Book Review Travel

A Rubbish Couple of Days


Over the last few days I have made a series of unforgivable travel booboos. Yesterday I nearly gave myself heatstroke, this morning I woke up covered in insect bites and today and for the next two days I am trapped on an expensive, patronising and (so far) boring journey into the Sahara that my heat-depleted faculties last night allowed me to think might be a good idea. And I’ve broken my belt, probably as a result of its frequent diarrhoea-fuelled unfastening, that in turn brought on by a terrible recent diet and a balls-to-the-wall-delusional attitude towards the potability of tap water.

But I’m still having a good time.


The dwindling fluoxetine in my system has already resulted in the rediscovery of some extremes of emotion (namely anger at how shit this “Saharan experience” is (so far) – constant stopping, tours around boring places that cost extra entry, then extra tip, then required lunch at an overpriced restaurant (all of which I casually walked away from, choosing instead to spend two hours writing my bitter travel journal, attempting and failing to pass solids and buying a bottle of water and a snack at a price roughly equivalent to a mini-bar in the St Pancras hotel)) that I’d forgotten existed, AND all the smoking I’ve been badassly doing the last fortnight has finally caught up with me with crippling, crushing, mortality-affirming chest pains appearing and disappearing at unpredictable moments throughout the day. But I like to complain, so I’m happy with the situation as it stands.

I’m also feeling much more comfortable turning down hustlers, braver as a result of knowing Moroccan ways a little better, and relaxed due to the fact that no actual physical harm has yet to happen to me. Yet.

I’ve also finished reading Ulysses – the last chapter of which shocked me by being actually rather bloody excellent. However, the criticisms I earlier made all hold true – it reads like an exercise in writing, not like an enjoyable book. There are so many dull and long-winded, dry, passages that when one comes across something witty, true, interesting, impressive, ones senses have been so dulled by the chore that reading the majority of the text is, it’s pretty difficult to appreciate Joyce’s genuine talent. If you’ve never read Joyce, read Dubliners, no more. Back then he was a promising, intelligent, writer, rather than the self-indulgent, over-read, over-intellectual, smug, snobbish, bore that [his books indicate] he later became. There are passages I would gladly reread, but as a whole I don’t think I’d recommend it to anyone. I miss Infinite Jest. I miss Infinite Jest so much.

1 comment on “A Rubbish Couple of Days

  1. Lay of the Moroccan salads and stick to the company of the Grand Hotel Tazi, which also deserves a mention.


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