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

by J. Maarten Troost

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1,885708,841 (3.87)1 / 121
Travel. Nonfiction. HTML:

At age twenty-six, Maarten Troost decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to a remote South Pacific island. The idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.

This book tells the hilarious story of what happens when he discovers that the island is not the paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles with stifling heat, deadly bacteria, and polluted seas in a country where the only music to be heard is "La Macarena." He and his girlfriend, Sylvia, contend with incompetent officials, alarmingly large critters, a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis), and bizarre local characters, including "Half-Dead Fred" and the so-called Poet Laureate of Tarawa, a British drunkard who's never written a poem in his life.

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English (68)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Troost—somewhat addicted to travel—jumped at the chance to move to Kiribati (pronounced kir-ee-bas) when his girlfriend got a job there. Troost is funny—and he can put a hilarious spin on just about the worst things imaginable (except he’s very serious about the tribute to the victims of one of the worst WWII battles there). Thankfully he has this outlook on life because Kiribati sounds about like the worst place on the planet to live. One of the most surprising things to know is that this island surrounded by beautiful blue ocean tends to be subjected to years-long droughts. Be aware the dogs are brutal, and are treated in kind unless they are eaten. So big trigger warning there. This is an excellent book, though, about what it’s really like living in so-called paradise. ( )
  KarenMonsen | Jan 14, 2024 |
Recommended by the fabulous Sara, just fun easy travel writing... despite the fact that it claims not to be. :) Great read for my first few months on a Pacific island. ( )
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
I enjoyed this very much. It was very informative, humorous and self-conscious. Like the author, I did not really know what to expect from Kiribati and it surprised me a lot. The life on an overpopulated, polluted and really small atoll in the middle of the mightiest of oceans far far away from the world of the dry land felt really claustrophobic at some moments and like a fantasy world at others. ( )
  dacejav | Jun 28, 2022 |
Don’t let the title scare you (or entice you). It was probably the Publisher's idea (or perhaps the author's) to get your attention. But the book is more a PG-13 humorous travel / adventure book about a two-year stint on a third world island chain than anything titilating about sex or cannibals. His travel / adventure takes place in the island country of Kiribati (yes, it really exists. I believe its the island group previously known at the Gilbert Islands, lying in the cross hairs of the equator and the International Date Line). In our world of readily available foods and goods, it's interesting to see a little of how so many other peoples live. The writing style isn't necessarily one of classic literature, but sounds more like it's written by your funny neighbor. And that made it easy to relate to, more human and personal. It's an enjoyable story, with humorous situations, worth a summer read at the beach.
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  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
This story is quite amusing and reminds me of the quirky anomalies we find in cross-cultural experiences, especially in developing countries. It finds the humor in mistaken assumptions about what initially appear to be romantic ideas --now freshly debunked. As a far-flung traveler who has dealt extensively with the potential unpleasantries of travel and reinterpreted them for the adventures they offer, this book speaks to my adventurous spirit and sense of humor. ( )
  WendyHinman | Aug 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
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Dedication
For Sylvia and Lukas
First words
One day, I moved with my girlfriend Sylvia to an attoll in the Equatorial Pacific.
Quotations
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Travel. Nonfiction. HTML:

At age twenty-six, Maarten Troost decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to a remote South Pacific island. The idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.

This book tells the hilarious story of what happens when he discovers that the island is not the paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles with stifling heat, deadly bacteria, and polluted seas in a country where the only music to be heard is "La Macarena." He and his girlfriend, Sylvia, contend with incompetent officials, alarmingly large critters, a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis), and bizarre local characters, including "Half-Dead Fred" and the so-called Poet Laureate of Tarawa, a British drunkard who's never written a poem in his life.

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