Sunday, July 28, 2013

Riding the rail like a hobo

I finally finished Paul Theroux's Last Train to Zona Verde last night. The famed travel writer, who is in his 70s now, travels through South Africa, Namibia, briefly into Botswana, and finally Angola, by land. You get the sense that he is very tired and that this is not only the final African journey of his life, but his last great journey anywhere. Overall, it's a downbeat tale. The biggest downer was the grinding poverty in Angola, despite it generating a billion dollars in oil revenue every five days.

Now, I have started Rolling Nowhere, by Ted Conover. He is one of my favorites and this was his first book. Conover preceded Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, 30 Days) and pioneered the non-fiction genre of living the subject matter. Conover traveled with illegals and crossed into the U.S. in Coyotes and became a prison guard at Sing Sing for a year in Newjack.

In Rolling Nowhere (1984), Conover hopped on trains all over the West in order to write about the American Hobo.

1 comment:

Alan said...

They just need to wait a few more years before trickle-down starts to take effect.

David Choe did a Thumbs Up episode where he traveled from Tijuana to Canada by train-hopping, it was great.

There are train yards and tracks everywhere were I grew up, and we used to hop on and off cars when the engine they were attached to were stopped for unloading at depots sometimes miles down the tracks. Once rode one all the way to Joliet and nearly got arrested finding my way out of the yard...

Amazing none of lost any limbs or died.