A LITTLE FLIGHT READING
HERBERT Ypma was the creator of last decade’s popular Hip Hotels series. His glossy albums detailed super-trendy places to stay, often with a discouraging tariff. Now, with some irony, he is off on a tangent, urging people to celebrate ‘‘the old-fashioned adventure of authentic travel’’ at ‘‘undiscovered hotels, guesthouses and resorts’’. It’s a nice idea, even if many of the properties (and destinations) are hardly off the thinking traveller’s radar. Brazil’s Ubatuba, for example, is laughably described as ‘‘a tiny fishing village that no one has ever heard of’’ — it’s actually a city with a population of 80,000 that swells in tourist season. But the photography is lush, production values are high and who wouldn’t want to be holed up at, say, Satri House in Cambodia’s UNESCOWorldHeritage-listed riverside town of Luang Prabang or the Portuguese colonial Fort Tiracol in Goa? Trouble is, they don’t ‘‘cost nothing’’ — rooms at the latter, Mr Ypma, start at $175, hardly a bargain in India. Paul Theroux Hamish Hamilton, $29.99 IF you enjoyed Paul Theroux’s Dark Star Safari, an account of his often perilous overland journey by buses, trains and pick-up trucks from Cairo to Cape Town, then settle into a comfortable armchair because this prolific author is back in South Africa and headed, with his customary great purpose and keen eye for detail, to Namibia, Botswana, Angola and the Congo. Africa has been in US-born Theroux’s blood since he was ‘‘exiled’’ as a Peace Corps schoolteacher in Nyasaland (Malawi) in the 1960s (his excellent novels Girls at Play and Jungle Lovers are set in this era). But the now 72-year-old’s trip ends abruptly on this occasion and he admits it’s his last time on such an ‘‘ambitious’’ journey. ‘‘I haven’t given up on Africa, but I’ve given up on the idea that I would take a long, interesting trip. I don’t feel I’m too old for it, but the idea of a nine-hour bus ride from one horrible city to another is out of the question,’’ he told National Geographic.