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A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East Paperback – 21 Sep 1998
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It was 1976 when Tiziano Terzani was warned by the fortune-teller in Hong Kong: "Beware! You run a grave risk of dying in 1993. You mustn't fly that year. Don't fly, not even once." Sixteen years later, Terzani had not forgotten. Despite living the life of a jet-hopping journalist, he decided that, after a lifetime of sensible decisions, he would confront the prophecy the Asian way, not by fighting it, but by submitting. He also resolved that on the way he would seek out the most eminent local oracle, fortune-teller or sorcerer and look again into his future. So after a feast of red ant egg omelet and a glass of fresh water, he brought the new year in on the back of the elephant. He even made it to his appointments--Cambodia to cover the first democratic elections; Burma, for the opening of the first road to connect Thailand and China; and even Florence to visit his mother, a trip that would take him 13,000 miles across Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia and Siberia. In this way, the jet-hopping journalist rediscovered the art of travel, the intricate chains of chance which lead to discovery, and the mass of humanity he'd overlooked in his rush for newsworthy quotes. And he also saved his life. Terzani's odyssey across Asia is full of revelations and reflections on the dramatic changes underway in Asia. Having spent two decades on the continent, he brings a deep love for the place to his journeys, but also the eyes of someone troubled by the changes he sees. Burma and Laos, finally open to outside contact, are now funnels for AIDS and drugs; Thailand has been traumatised by its rapid development; China is an anarchy fuelled by money rather than ideology and Mao has been transformed into the God of traffic. Surrounded by the loss of diversity wrought by modernism, Terzani asks if the "missionaries of materialism and economic progress" aren't destroying the continent in order to save it. Fortunately, there is a flip side to his occasionally dispiriting commentary, which Terzani discovers in his hunt for fortune-tellers. Through his side trips to seers who read the soles of his feet, the ashes of incense, even the burned scapula of sheep, it becomes clear that the Orient of legends, myths and magic still determines people's lives as much as the quest for money. By staying earthbound, Terzani lived to tell of an extraordinary journey through the ever-shifting kaleidoscope of Asia.--Lesley Reed
An account of the travels of Tiziano Terzani, a news correspondent who travelled only by rail, road and sea, having been told that he should not risk flying by a fortune teller. Terzani consulted fortune tellers and shaman from then on, since the original seer had prevented him from taking a plane which had subsequently crashed in Cambodia.See all Product description
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This is a man happy to engage with many of the riches one can find in life (dining with wealthy and mixing with the glitterati) but as his conscience pr bites he begins to bemoan the loss of innocence on cultures that seem hell bent on subscribing to modern western lifestyles.....
Of course there is something insidious about the slow encroachment of westernised thought on those countries our author visits, but progress is progress and life will adapt to survive...
Disappointed by the slow self indulgent, at times soporific nature of this book.....I almost found myself wishing he'd just get on the damn plane...
He was very aware that there are many fraudsters, but couldn't resist still trying to find one that he could really believe!
I am still unsure whether he really felt that fortune tellers are genuine!
It is so nice and interesting that I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in far east culture and travelling mixed with a little of contemporary history in a nice narrative structure.
The English version seams pretty much as good as the Italian one.
There are many other interesting books from Tiziano Terzani, but not sure if a traslation exists.
Tiziano Terzani is a great writer and journalist and this is an amazing story (really easy reading) to get into the Far Eastern culture.
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