Tag Archives: adventure

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

7 May

life-of-piI saw this book last year but did not think too much about it. The Oscars changed my mind.  Maybe I could give it a try, I thought. I did not know what I was in for.

Piscine (Pi) Patel’s father has a zoo in Pondicherry, India. The family decides to move to Canada. Just days off Manila, their ship sinks. Piscine finds himself in a lifeboat and thinks that they are going to rescue him within a few hours. After a few days, his hopes wane, and he discovers that he has a Bengal tiger as a companion.

This story is a splendid thriller. It is a story about human endurance, the will to live, no matter what. Pi has to feed himself as well as Richard Parker (the tiger). He has to make sure that the tiger doesn’t make him a meal. It is amazing that he kept going, day after day, because he had decided in himself that he was going to live.

The 227 days seem eternal, yet fly away as soon as you get reading. 227 days.  Hmm. It’s a bit ironical that Pi Patel is named after a swimming pool, and he has to spend many months in company of a tiger and lots of water, not to mention the sharks and all the marine life.

Published in 2001, this fantasy adventure novel is a rare read. It is simply fascinating! I wonder if there are more “Life of Pi’s” waiting to be discovered.

When you leave your car unattended…

30 Apr
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This guy has spread his merchandise on the car. We needed to tell him to get off.

I moved to Yaoundé, Cameroon, about seven months ago. Many are the things have happened that I would classify as “culture shock”. You see, I am Kenyan, and even though it takes a lot of convincing to people who are not familiar with the continent, we are different. Country to country, the food, mannerism, culture, language, name it, changes.

So one fine day, we decided to go out. After a scary battle with all the motor bikes for space on the road, we finally arrive at our destination, luckily without any mishap. We get out of the car. Hawkers are everywhere. One guy almost convinces you that the sunglasses you are wearing are old and need to be replaced. Another shouts that oranges are only 50 Fcfa. A very fat lady is cooking beans beside the car park. Her customers lazily look at the new arrivals, and resume their meal.

We enter a shop. After about ten minutes, we come out. Getting away will be something of a hassle, because a guy selling t-shirts has laid out his merchandise on our car. He looks at us and starts the usual story.

“Cinq cents francs, ma Cherie”

How do you tell such a guy to get lost?

I look away, and my friend does all the honours.

To get errands done here is very interesting, but also very time-consuming.

I hope not to let it get on my nerves in the future.

Review: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

18 Nov

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If I could summarize the story of the three musketeers in five words, they would be adventure, valour, power, love and revenge.

Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man, d’Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the Musketeers of the Guard. He befriends Athos, Porthos and Aramis, who are musketeers.

The book is in a way, historical. At least the circumstances in which the story is told are historical. Cardinal Richelieu controls the politics of France. The king (Louis XIII) would like to get rid of him but can’t. The queen, Anne of Austria, loves another man, the duke of Buckingham and the cardinal is trying to expose her to the king.

But it is not just about love affairs, it is rather how those affairs have the power to influence the fate of nations. Buckingham himself states that is the queen of France were to desire it, he would betray his own country. It is the age of chivalry, when men risked death and worse to get a smile from lady-love.

In case romance is not your cup of tea, breathe easy, the book is much more than that. It is adventure packed where D’Artagnan along with his three friends must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.

The three musketeers is a perfect thriller!

Head over heels…

6 Mar

I am head over heels…

In love.

With a count.

Phew!

Let me tell the story from the beginning:

This is the context: France in the 19th century, after the fall of Napoleon. The aristocracy still exists.

My count is one of them though he has bought his title in Tuscany after purchasing that famous isle in the mare nostrum: the isle of Monte Cristo. He is a friend of smugglers, pirates and the Italian banditti. No one really knows where he comes from, though they guess –wrongly- from his accent that he is a native ofMalta.

He not only courts the society of the low people, he is also to be found among the leading families in Parisof the time. He does favours to them. Almost everyone is indebted to him for one thing or another. He is the gentilhomme. His manners are spectacular. The ladies are flattered, though of course he does not flatter them.

Then there is the issue of his wealth. Nothing is too expensive. He gives tips to the stewards and the valets and all others in the form of golden crowns. He is in Rome today,Naples tomorrow,Alexandria at the end of the week, and keeps on. He has a multitude of servants at his beck and call. No one has ever heard of the family with the name he bears. He leaves everyone guessing… and enchanted.

What is he up to? He sure has a mission. The smugglers and the pirates know him as a wealthy English man who travels for pleasure. They have seen his Genoese yatch, and acknowledge its superiority in navigation. The aristocracy is somewhat cynical, though they own that he is a man who seems to come from the other world. Some are enchanted, like Albert Morcèrf, others are more prudent, like his mother and Franz D’Espiny. I don’t know of which band I am. Yet.

***

I am reading The Count of Monte Cristo. The drama hastens with each chapter and the intentions are laid bare at the turn of every page. The heart beats a little faster, at the sight of so many diamonds and bank notes. The vendetta is about to be accomplished. The plans are perfect. But there is something that prevents me from cheering all this drama. Something deep inside . It’s far too deep to tell. Maybe when I finish reading I will know.

Shhh!!! I don’t want to know how it all ends!

(To see what I thought after reading the book, click here.