A LIT­TLE FLIGHT READ­ING

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

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.

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