Customer Review

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over, Bill, 31 May 2007
This review is from: Travels In A Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile (Paperback)
Bill Bryson has always been my fantasy ideal travel companion. That is, until I discovered Sara Wheeler.
(sorry, Bill).
Having just read another book on Chile, "Between Extremes", this one shines in comparison to that rather turgid volume. The same route from north to south is taken - though as Chile is indeed such a "thin country" there really isn't much alternative.
Sara Wheeler is everything a travel writer should be: well-informed, funny, and self-deprecating. I laughed long and often; once, on a train, I had to stop reading it as I was getting such strange looks.
(quote: "our room was made entirely of hardboard, the bathroom locked on the outside and we had to unscrew the lightbulb to turn the light off")
She is prepared to suffer in her research: sea sickness, scabies, and hangovers. She is an adventurer, hitch hiking with truckers, horse riding, and forming ever-changing liaisons with the people she encounters. From night to night she swops tents with estancias, ferries, boarding houses and aristocratic residences. ("the other passengers were all men, and when they weren't sleeping, they entertained themselves by staring at me").
The geography, politics and people of Chile are laid before us; not exactly neatly, because Chile is anything but neat - but satisfyingly and comprehensively.
And anyone who travels with Gavin Young's "Slow Boats To China" must be ok.
I'm riding in the Torres del Paine in February - want to come, Sara?
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