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Getting Stoned with Savages A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu

ISBN-10: 0767921992
ISBN-13: 9780767921992
Edition: 2006
List price: $13.99 Buy it from $2.39
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Description: After his misadventures among the natives of heat-blasted Kiribati, memorably chronicled in The Sex Lives of Cannibals, it would be understandable for Maarten Troost to be in no hurry to return to the South Pacific. But then in a strangely  More...

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Book details

List price: $13.99
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 6/13/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

After his misadventures among the natives of heat-blasted Kiribati, memorably chronicled in The Sex Lives of Cannibals, it would be understandable for Maarten Troost to be in no hurry to return to the South Pacific. But then in a strangely appropriate place for a modern epiphany—the aisle of a Super Stop & Shop—he discovers that he feels remarkably out of place among the trappings of twenty-first-century American life, and longs to return to simpler days when a shortage of beer numbered among his chief concerns. So off again he goes, this time to Vanuatu, with his girlfriend-turned-wife, Sylvia. Like Tarawa, Vanuatu proves to be a fallen paradise, breathtaking in its beauty but also maddeningly backward. With his trademark sardonic wit, Troost relates his run-ins with Mother Nature (volcanoes, typhoons, earthquakes, giant centipedes) and the kava-besotted, clothing-optional lifestyle of the islanders. Perhaps as a result of these customs, Sylvia gets pregnant, and soon their son is born in slightly-more-civilized Fiji. As they contend with new parenthood in a country known for cannibalism and government coups, their boy begins to take quite naturally to island living—in complete contrast to his dad. A rip-roaringly funny account of life in the farthest corners of the world, Getting Stoned with Savages again reveals the wry appreciation of the absurd and infectious joy of discovery that make Troost one of the most engaging and original travel writers around.

Born of Czech and Dutch parents, J. Maarten Troost was educated in the US and Canada and holds degrees in International Relations from Boston University and George Washington University. He spent two years in Kiribati in the Equatorial Pacific and upon his return was hired as a consultant by the World Bank. He currently lives in California with his wife and son.

In Which the author, much to his surprise, finds himself holding down a job, a real job that could possibly lead to a career, which causes him considerable distress as he envisions his world reduced to swirling acronyms, whereupon his beguiling wife offers him another way, an escape, an alternate road, and together they decide to move to the distant islands of the South Pacific
In Which the author offers some interesting arcana about Vanuatu-its one-hundred-some languages, its history of cannibalism, its cargo cults, its smoldering volcanoes-and arrives on the island of Efate, where he soon gets stuck
In Which the author is confounded by Port Vila, which is not at all like the South Pacific he has known-he does not, for instance, have to eat fish every day-and after dipping into the past, which strikes him as being uncannily like the present, he cannot help but feel that for the whites in Vila it's forever 1900
In Which the author is introduced to kava, which he likes very much, oh yes, very much indeed
In Which the author is reduced to a state of wondrous awe as the prime minister of Vanuatu conspires to sell his country in exchange for a ruby, a giant ruby, which curiously no one is allowed to examine
In Which the author ponders cannibalism and discovers that he just doesn't get it-not at all, cannot get past the icky factor-and so, left to his own devices by his beguiling wife, he decides to seek enlightenment on the island of Malekula, where until recently, within his own lifetime even, they lunched on people
In Which the author experiences his first cyclone, causing him to reconsider his position on Nature-whether he's for it or against it-and after a terrifying encounter with a giant centipede seems to have settled the issue, his wife gives him News, which only complicates the matter further
In Which the author travels to the island of Tanna, where he ascends an active volcano; witnesses the extraordinary Nekowiar ceremony, culminating with the slaughter of two hundred pigs; and meets with villagers deep within the forest who live according to the tenets of kastom, which is another word for naked
In Which the author arrives in Fiji and soon finds himself cavorting with prostitutes, which he acknowledges he shouldn't be doing, especially as his wife is in a family way, but seediness, as usual, has a way of finding him
In Which the author embraces Fijian history and culture, particularly the Fijian national rugby team, and discovers rugby to be very exciting, uplifting even, as he finds that when the national team plays, for an hour or two at least, Fiji is harmonious
In Which the author discovers, shortly after rising from his slumbers, that his backyard has disappeared and that it can be found residing by the shanty down the hill, leaving in its place a cavernous chasm upon which his house is delicately perched, a circumstance that provides him with one more reason to take a holiday, to get away from it all, and so with his wife he travels far, far away to Fiji-that is, the Other Fiji
In Which a child is born, causing much bewilderment for his parents, though fortunately they are soon set straight by Anna, who shows them how to raise a child island-style
In Which the author travels to Savusavu on the island of Vanua Levu, a journey that causes him to reconsider his aversion to flying, and while exploring the island he discovers that even here, in what might be called paradise, there are many yearning for escape
In Which the author and his wife decide to depart the islands of the South Pacific and return to the United States, which strikes most people-even most Americans they know-as utterly insane, all things considered, but they do it anyway, because now, at last, for the first time ever, they find themselves yearning for home
Author's Note

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