Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Three cheers for Mark Bittman.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Savages rarely murder new-comers"

Qualifications for a Traveller. -- If you have health, a great craving for adventure, at least a moderate fortune, and can set your heart on a definite object, which old travellers do not think impracticable, then--travel by all means. If, in addition to these qualifications, you have scientific taste and knowledge, I believe that no career, in time of peace, can offer to you more advantages than that of a traveller....

[Health--check. Craving for adventure--check. Moderate fortune? Um.... Definite object? Yikes.]

Reputed Dangers of Travel. --A young man of good constitution, who is bound on an enterprise sanctioned by experienced travellers, does not run very great risks. Let those who doubt, refer to the history of the various expeditions encouraged by the Royal Geographical Society, and they will see how few deaths have occurred; and of those deaths how small a proportion among young travellers. Savages rarely murder new-comers; they fear their guns, and have a superstitious awe of the white man's power: they require time to discover that he is not very different to themselves, and easily to be made away with. Ordinary fevers are seldom fatal to the sound and elastic constitution of youth, which usually has power to resist the adverse influences of two or three years of wild life.

[No worries then.]

-- Francis Galton, The Art of Travel, or Shifts and Contrivances Available in Wild Countries, 5th edition, 1872

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"We are not the first"

roofs of venice

View across the rooftops of Venice, looking roughly westwards from the Campanile of San Marco; 5 July, 2008

"The first thing we notice once we reach the top, is that there are no canals to be seen. We are not the first to make this surprising discovery.... It is mildly irritating to find that this ... has been noticed by almost every previous traveller to Venice. We must get used to sharing our feelings and discoveries with travellers of the past."

-- J.G. Links, in the introduction to his great Venice for Pleasure