Monday, 24 September 2012

Another Aside - Last Chance to See

Work is insane. I do not believe I will have a lunch break at work until November. However, I have thought to keep me sane during these days, especially when it involves inane activities like filing (I haven't filed since May until last week, as I haven't had the time. I still don't but I was working on piles of paperwork that really should have been locked away) to listen to an audio book. 

I was unsure of audio books. The boy raves about them. He likes to listen to them in the car. I was always worried I would get too caught up in the book I would drive off the road or into someone else. I like things in the background so I can have enough distraction to not be bored but if I tune out due to driving or work, I don't miss anything. I also though have lots of things to read for all these damn challenges I have signed myself on to, so this knocked one out of the way.

But I will say, that listening to this book was the best thing I ever did. There is a very slim chance to my mind that you could get as much out of this book if you weren't read it by Douglas Adams. His tone of voice and way of telling the story enhances everything, which you would expect as they are his thoughts and musings. Now, I don't usually say things like this, but this audio book was close to perfect.

What the book is about is Douglas Adams, being the writer of Hitchhiker's Guide, and a zoologist travelling around the world to see endangered animals, sometimes critically so, in their own environments in the late 1980s. This involved places like New Zealand to see the Kakapo shown above (I will house any Kakapos anyone would like to bestow on me. Apparently they love people) but also places like Zaire (It's changed it's name) to see the White Rhinoceros, and China to see the Yangtze River Dolphin, both of which would have been "interesting" places to visit in 1988-1989. Adams then tells all of their adventures in alarming detail to us the reader.

Whether this is the intricacies and bizarre happenings of Tanzanian airports, chickens being stolen by Komodo Dragons in Indonesia, being lectured by crazy scientists in Mauritius, you feel like you were there. With Adams' matter of fact, but yet sometimes exasperated voice walking you through as some form of spirit guide. The story that made me giggle as it hit so true to home at the moment was the Australian scientist in Melbourne giving them advice about what not to get bitten by in Komodo. That was, everything. And every time he tried to explain himself, he just made it worse. I spend far too much time in the role of the Australian, explaining the exact same thing to all our European visitors at work. It was wonderful to hear this discussion from the terrified European's side for once, instead of being the blasé Aussie.

In short, everyone should read, or more accurately listen, to this book. You learn so much about the amazing animals in this world we take for granted, hear of the ridiculous destruction our species is causing, and to boot get a good workout giggling. And once you have done that, you should do what I'm going to now do and watch the BBC follow up show made 20 years later in 2009. As Douglas Adam's had sadly passed away by this stage, his friend Stephen Fry fills his shoes.

5 very big, Kakapo hug worthy, stars.

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