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Getting Stoned With Savages: A Trip Through The Islands Of Fiji And Vanuatu
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Getting Stoned With Savages: A Trip Through The Islands Of Fiji And Vanuatu

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  8,668 ratings  ·  622 reviews
J. Maarten Troost, one of the most engaging and original travel writers around, again reveals his wry wit and infectious joy of discovery in a side-splittingly funny account of life in the farthest reaches of the world.
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Published August 1st 2007 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 2006)
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The South Pacific is not totally the paradise one might imagine from travel posters. J. Maarten Troost has written a humorous travel book where he tells of primitive transportation, corrupt governments, harrowing cyclones, huge venonous centipedes, and traveling to the rim of an active volcano. He is fascinated with the history of cannibalism, and learns about the missionaries and rival villagers who were victims to the practice. As the title suggests, he enjoys getting stoned with a native drin ...more
May 25, 2010 Julie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
Shelves: own, non-fiction
In his follow-up to The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Troost seems to have found his voice and rhythm. He picks up where he left off, overwhelmed by the constraints of the corporate life in Washington DC, until he decides that he and his wife Sylvia are ready for another sojourn in their beloved South Pacific. This time, instead of landing on a desolate atoll, they spend time in Vanuatu and Fiji. It is in Vanuatu that Troost discovers the wonders of kava, a local intoxicant, and regales his reader wit ...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
Some time ago, I read Troost’s The Sex Lives of Cannibals, and found it a pleasant and humorous read. Desiring a quick, fun read, I did not hesitate to scoop up Getting Stoned with Savages. Troost does not disappoint.

After spending some time in Kiribati, the basis of his other book, he and his wife return to the United States, only to become bored by the rat race. Soon, they decide to try life in another South Pacific locale, the islands of Fiji and Vanuatu.

As they had lived in the tropics befo
Last summer I read The Sex Lives of Cannibals, which I reported to be about neither sex nor cannibals (although, a good book nonetheless). The sequel, Getting Stoned with Savages, IS about getting stoned, and, ironically, is very much about cannibals. Go figure with the titles... I guess they just sound catchier this way.

I listened to both books and would heartily recommend it if you can get them on audio. The whole time I listened to them, I forgot that it was not the author who was reading, a
Aug 21, 2009 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: armchair travelers
This was a funny enough travel read, and definitely fits the genre of "writer and family moves to new place, has funny adventures". It was a great location to read about, although I've read more compelling discussions of a place and its people.
I especially liked the discussion of escapism and what wanderlust means. Another reviewer quoted his passage about the search for paradise and how real life always catches up. Calls into question my own current streak of armchair traveling. Also, I like h
Troost's tale brought back images of a place I'd probably been amoeba intestine invaded.

The French freighter ($212 ticket) that I rode from Sydney to Panama in early 1969 had to reverse direction to avoid storm Colleen winds around New Caledonia, before arriving in the New Hebrides for four days to load copra. Soon after the ship began steaming toward Tahiti, copra beetles arrived in passenger cabins.

Other than the army checkpoints on Panama's cross country highway, I have no stronger memory of
This author never fails to humor, entertain, and educate me on things I would otherwise never be exposed to. This book was equally as enjoyable as Sex Lives of Cannibals, and I was able to recall the events referenced. I simply love Troost's memoir writing style, and would love to emulate it in a book of my own some day. A definite read for lovers of adventure, travel, humor and memoirs.
Troost specializes in that self-deprecating, clueless traveler mode of writing that is popular with good reason. We get the experience of watching someone else stumbling through exotic cultures with all the hopeless cowardice and ineptitude which we secretly know would be our own lot. In Troost's earlier book, he and his wife spent two years on one island, whereas in this, they move several times. Troost doesn't get into any deep philosophizing and yet he knows the absurdity of trying to "go nat ...more
While The Sex Lives of Cannibals had nothing to do with sex lives or cannibals, Getting Stoned with Savages does include much getting stoned. The use of the word 'savages' is part of the whole deal of these titles, which are slightly gauche parodies of the titles of various written materials on this part of the world from centuries past.

In any case, yes, there is much getting stoned with the populations of Vanuatu and Fiji. If what happens when you drink kava counts as stoned, in which case I a
J. Maarten Troost is my favorite travel writer after reading book number two. It's too damn bad he claims he is staying in the U.S. for good but we'll see about that. And he should consider writing regular old travel adventure books like Bill Bryson does. But you obviously truly experience the culture when you live somewhere.

