17 December 2010

Quote of the day: the key to a happy journey is ... booze

As I approach T-minus two months until manuscript deadline, this quote makes more and more sense:
But when all is said and done, perhaps the most valuable commodity for the tourist, whether he is along the French Riviera in a yacht or ploughing through unmapped areas of urban forest, is alcohol. It is the universal language, the Esperanto, through which contact can be made with people of the most remote sympathies; it passes agreeably the leaden hours of waiting for trains and boats and mail; it gently obliterates one's rage at inefficient subordinates and soothes one's own exhaustion and irritation; it renders one oblivious to mosquitoes, calms one's apprehensions of being lost or catching fever; it gives glamour to the empty, steaming nights of the tropics. With a glass in his hand, the tourist can gaze out on the streets of Tangier, teeming with English governesses and retired colonels, and happily imagine himself a Marco Polo.
- Evelyn Waugh, The Tourist's Manual* [EDIT: not The Tourist Manifesto, as I originally had it.]

*This is the same essay, by the way, that gave us the immortal line, "The tourist is the other fellow," more often misquoted--including by me, on this blog--as "The tourist is always the other chap." The whole piece is a brilliant satirical rebuttal to the "I'm a traveler, not a tourist" types. What's most striking is how fresh and modern the voice feels in its snarky but erudite tone--even though it was written in 1934. Alas, it's not available online. In fact, I consider it one of the great lost works of travel writing; it deserves a place in the canon and the ongoing conversation. More on that some other time. (And if you ask nicely, I might know a guy who has a PDF ...)

1 comment:

  1. So is 'The Tourist Manifesto' published in any type of collected essays?

    And could you introduce me to your man who may have a pdf? agfwhite(at)gmail.com

    Really like the blog. Found it a couple weeks ago, and have worked my way through all of the posts. Nice work.


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