Thursday, April 12, 2007

Travel Advice From Unusual Sources

In the throes of renovating and moving, I find diversion in re-reading favourite books. Right now, I am starting Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. It's set in the 1840s Valparaiso, Chile (photo) to 1853 California. I had been attracted to the book, looking for information on Chile prior to a trip, so I was a little disappointed to see how quickly the setting moved to California. Allende is such a gifted author that I was enthralled nonetheless. The point of this (I do have one) is on page 7 of the paperback edition, one of the characters offers this insight ::
"[John Sommers] . . . "sailed all the seas of the world, and he would vividly describe how the water gathered itself in sepulchral silence and roared back in a single monstrous wave, sweeping away everything before it. Horrible, he maintained, although at least that gave you time to run toward the hills . . ."

Now, this 'sound of silence' from a usually rhythmic ocean strikes me as a useful bit of travel advice. From now on, when I am strolling seaside, or within earshot of the surf, I know I will NOT stop to wonder why the ocean is suddenly silent. I will start running. Once on high ground, there's plenty of time to delve further.

If you're interested in good travel books, the full list of My Favourite Books is posted at and more Valparaiso, Chile photos are at