Perspectives Abroad

politics, culture, language – south east asia

Archive for December, 2008

travel lit

all new voyages deserve good literature. here are mine. carefully selected for travel in south east asia. and references for development work along the mekong.

rail1The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia – Paul Theroux

Theroux gets on a train in Paris and heads as far east as possible. Meeting, drinking and deconstructing characters along the way. Subtle gradations of people, scenery, and food from west to east.

A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal – Anthony Bourdaincook1

Bad boy chef Bourdain eat, drinks , and smokes his way around the world. Falls madly in love with Vietnamese food and decides to buy a villa just outside of Hoi An.  Disturbing delicacies abound. I wonder if anyone has figured out how to cook that new neon pink dragon millipede that pisses cyanide yet. I think the Khmers are up for the challenge.

mekongMad About the Mekong: Exploration and Empire in South East Asia – John Keay

1866. 6 Frenchmen get in some boats in Saigon and head up the river. 2 years later they pop up in China. Along the way: leaping leaches, bathing maidens, malaria, dysentery, opium, mutiny, pygmy slow lorises (clearly my new favourite creature), more malaria, the original Kurtz, and tigers oh my. Their journey results in the French creation/invasion of Indochina.

Dispatches – Michael Herr

herrJungles, Saigon cafes, poety, war. Journalism at its best.

Thanks for the tip Jon.

devThe Companion to Development Studies – Vandana Desai & Robert B. Potter

My primer on sustainable development with chapters on ageing, culture and development, corruption, and global terrorism.

Pocket World Atlasatlas – Earth

When you are sitting in a cafe on the other side of the world with a bunch of travellers, the stories flow and chances are you are going to be reaching for your well-thumbed atlas on more than one occasion. Don’t leave home without it.

figuresThe Economist Pocket World in Figures – 2008 edition

For those time when you really need to know the 10 most corrupt governments in the world and there are no cable modems let alone wifi or maybe there are but google is blocked and there is a dodgy guy watching you from the corner of the internet cafe.