Paul Theroux's most memorable travel moments
Paul Theroux has traveled to so many countries and written so many books about being a traveler, it's hard for him to pick favorites. He remembers moments, what...
Newhouse News Service
Paul Theroux has traveled to so many countries and written so many books about being a traveler, it's hard for him to pick favorites. He remembers moments, what the weather was like and who he was with, and never complains when the going gets tough.
"If you told me a place was like the south of France or a luxury spa, I'd be bored," Theroux said. "There would be nothing to write about."
Theroux's new book "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star" retraces the route he took in 1973 for "The Great Railway Bazaar," the first of his 13 travel books and a modern classic. Theroux cheerfully agreed to answer a few questions from his home in East Sandwich, Mass., one of his favorite places in the world.
Favorite country? "India. There are many (favorites), but India is so big, so different. From top to bottom, from east to west, it's got so much to it. A very close second is Vietnam. I was quite taken with the way it's moved forward from all the problems of war and peace and is actually flourishing."
Least favorite? "Here's why I don't have a least favorite: The worse things get, the more there is to write about."
Most surprising? "In a sad way, Burma. Just incredible government tyranny and poverty."
Least surprising? "I'm surprised, appalled, delighted, amazed virtually every day. I try to have as few preconceptions as possible."
Most memorable meal? "I'm not at all a gourmand. Meals for me are more memorable when there's someone with me to enjoy them. I'll say a bowl of eel soup I had in Hue with a man who had been through the war."
Most interesting writer? (In "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star," Theroux met with Orhan Pamuk, Haruki Murakami, Pico Iyer and many others.) "Sitting with Arthur C. Clarke in Sri Lanka and listening to him talk and reminisce, I was very conscious that his mind and memory were going. He was fairly lucid, but I had an overwhelming feeling that he was absolutely in the autumn of his life and I was very, very lucky to get to talk to him like this, and of course six months later he died. Those other guys are young — I'll see them again. This was my only chance to see Clarke, and I was grateful for it."
Famous face? "I'm not recognized very often at all. In England I get some people asking if I'm any relation to Louis Theroux, my son, who has a TV show there. The last time that question was asked of me, by the woman who was stamping my passport, I said yes, indeed I was his father and she said, 'Well, he put you in the shade, didn't he?' "
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.