"Train travel animate my imagination and usually give me solitude to order and write my thoughts: I travel easily in two directions, along the level rails while Asia flashed changes at the window, and at the interior rim of a private world of memory and language. I cannot imagine a luckier combination."
The words are from Paul Theroux's book The Great Railway Bazaar, where he takes us on a train journey through Asia. The book has excotic chapters, starting with The 15.30 - London to Paris, taking us via The Direct - Orient Express, The Night Mail to Meshed, The Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpus, The Trans - Siberian Express and so on. Names and places I dream of, and would like to go to - one day.
Paul Theroux has been there, and he has been there with an open mind and his pen and paper to take care of this world of memory and language.
This is fun reading. Some people call Theroux a rasist, but I don't agree. Theroux travels with an open mind and really see people and places where he goes. The way he shares his experiences with his readers is so rich and funny, you almost can feel the smell of the meal of old onions wrapped in a dirty piece of newspaper his travel companion is having, or you feel the dust in your eyes from the dry countryside you are passing.
I bought this book at an European airport when I was out travelling, and has read it as a "travel"-book, reading on planes, railways, busses, in cars and so on. And my eyes have been opened to see the people around me - not as grey everyday fellow travellers, but as all different human beings. And from Paul Theroux I have learned that strangers are not actually strangers, but people who can show me more of a mixed world when I take the time to start sharing part of my life with them.
Britt Arnhild Lindland.