FROM THE BARBARY COAST TO THE GULF OF GUINEA
“No matter where I turned the reading was equally grim – Daniel Houghton…murdered as he begged water from a well near Simbing; Mungo Park…overcome by paranoia and slaughtered at the Bussa rapids; Gordon Laing…strangled and beheaded outside Timbuktu; Richard Lander…sent temporarily insane and forced to consume a calabash of bubbling poison. Even the pioneering aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, had to save his pilots from being pegged out in the desert by hostile Bedouin tribes.
I plucked the reading glasses from my nose – did I really want to drive through West Africa, I asked myself?”
In their Toyota 4×4 James Marr, his wife and two friends head overland to Timbuktu and the 2009 Festival in the Desert. James follows in the footsteps of his heroes, the eighteenth and nineteenth century explorers. He loses his passport in the sand, suffers a ruptured fuel tank, fortifies his suspension with a pair of flip-flops and wonders if, in the intervening years, West Africa has become any more hospitable. In Mali, kidnappings and rebel attacks are a portent of the conflict to come.
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Click on the underlined text below to read the Foreword to City of Myths, River of Dreams:
REVIEW BY OVERLAND MAGAZINE
Had you any idea there’s a camel wandering the Sahara Desert called Jimi Hendrix? Have you ever turned up uninvited to a Famadihana? What would you do if you were attacked by the masseur in a Moroccan hammam? Did you know Kaang, the creator of the African Bushmen, made the moon out of an old shoe? Have you ever come face to face with an old crusty guerba?
WHY DO GOATS CLIMB TREES? is an eclectic blend of short stories about travel, adventure and a slim chance of enlightenment.