Amanda Lindhout, Backpacker

Amanda Lindhout makes enough money as a cocktail waitress to fund her first international trip: she and her boyfriend, Jamie, settle on Caracas, Venezuela, because flights to there from Calgary were cheap. Their only guide is a used copy of Lonely Planet (Really, she and her boyfriend sound so American, self almost titled this post Amanda Lindhout, American Backpacker. But they’re Canadian. Who knew Canadians could be so American, just sayin’)

Nothing bad happened to them in South America! This was probably the worst:

In our first weeks in Venezuela, Jamie and I walked miles, strapped sweatily into our backpacks, looking for low-interest money changers and two-star posadas that had morphed abruptly into massage parlors or motorcycle repair shops. We waited at a roadside bus stop in the withering heat only to learn hours later, bickering and thoroughly sunburned, that the Tuesday-afternoon bus to Caripe was now a Friday-morning bus.

A House in the Sky, p. 31

Lindhout reminds self so much of Ayelet Tsabari in The Art of Leaving. She has the same adventurous spirit. Think what might have happened if Lindhout had never gone to Somalia. Could she perhaps have written a travel book?

There were points in Tsabari’s memoir where self found herself getting really frustrated, because of the almost total disregard Tsabari had for her personal safety. She very well could have ended up like Amanda Lindhout, kidnapped for ransom. That she didn’t almost seems like sheer, dumb luck.

Here’s another passage on the further adventures of Lindhout in South America — can anything top this? It made her brave. Brave or foolhardy.

We pitched our yellow two-person tent in the backyard of a budget hotel for a week, striking a deal with the manager to use the bathrooms, paying under half the regular room rate. With the money we saved, we ate shark sandwiches and drank cheap rum at lunchtime.

A House in the Sky, p. 33

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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