dinsdag 15 augustus 2017

Dervla Murphy: Full tilt

Dervla Murphy: Full tilt: Dunkirk to Delhi by bicycle (Ierland, 1963): 237 blz: Uitgeverij John Murray

Product DetailsDervla Murphy is een Ierse reizigster en schrijfster die heel wat reisverhalen op haar naam heeft staan. Ik heb er een groot aantal van gelezen, waarvan ik haar boeken over Transsylvanië, Oost-Afrika en Zuid-Afrika naast dit boek de mooiste vind. Ze is wat stijl betreft en in haar keuze om vooral de ontmoetingen met mensen die ze heeft te beschrijven wel een beetje vergelijkbaar met Carolijn Visser en Lieve Joris, ook twee van mijn favoriete reisverhalenschrijfsters.

In "Full tilt" beschrijft Murphy een fietstocht die ze gemaakt heeft van Duinkerken aan de Normandische kust tot aan Delhi in India.

Ze vertrok gedurende de koudste winter sinds mensenheugenis in januari 1963. Deel van haar bepakking was een geladen pistool. Dat heeft ze ook nodig gehad, in een eenzaam bos in Joegoslavië werd ze door 3 wolven aangevallen. Over de aanloop van haar tocht door Europa is ze vrij kort. Vanaf Teheran op 26 maart tot aan New Delhi op 10 juli bestaat het boek uit dagboekaantekeningen. Ik vind het allemaal erg onderhoudend. Hier weer een aantal citaten:

- I patiently pointed out that I wanted to cycle because I liked cycling, not because of economic distress.

- It's disconcerting how the men in the religious saddle repeatedly abuse their spiritual authority for personal gain.

- One of the things that most intrigues Persians about me is the fact that I have no brothers and sisters: obviously only children are quite unknown here and they have the greatest sympathy for me.

- Both window and door were tightly sealed and the stink was appaling, so I got hold of an Indian, also staying here, and used him as interpreter to tell the propietor that (a) The Shah condemned the segregation of women, (b) The Government was trying to encourage tourism and (c) I was prepared to respect religious conventions within reason but was not prepared to lock myself up for hours in a room like that when I could be sitting in a courtyard like this. The propietor said, "Very well, if you don't mind being stared at", to which I irritably replied that I'd been getting stared at by every man I met for thirty-two days and that if they had nothing better to do I didn't really mind.

- The majority wear watches as ornaments and I was diverted to discover that they can't read the time and don't see why they should learn! Yesterday is over, today is something to be enjoyed without fuss, and tomorrow - well, it's sinful to plan anything for the future because that's Allah's department and humans have no business to meddle with it.

- This house reveals what some might describe as the poverty of Afghanistan but what I prefer to call its simplicity, since poverty denotes a lack of necessities and simplicity a lack of needs.

- Had I flown direct from Dublin and landed in Kabul as awide-eyed, sensitive-nostrilled newcomer to the East, I too might well have been unable to appreciate the finer points of Afghan life and culture. As it is, during my two months' travelling from Istanbul to Meshed, the roads became daily less road-like, the mountains higher, the atmosphere rarer, the clothes stranger, the chairs scarcer, the Moslims more Islamic, the sanitary arrangements more alarming, the weather hotter, the steches stronger and the food dirtier. By the time I arrived at the Afghan frontier it seemed quite natural, before a meal, to scrape the dried mud off the bread, pick the hairs out of the cheese and remove the bugs from the Sugar.

- While the breakfast-water was boiling I was given my camel ride - very short and unsweet. (1) The camel knelt down. (2) I sat on the saddle. (3) The camel stood up. (4) The camel took one step. (5) I fell off. Fortunately this was exactly what the camel-owner had expected me to do and he caught me half way to the ground.


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