One of the best travel writers now at work in the English language brings back the sights and sounds from a dozen different frontiers. A cryptic encounter in the perfumed darkness of Bali; a tour of a Bolivian prison, conducted by an enterprising inmate; a nightmarish taxi ride across southern Yemen, where the men with guns may be customs inspectors or revolutionaries–these are just three of the stops on Pico Iyer’s latest itinerary.
But the true subject of Sun After Dark is the dislocations of the mind in transit. And so Iyer takes us along to meditate with Leonard Cohen and talk geopolitics with the Dalai Lama. He navigates the Magritte-like landscape of jet lag, “a place that no human had ever been until forty or so years ago.” And on every page of this poetic and provocative book, he compels us to redraw our map of the world.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Sun After Dark|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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Sun After Dark
THE PLACE ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS
One midsummer evening in La Paz, just before New Year's Eve, I went out into the dark to find a taxi to take me to the modern suburbs. I hadn't slept-or not slept-for many days, it seemed, and so, not quite myself, I hailed a cab and told the driver to take me to a Mexican restaurant I had read about, down in the warm valley to the south. We followed the curves of a mountain road, and came very soon to a darkened grid of long, straight streets, stretching in every direction. I repeated the address of the place to the driver, but Indian names are hard to make out for a foreigner, and soon, very soon, we were lost.
Security guards watched us from their posts, outside the villas of the rich; every last detail seemed picked out in the lunar quiet. Up above, in the commotion of the Indian area, everything was a swarm of color; here the streets were laid out as precisely as if with a ruler and pencil. We turned one way, turned another, and on every side were faced with long, straight streets, concluding, in one place only, at the mountain. I began to worry that we'd never find our way out of the dark maze.
I paid the driver and got out, shivering in the midsummer chill, and began to walk down one street, then another. But there was nothing to be found. Only the guards, standing stock-still outside their shuttered gates; the parked cars and small trees and sleeping houses. At the end of one little road, a sharp slab of mountain, bone white and cold in the dark. I could have been back in California (or in the mock-Californian suburb where I live now in Japan).
I went on walking down the street-its straight lines, its precise edges ma