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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 July 2004
I brought "Inca Kola: A Traveller's Tale of Peru" with me to Peru this summer.
The book is well-written and a good read, as the other reviewers have written. However, I found the book a bit outdated - it is (almost) 15 years ago, Mr Parris visited Peru, and the country has come a long way since. Especially in the last decade.
This does not make the book bad per se - it is still OK.
I recommed the book "The Gringo Trail" as an better, new, alternative read. It covers more countries than "just" Peru, but is just as witty and thought-provoking.
Or you can do like me, and buy them both;-)
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on 23 September 1999
This is a very good book and a must if you're going travelling to Peru. Matthew Parris and three of his friends go on a Peruvian adventure. Nothing is planned and they're are encountered in some interesting and some hilarious situations. Parris does a great job in portraing current day Peru in a very entertaining manner. I found it very readable, very entertaining, but more importantly it gave me an insight on what to expect and the do's and dont's when I visit Peru. If you want to read anything about current day Peru, read this book first.
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on 2 March 2007
Initially I was reluctant to buy this book because I was looking for books about contemporary Peru when I first went there in 1997. Inca Kola was written in the late 80s, when Peru was on the verge of collapsing into chaos and civil war, and the political situation was completely different from now or even the late 90s. I thought a book from the 80s would be hopelessly dated.

However, I eventually bought it after my third trip to Peru, and found it to be a delightful account of visiting a country I'd come to know a little, and love a lot.

Yes, some things have changed dramatically since Parris's trip. The political and security situation is far, far better, but serious poverty, inequality and racism remain. So much of what Parris writes about is instantly recognisable. Peruvian culture won't change in a hurry and neither will the people - warm, incredibly hospitable and nosy, utterly cavalier and irresponsible in dealing with regulations and authority.

Much of Parris's book is timeless, and most of the rest is a fascinating account of visiting Peru at a time when no sensible tourists wanted to go there. It's a delight to read.
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on 8 December 2013
Backpackers tales about exotic and faraway places are ten-a-penny. Some completely miss the nuances of the cultures of the places that they visit but this hits the nail on the head in so many ways.

I had been to Peru before and was planning a trip with my wife and looked to find a decent book that might give her some idea as to what Peru was like, the joys, the frustrations, the alien culture and general observations. Although it was written twenty years before our trip it was still relevant - despite the huge changes that the country has gone through. Whilst there are (sadly) many Western-style bars and restaurants, vastly improved transport links, comfortable accommodation with hot water in remote areas, better communications, ATMs and internet cafes in even the smallest towns, the warmth of the people of Peru shines-though this book like it has on my visits. LIkewise, there is still the shocking poverty, frustrating bureaucracy to completed even for many simple things like buying a mobile phone sim card or buying a bus ticket.

We loved Peru and when reading it again after coming back found that Matthew Parris' book really captures many aspects of this fantastic country.
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on 7 June 2003
When I decided to go and work in Peru, I looked for every book available about the country. In 1996, this involved a lot of really dire stuff about Sendero Luminoso, the horrible terrorists that had been recently shut down. This book was a notable exception.
The book chronicles a trip through Peru by a group of fun-loving, adventurous, culturally reflective guys. It is funny, irreverent, and respectful. Think of it as a Tim Cahill type of book. It is a great read, and gives a very positive perspective on the truly wonderful people of Peru, as well as some of the difficulties endemic to traveling there. Highly recommended!
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A terrific read by a charming, compassionate and sensitive traveller with a childlike sense of wonder and adventure and a Boy's Own fearlessness about travelling in less than comfortable style. A real traveller, never a tourist, who is the perfect companion for the armchair traveller. A much more detailed review will be appearing on my book blog shortly.
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on 16 March 2004
'Inca Kola' is an infusion of fascinating description and humour. You find yourself travelling alongside Matthew Parris & his companions as you become immersed in this exhilarating traveller's tale.
I found myself so absorbed in Parris' journey, that I am inspired to travel around Peru myself. One of the most enchanting stories i've had the pleasure of reading.
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on 20 August 2003
What a life this man has had! This great little book is jam packed full of travel genre scrapes and adventures, historical and cultural insights and bizarre recollections from the author. A wonderful read.
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on 16 March 2014
I enjoy Matthew Parris's writing and this is no exception. I was with the 'lads' for the journey and absorbed the sights and sounds but most of all the smells. I hope they all recovered quickly from their deprivations and adventures.
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on 16 January 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this as preparation for a trip to Peru that I sadly haven't made yet.
However, I must warn the authors about cyanosis checking your groin region isn't helpful in cases of peripheral cyanosis, some knowledge mountaineers or hikers lack?!
I don't mean to berate you, it was a great read. Loved the inclusion of photos.
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