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Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guideby Peter Allison
Synopses & Reviews
A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: "only food runs!"
In the tradition of Bill Bryson, a new writer brings us the lively adventures and biting wit of an African safari guide. Peter Allison gives us the guide's-eye view of living in the bush, confronting the world's fiercest terrain of wild animals and, most challenging of all, managing herds of gaping tourists. Passionate for the animals of the Kalahari, Allison works as a top safari guide in the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta. As he serves the whims of his wealthy clients, he often has to stop the impulse to run as far away from them as he can, as these tourists are sometimes more dangerous than a pride of lions.
No one could make up these outrageous-but-true tales: the young woman who rejected the recommended safari-friendly khaki to wear a more "fashionable" hot pink ensemble; the lost tourist who happened to be drunk, half-naked, and a member of the British royal family; establishing a real friendship with the continent's most vicious animal; the Japanese tourist who requested a repeat performance of Allison's being charged by a lion so he could videotape it; and spending a crazy night in the wild after blowing a tire on a tour bus, revealing that Allison has as much good-natured scorn for himself.
The author's humor is exceeded only by his love and respect for the animals, and his goal is to limit any negative exposure to humans by planning trips that are minimally invasive — unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way!
"At age 19, Australian-born Allison headed to Africa for challenge and adventure, planning to stay no more than a year; having found work as a safari guide, he's still there some 13 years later. In this fun, fearless memoir, Allison shares his experiences taking 'guests' through the African wilderness, trips that often don't go quite as planned-due especially to the unpredictability of the animals around them. Allison is a skilled, funny and vibrant storyteller, dishing arcane bits of wisdom like an expatriate Alligator Hunter: 'I understand a little bit of monkey language, and "kwe" is a sound I listened for. It was an alarm... full blown monkey conniptions were reserved for leopards.' A hilarious chapter recounting a troubled thousand mile trek through the Kalahari Desert finds Allison trying to wave down a passing truck in the middle of the night: 'I realized that the driver would have seen what looked like a very animated sage bush with pasty white hands growing from it... he'd probably go straight to a witch doctor... and ask if there was a curse on him.' Along the way, Allison examines his fellow guides, the struggle with exhaustion, getting lost and the temptation to make frequently visiting animals into pets, as well as some poignant asides on love and death." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Allison's infectious enthusiasm for both the African bush and his job showing its wonders to tourists is readily apparent, making for a fast and very entertaining read." Booklist
Book News Annotation:
Allison is not only gifted as a safari guide but also as a writer who delivers hilarious insights about living in bug-ridden tents, managing naked royals and determining exactly what type of mouse is invading one's boots. Along with information most of us will only use on safari, such as how to approach a pool filled with hippos, he includes truly useful tips such as how to tell whether a charging elephant is only joshing or if your heirs will have to rinse off his feet to collect your remains. Some of the most bizarre critters are the human ones, but Allison's reflections on the magnificent animals of his workplace are witty, lyrical and moving. Allison includes exceptional maps and photos. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: “only food runs!” With a new introduction and new material from the author
Acclaimed nature writer Rick Bass takes us on a journey into the Namib Desert to follow a group of poachers-turned-conservationists as they track the endangered black rhinos through their ancient and harsh African homeland.
From one of our most gifted writers on the natural world comes a stunning exploration of a unique landscape and the improbable and endangered animal that makes its home there.
Rick Bass first made a name for himself as a writer and seeker of rare, iconic animals, including the grizzlies and wolves of the American West. Now hes off on a new, far-flung adventure in the Namib of southwest Africa on the trail of another fascinating, vulnerable species. The black rhino is a three-thousand-pound, squinty-eyed giant that sports three-foot-long dagger horns, lives off poisonous plants, and goes for days without water.
Human intervention and cutting-edge conservation saved the rhinos—for now—from the brink of extinction brought on by poaching and war. Against the backdrop of one of the most ancient and harshest terrains on earth, Bass, with his characteristic insight and grace, probes the complex relationship between humans and nature and meditates on our role as both destroyer and savior.
In the tradition of Peter Matthiessens The Tree Where Man Was Born, Bass captures a haunting slice of Africa, especially of the “black” rhinos that glow ghostly white in the gleaming sun.
“An extraordinary exploration and meditation . . . [Bass] transports us along on this wonder-filled tour, full of hardness and hope, into an otherworldly place that mirrors our own.” —National Geographic Traveler
Black rhinos are not actually black. They are, however, giant animals with tiny eyes, feet the diameter of laundry baskets, and horns that are prized for both their aesthetic and medicinal qualities. Until recently, these creatures were perched on the edge of extinction, their numbers dwindling as they succumbed to poachers and the ravages of civil war. Now their numbers are rising, thanks to a groundbreaking new conservation method from the Save the Rhino Trust: make sure that rhinos are worth more alive than dead.
Rick Bass, who has long worn the uneasy mantle of both activist and hunter, traveled to Namibia to find black rhinos. The tale of his journey provides a deeper understanding of these amazing animals and of just what needs to be done to protect them.
“Bass provides a singularly thoughtful portrait of a unique animal, and a meditation on mankind’s relationship to both it and the natural world as a whole.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
About the Author
Peter Allison is originally from Sydney, Australia. His safaris have been featured in National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, and on television programs such as Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures. He travels frequently to speaking appearances, and splits most of his time between Botswana, Sydney, and San Francisco.
Table of Contents
Part I: Pastoral 1
Part II: Wild 77
Part III: Dust 197
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