Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book review: Malaria dreams by Stuart Stevens

You meet a friend you don't know so well in a bar. This friend tells you he has a Land Rover stuck in the Central African Republic, and wonders if you feel like going there and drive it back to Europe.  Sure you say, and manage to get another friend along for the adventure.  You go to CAR (Central African Republic) and the car is nowhere to be seen.  Three months later you manage to get to Europe, despite a million mechanical problems, African bureaucracy (which seems to be even worse than Central Asian bureaucracy), fun and unfun adventures, some malaria and dysentery, and not in the Land Rover.  And this is what happened.

This book, Malaria Dreams: An African Adventure by Stuart Stevens is a true story, and sort of like a diary of the way Africa works.  Things take time.  Creativity is a must. Italians are the best mechanics.  Don't trust the guides to take you to their home villages.  Insurance, what insurance?  Sleeping on the roof of a 4-wheel jeep under the stars - this is really Africa.

It is a great read, even if slow sometimes in the beginning, but this is a diary and there were many days of just waiting for something to happen.  The author, Stuart Stevens, have a great way with words and was one of the writers for our favorite TV series Northern Exposure.  I want to read more by him!  I am so amazed at their  persistence to actually do this trip, despite all the problems along the way.  Including a car that you can't turn off and that can only run in one gear, through Sahara.

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