Monday, 9 November 2009
“Tropical countries, as it seemed to me, must be the exact opposite of our own…”
"As we got steadily near the tropics, the heat made the hold more and more unbearable, and turned the deck into a mixture of dining-room, dormitory, nursery, wash-house and solarium"
"I imagined Brazil as a tangled mass of palm leaves, with glimpses of strange architecture in the middle distance, and an all permeating smell of burning perfume"
“The transition from house to street was less clearly marked than it is in Europe. No matter how smart the shop-front, the goods have a way of spilling over in the street, so that you hardly notice whether you are, or are not, ‘inside’ the shop. The street is a place to be lived in, not a place to pass through. It is at once tranquil and animated – more lively, and yet more sheltered, than our streets at home.”
“People generally think of travel in terms of displacement in space, but a long journey exists simultaneously in space, in time, and in the social hierarchy. Our impressions must be related to each of these three before we can define them properly; and as space alone has three dimensions all to itself we should need at least five to establish an adequate notion of travel.”
“That I had crossed the Atlantic and the Equator and was near the tropics I knew form several infallible signs: among them , the easy-going damp heat which emancipated my body from its normal layer of woollens and abolished the distinction (which I recognized, in retrospect, as one of the marks of our civilization) between ‘indoors’ and ‘outdoors’.”
“The tropics are not so much exotic as out of date. It’s not the vegetation which confirms that you are ‘really there’, but certain trifling architectural details and the hint of a way of life which would suggest that you had gone backwards in time rather than forwards across a great part of the earth surface”
Claude Levi Strauss, ‘Tristes Tropiques’, Criterion Books, New York; first American Edition 1961, French Edition 1955