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The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the…
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The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific (2004)

by J. Maarten Troost

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Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Really interesting and quite funny! It's likely that I'll pick up Troost's books on Fiji and China at some point, too. ( )
  KristinaSimon | Nov 24, 2018 |
Okay, right up front, this is NOT a NSFW book. Its a very funny travel book, the subtitle of which is "Adrift in the Equatorial". Maarten was finishing up his graduate degree in Eastern European International Relations. His girlfriend was getting her's in Western Europe. And logically with their background and education they decide to move to the middle of the Pacific to the island of Tarawa (part of the nation of Kiribati). She, to run an NGO aid origanization and he, to write a book. This book.

A island paradise this ain't. Heat, disease, entirely too much "La Macarena" and a cast of characters that while funny and interesting, did not make me want to visit the South Pacific. A great read!

To picture Kiribati, imagine that the continental US were to conveniently disappear laving only Baltimore and a vast swath of very blue ocean in its place. Now chop up Baltimore into 33 pieces, place a neighborhood where Maine used to be, another where California once was... Take away electricity, running water, television...Add Palm Trees, sprinkle with hepatitis A, B, and C, add in dengue fever and parasites.
Take away doctors, isolate and bake and a constant temperature of 100 degrees. The result is the Republic if Kiribati.

About surfing - "Look for a wave shaped like an A." An A. Hmm. I saw Zs and Ws and Vs. I saw the Hindi alphabet and the Thai alphabet.
I saw Arabic script. I saw no As. Finally I gave up, and chose the next wave that would have me, which turned out to be a poor move.
The demon wave picked me up, and after that I have only a very vague recollection of spinning limbs, a weaponized surfboard, chaotic white water, all kind of churning together over a reef. I decided this was not for me.

It is often said that Americans have no sense of history. Ask a college student who Jimmy Carter was and they will likely reply that he was a general in the Civil War, which occurred in 1492, when Americans dumped tea in the Gulf of Tonkin, sparking the First World War, which ended with the invasion of Grenada and the development of the cotton press. Actually, I would be impressed with that answer. The more likely response is "Who the F*#% cares?

9/10

S: 7/25/18 - 8/5/18 (12 Days) ( )
  mahsdad | Sep 30, 2018 |
A wonderful self-deprecating humorous book.

Those who like the genre it falls in would not get a better read. ( )
  jaeger84 | Jan 13, 2018 |
I have conflicted feelings about this book. The author is good at crafting humorous turns of phrases, which makes me like it. But most of the time, the author also comes across as a jerk with no cultural sensitivity whatsoever. The way he describes things, the residents of Kiribati don't do things the way he's used to, so they're strange. ( )
  Lindoula | Sep 25, 2017 |
Troost's take on the role of various aid agencies in distributing goodies to expatriate experts and local govt cum thugs agrees pretty well with mine, and I like him for that. But despite some very funny and humble stories about adjusting to island life, I'm rather disappointed that he doesn't really seem to interact with people on the island beyond a superficial level. He refers to all the teary-eyed people seeing them off as they leave, but I don't really know who those people would be, except the various other expats he seems to have mostly hung around with. It seems a little hypocritical to wax indignant over a process that provides one's own bread and butter. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
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Epigraph
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For Sylvia and Lukas
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One day, I moved with my girlfriend Sylvia to an attoll in the Equatorial Pacific.
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Still, I tried to teach the dogs to growl menacingly at anyone in pants. Only Mormon missionaries wore pants in Tarawa.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0767915305, Paperback)

At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost—who had been pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life by racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs—decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.

The Sex Lives of Cannibals tells the hilarious story of what happens when Troost discovers that Tarawa is not the island paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles through relentless, stifling heat, a variety of deadly bacteria, polluted seas, toxic fish—all in a country where the only music to be heard for miles around is “La Macarena.” He and his stalwart girlfriend Sylvia spend the next two years battling incompetent government officials, alarmingly large critters, erratic electricity, and a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis); and contending with a bizarre cast of local characters, including “Half-Dead Fred” and the self-proclaimed Poet Laureate of Tarawa (a British drunkard who’s never written a poem in his life).

With The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Maarten Troost has delivered one of the most original, rip-roaringly funny travelogues in years—one that will leave you thankful for staples of American civilization such as coffee, regular showers, and tabloid news, and that will provide the ultimate vicarious adventure.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The author discusses his two-year stay on a remote South Pacific island, a place where he anticipated a romantic paradise but instead experienced humorous misadventures and a host of environmental challenges.

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