Read: The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost
Drinking: Wild Blueberry Fruit Tea, Bar Harbor Tea Company (Thanks Mom & Dad!)
When Maarten Troost’s girlfriend Sylvia got a job on Tarawa, an island in the Republic of Kiribati in the Pacific, he figured he may as well move with her to what he thinks is paradise. Much to his dismay, he discovered that instead, Tarawa is no paradise, but rather a hot, disease-ridden and toxic slice of land populated by large bugs and eccentric locals. The two years they spend in Kiribati are probably more tha enough adventure for the average person.
In this book, Troost describes the difficulties, including lack of running water, TV, and beer, with humor. As a traveler to “exotic” locales myself, sometimes that is the only way to survive without completely breaking down. What makes this travel book unique is that Troost’s voice is no only funny but he takes the time to explain the serious problems that the island has as well, though never losing his sardonic tone.
Anyone who has traveled to a developing country will recognize the common problems faced by anyone experiencing a severe cultural change, but some of Tarawa’s problems are certainly… different. Anyone who is planning to travel to the South Pacific for any length of time should probably read it as well. It’s a realistic, funny take on a tough situation.