This book was a bit different than his first because of the situation. In his first, he was living on a tropical atoll in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific which was an a
Rarely has my reading of a book been as well-timed as it was with Getting Stoned with Savages. In the midst of preparing to move my family overseas, reading J. Maarten Troost recount his decision to leave Washington, DC for the islands of Vanuata and Fiji was equal parts inspiration, reinforcement, and much-needed distraction from working out the details of my own complicated endeavor.

Granted, moving with my wife and son back to her home country of Denmark isn’t the same as Troost and his wife
"Paradise was always over there, a day's sail away. But it's a funny thing, escapism. You can go far and wide and you can keep moving on and on through places and years, but you never escape your own life. I,finally, knew where my life belonged. Home."

That quote from the end of the book, kind of sums up the entire book: why the author went to live on the island, why he stayed and why he left. This is a really funny book, the author says everything he needs to say with a drop of humor or sarcasm
This was my least favorite of Troot's books. It truly is, in large part, about getting stoned with people in a third world country. (I draw the line at calling them savages...even if they did used to eat people...) The majority of this book is spent discussing Troost and his wife's time living in Vanuatu (where he spent a lot of time drinking the local delicacy 'kava' which apparently has exceptionally effective narcotic properties. His wife then becomes pregnant and they move to Suva, Fiji when ...more
Aug 30, 2007 skokiesam rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bored people
A friend of mine recommended this book to me, and I have a great respect for the books she chooses as she has good taste in books. Apparently, I may have been wrong. Although I did enjoy reading this, it was a little dry at some points albeit fascinating in others. More journal than travelogue, it chronicles the author's experiences in a faraway land and his cohabitation with, of all things, cannibals.

The author is a good writer and often funny. Perhaps it's just me and my taste in books, but he
From the author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals, another irreverent account of expat life in "developing" countries (for all of you poli-sci/IR/WS majors out there, one must turn off the filters of academia to enjoy this). The first couple of chapters evoked riotous laughter in describing the transition to working at the World Bank and the decision to return to equatorial life. Certain observations were dead-on (e.g. the necessity of the plot-driven novel in flights that last upwards of 12 hours). ...more
Torie Duda
Having long ago chosen the South Pacific as my dream vacation/habitat, I loved this book, along with 'Sex Lives of Cannibals'. The writing is fun and makes you laugh while also thinking...hmmm...maybe people crapping in the ocean doesn't make much for beautiful scenery. I read these two books simultaneously, so I seem to get them mixed up when thinking of the details of each. Either way, both were quite funny and "eww-inspiring" at the same time.

NOTE: If you happen to need a travel companion for
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Who would think a book about moving to a tropical island with enormous poisonous stinging caterpillars and enormous poisonous snakes and sharks in the water and even real cannibals would be amusing? Troost must be a very accepting fellow because he's done it not once but twice. Both times he has managed to get books out of his adventures and he seems to have written very little else, so perhaps this is a good arrangement for him. I liked book two almost as much as book one, something that is sur ...more
Kelly Kittel
"I am an unapologetic escapist," says Troost in the opening lines of this enjoyable summer read and I nod my head in solidarity. "Mention to someone that, all things being equal, you'd really rather be on an island in the South Pacific, and they'll look at you quizzically, ponder the madness of the notion for a moment, and say: "But that's just escapism. Now would you kindly finish stocking the paper clips so we have time to rearrange the Hi-Liter markers? We need to make sure they're color-coor ...more
Mary E Trimble
J. Maarten Troost’s Getting Stoned with Savages provided hours of fun as I vicariously traveled along with him to the South Pacific island nations of Vanuatu and Fiji.

When Troost’s wife accepts a job offer in Vanuatu, they jump at the chance to revisit the South Pacific. Their previous adventure to the Republic of Kiribati resulted in his first book, The Sex Lives of Cannibals. This next venture led to another set of Oceania misadventures and ironic twists of fate.

Although it sounds idealistic,
A sequel to The Sex Life of Cannibals (see my review), this memoir/travelogue gets serious about the politics of the South Pacific isles, but is more often just plain funny. Troost has a curious love/hate relationship with tropical lands and I wouldn't be surprised if he uproots his family and tries again.

