samskivert: Last Chance To See – Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine (3)

18 June 2001

Reading Douglas Adams (RIP) describe a trip to the post office would likely be more amusing than the concerted effort of most humorists. Thus it should come as no surprise that this description of his treks around the world to locate and describe a select few endangered species had me often laughing out loud much to the consternation of those trying to sit quietly around me. Adams has a keen ability to bring out the mind-bending absurdity in any situation and there are few things more absurd than the progression toward extinction of these amazing animals. The letter included from a concerned couple (some of the book’s material was aired on the BBC before the book was published) regarding their experience in China was characteristically absurd. They had apparently been served Yangtze river dolphin by the locals at a dinner in honor of the work they had done for them. The dinner was even more special because it was a pregnant female and the husband was extended the honor of eating the fetus. There were less than two hundred of these dolphins on the planet at the time. Worth the read just for Adams’ tales of traveling through Africa and China and the info on the animals and the people trying to save them is a poignant reminder of the myriad struggles going on in every nook and cranny of the world.

©1999–2013 Michael Bayne