December 4th, 2004

Road to nowhere

Barbara Noske – Al liftend (04-057)

Barbara Noske – Al liftend (04-057)

Number: 04-057
Title: Al liftend
Author: Barbara Noske
Language: Dutch
Year: 2000
# Pages: 237 (11163)
Category: Travel
ISBN: 90-417-0252-0

A book about hitch-hiking. Very interesting, since I have explored many parts of the world that way myself. Soon after starting this book, I became a bit annoyed with the author though. Instead of telling nice stories about ordinary and colourful people who took her from place to place, she insists on making this book into some sort of manual, hitch-hiking for dummies or something like that. Not only that, she keeps getting back on the dangers that could make the act less attractive, especially for single female travellers. Open doors aplenty therefore. It was so annoying that after a while I got the impression that hitch-hiking is actually very dangerous and that only the author knows how to do it safe, how to get around.

Not a tiny bit of humour can be found anywhere. Everything that happens has been analysed, Miss Noske needs to proof that she is not just a hitch-hiker, but also a scientist, a social anthropologist to be more specific. If at some point she admits going skinny-dipping in Algeria I was stunned. Even worse a couple of pages later she tells that she has been sharing a tent with students from the same country who have never seen a female in their lives, yet she wasn’t too embarrassed to be nude when changing clothes with them around, I am starting to question her common sense.

A lot is necessary to get me to make a sexist remark. I am going to make one now: I have seen the picture of the author and am not surprised that those Arab boys left her alone.

The chapters on Australia are nice. I loved that country myself, have travelled big parts of it. I am almost forgetting how much I dislike the author. Not necessary, as in the end the whole story gets to a dramatic conclusion. The obvious explanation for this tale of frustration, of bitterness. Even in the end she keeps analysing. Never does anger or humour get into this book. Very annoying, but it makes that I do not feel a bit sorry for her, even though she went through a horrible experience.

If you are considering hitch-hiking, do not read this book. It can be a lot of fun, it is a very social and cheap way of travelling and a bit of common sense and a quarter of a brain are enough to avoid stupid risks. Go on, travel the world. But do not take this book serious.
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