Fascinated by his description of the horrifying jumbo centipedes on Vanuatu, I Googled them; he had it right...they're huge and scary enough to precipitate a heart attack.
This is funny stuff, well-written, but on the whole, I prefer gonzo travel books by Tim Cahill or Bill Bryson. I learned some things I'd rather not know - like the little tidbit that you can chop a deadly millipede in half and both halves will still attack you - and some things that were worth knowing, like knowing that I never have to go to Vanuatu. That's a destination off my life. It saves a lot of money to live vicariously through other people's misadventures.
A great follow-up to "The Sex Lives of Cannibals" and probably about as entertaining as J. Maarten Troost's first book, as well. It's a fantasy many people have -- to pick up and move away to a tropical island, and not just for a vacation. Troost and wife Sylvia find their fates once again leading them in that direction, after some life changes while living and working in the Washington, D.C. area. Troost recounts a story of seeing a woman with a broken leg board the subway, and not one man offe ...more
brian tanabe
This is a must-read for all the cult followers of Sex Lives of Cannibals. I've actually heard a lot of ho-hum reviews of Getting Stoned and so it took me a while to pick this "sequel" up. But eventually, and thankfully, I did. Getting Stoned is a true beach read -- great for spring break. Troost, the Bill Bryson of the south pacific, pens a light and very entertaining travelogue about living in Fiji and Vanuatu with his wife and newborn son.
I enjoyed one of Troost's other books Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid so I thought, "Why not try another one?" I'm happy to report I was not disappointed. Troost is a good storyteller: enough detail to make it interesting, but not too much that I skip pages; good personality, honest about his foibles; and really tries to capture the local situation.

This book was
Brian Shoop
Getting Stoned with Savages is J. Maarten Troosts second book, it picks right up where "The Sex Lives of Cannibals" left off. What better way to escape the miserable Indiana winter than to read a book based on a tropical island in the South Pacific!

The book follows the adventures that the author and his wife encounter living among the cannibals of the island of Vanuatu and while also living in Fiji. Unlike the title of the first book, this title Troost does get "stoned" with the savages by drin
Петър Стойков
Цялото ревю:

Благодарение на тия безкрайно полезни мерки, хората в съответните държави си седят на ниво диваци и все още се изяждат един друг (съвсем буквално), племенните им вождове, които ги държат на това дередже забогатяват от хуманитарните помощи и фондове, а раздутата "хуманитарна" бюрокрация се гордее как "помага на нуждаещите се страни"...
I enjoyed the second installment of J. Maarten Troost's experiences in the South Pacific more so than his first. Perhaps because we both knew what he (and I) were getting into on this adventure, I found it even more readable with a light and funny, yet thoughtful perspective on being a complete outsider in a place both alien and familiar. A wonderful summer or in-between heavy books read.
This work gave me several moments of actually laughing out loud, not just claiming lol. It was enjoyable for a few reasons:

1) At various times I could relate to either the author's or his wife's perspective and/or outlook on life; although, I am not likely to try Kava at any point in the foreseeable future, even if offered.

2) It's a nice, light read, good for sitting by the pool or out on the patio while enjoying my morning coffee.

3) It gave me a view of part of the world I've never been to.
This is a collection of travel essays that lack the tension or detail to benefit anyone other than the author.

Troost swam in shark infested waters. He sought out living cannibals. He lived in third-world conditions and allegedly was treated as a local. All exciting stuff--or it should be.

What you get is a long lead up to swimming, taking a swim, and later finding out that the waters were dangerously shark infested. That makes a good anecdote at a cocktail party, but on paper, it's not a story at
Just as entertaining as his previous book. Though I found myself sort of disturbed by how lightly he treats (what sounds like) human trafficking and the plight of clearly desperate prostitutes. I don't remember that from his other book. But maybe there are just fewer prostitutes in Kiribati. (I mean, probably.)
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J. Maarten Troost is the author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific. His essays have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, and the Prague Post. He spent two years in Kiribati in the equatorial Pacific and upon his return was hired as a consultant by the World Bank. After several years in Fiji, he recently relocated to the U.S. and now lives with his wif ...more
More about J. Maarten Troost...
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story

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“Paradise was always over there, a day’s sail away. But it’s a funny thing, escapism. You can go far and wide and you can keep moving on and on through places and years, but you never escape your own life. I, finally, knew where my life belonged. Home.” 90 likes
“Nevertheless, while I may not have completely understood what Holy Communion was all about, Catholicism did allow me to see the nuances in cannibalism. Eating the flesh of another human being, I understood, might not always be a really, really bad thing to do. If you were a good Catholic, you had some every Sunday.” 3 likes
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