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Swahili for the Broken-Hearted: 11/11/12

cover art

Swahili for the Broken-Hearted by Peter Moore was born out of his break-up with his girl friend and traveling companion. After spending months with friends in South Africa, basically living on his friends' couch, watching soap operas, he decides it's time to head home. Rather than head home by hopping on a plane bound for Australia, he decides to travel overland along the eastern coast of Africa for Cairo.

Although Moore's book is about traveling through Africa, don't confuse it for a travel guide. It's not; it's a memoir about a white Australian bloke traveling through areas of Africa that tourists wouldn't normally go to — while en route to the very places that tourists do flock to: Victoria Falls, the monastery in Ethiopia, the pyramids of Giza.

Since it's not a travel guide, Moore relates his adventures as they happen, for better and worse. He tells about the bribes he paid, the bribes he refused to pay, getting into fights over bus windows, numerous beers drunk, and visas approved and visas denied. It's not a complete lark, though. Moore describes hiding in a coffin shop (and inside a coffin) to escape a riot and gunfire.

With all the ups and downs, though, Moore manages to paint a picture of life in eastern Africa taken one individual at a time. He does it with self deprecation and humor.

Four stars

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