Anthony Bourdain’s World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, Part II
Walking Into a Bookstore
Monday, June 28, 2021
According to the book jacket of Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever’s travel tome, World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, Bourdain may very well have been one of the most travelled people ever!!! In this book, he chronicles some of his favorite places. Before his death in 2018, he jotted a series of notes about those places he found most enchanting and most memorable. And then, Woolever added practical details about the destinations. The result is a highly readable and entertaining guide that should be a useful read for both experienced travelers and armchair aficionados.
Your RovingRaconteurs have begun research for upcoming travels. Now, with three world cruises already booked (the January departure is beginning to look “iffy” so we’ve reserved a later cruise-just in case!!!); we are so ready to get back out into the world!!! We have studied this book to clarify our own preferences and garner information on stops and sites we have not yet visited. We hope you will enjoy our memories as well as our hopes and share the anticipation of experiences still to come!!!
Bourdain used an alphabetical process to organize his book. We are following this example to present his thoughts through our photos. We cannot present all the places Bourdain loved because—well, we not only haven’t been to all of them yet—but there are far too many for a blog post (even this condensed version will run to 3 parts)!!! So, we will try to present his love for “parts unknown” as well as his obvious enjoyment for returning to those special places that excited and inspired him!!!
Let’s get started!!!
Shanghai, China: Bourdain, like many others, noted the swift changes taking place in the city.
Havana, Cuba: Cuba exists in a time warp and Bourdain was blunt in his assessment, “However you feel about the government, however you feel about the last 55 years, there aren’t any places in the world that look like this. I mean, it’s utterly enchanting. Yes, the future is here. But the past, too, is everywhere. The buildings, the cars, the gears of the whole system, are still largely stuck in time.”
France: Anthony Bourdain’s very first big trip was in 1966. He was ten years old and, with his family, crossed the Atlantic aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary, disembarking in Cherbourg, France. His brother, Christopher, tells us of the adventure and its impact on two young lads, “… But most of all, we loved the food.” The pomme frites, steak frites, and, most emphatically, the Jambon Beurre—ham, brie, and wonderful French butter on a crusty baguette. This is when Anthony Bourdain got the food and travel bug. This is where it all began!!!
India: To quote Bourdain, “…I know a lot of people would devote their first trip here to visiting museums, viewing the architecture, and sucking up local color…” but as you might expect, Bourdain was most interested in visiting Mumbai’s Khau Galli (which translates to “eating street”) in the Bhendi Bazaar.
Jerusalem, Israel: When in Jerusalem, Bourdain made the American Colony Hotel his base of operations. Once a utopian Christian colony in the middle the Jewish state, the owners (an American couple who established the colony seeking solace after the tragic death of their four children) were welcomed by the surrounding community. The colony flourished ‘til the 1950s when it was sold; the new owners converted the building into the present-day hotel.
Tangier, Morocco: “There is no place like it in the world. It looks, smells, sounds, and tastes like no other city.” Bourdain went on to describe why he felt that way.
Oman: Here is what Bourdain has said about Oman, “I really love that place. I want to encourage people to go there…it defies expectations…and it’s incredible.” He continued to describe Oman as “…relatively small, tolerant, welcoming to outsiders, peaceful, and stunningly beautiful.”
Just how many places did Anthony Bourdain visit???
Don’t know, but this book presents 43 countries and 89 cities from Argentina and Australia to Uruguay and Vietnam. Far too many to chronicle in a single blog. However, since international travel during covid times has been…hmm, would “problematic” be the right word, we have enjoyed this opportunity to pull out the old photos and review the places we have visited with an eye to widening our exploratory horizons!!! As we now plan excursions for places we will soon go, this book has prodded memories and brought pleasure.