My first travelogue book that I finished completely. I had earlier started the Walk in the Woods, recounting Mr.Bryson's trails on the Apalachian Trails (:D)but never finished it.
Anyways - this was a very lively book on a country that I've always been fascinated by. Not just because the Aussies are one helluva Cricket Team or one of my all-time fav movies "Dil Chahta hain" was shot half in Australia. More like, I kept watching Steve Irwine get into ridiculously dangerous situations chasing scale-backed reptiles into the Australian Outback on Animal Planet and Discovery. More coz, one of my friends, Rohit had spent like 2-3 years in this beautiful country and described it to be a glorious piece of heaven right here on Earth.
Australia as described by Bill Bryson, is a sunny warm and gorgeously beautiful country - with lots to be explored and discovered, full of amazing people, with a little-known backstory of intrepid explorers and adventurers who dont merit much space in the History textbooks and of course, myriad ways to get killed, being chock-a-block full with the most dangerous and poisonous animals or fascinating plant life, seen nowhere else in this world.
There was so much about this huge country that i didn't know a thing about and to be traveling along with the delightfully witty Mr. Bryson as he explored this was perhaps a worthy investment of time and money. His sense of humor is simply out of this world - seemingly innocuous day-to-day interactions with strangers - seem to read like explosive bits of regaling rib-tickling good-natured humor. and he has lots of such anecdotes where he runs up against the natives. most places start with the back-story of how it was first discovered or an exposition on some of the local myths and hero-stories.
Split into 4 or 5 parts each dedicated to large states - Bryson takes you on such a fun roller-coaster ride that you cannot help falling in love with this country. it truly is amazing. The one thing I did realize is the fact that the Australia we see on TV during those matches at the MCG or Brisbane is hardly a spot on the entire country. there's so much more than the divine turquoise bays, golden sandy beaches or the Sydney Harbor. The Outback, or the "Bush" land in Aussie Lingo - to name one. I never knew a thing about it and the read was like opening up an entirely new world to me.
I am already budgetting my future tickets on the Quantas and making imaginery itinerary; and am sure to carry this book along with me.
Fantastic read. A Gem. 4-stars!