sights
EPILOGUE : ACADEMIC SOJOURNING
48 Guest Appearances: A Reprise
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