May 29, 2010
Riding the rails
Thoroughly enjoying The Old Patagonian Express. I especially like how grumpy Theroux often is. This is not an omniscient narrator: he is opinionated, wary, pleasantly surprised, humbled, and riddled with altitude sickness (did you know that the pressure from a quick change in altitude can make a tooth with a cavity explode? Me neither.). For all of his personal flaws, Theroux has a big heart. He sees the injustice of the class system in Peru and Ecuador - how poorly the Indians are treated and cared for in their local societies - and he especially mourns the fate of street urchins who are considered vermin, like rats. Reminds me of Slumdog Millionaire. Theroux, himself, connects the dots between the poverty and inhumane treatment of street kids in Calcutta. Along his journey, on many different train rides, bus rides, airplane rides, Theroux meets many interesting, some disturbing, characters and tells some fascinating stories. I'll share some next post.