Travel: Books of the week

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The Independent Travel
Eating the Flowers of Paradise (Constable, pounds 18.99) by Kevin Rushby

If places like France and Spain still manage to seem interesting at the end of the 20th century, think what places like Ethiopia and the Yemen can do for you. Especially if you are on Qat. Kevin Rushby has written an entire book on the subject of that nasty-tasting, conversation-stimulating leaf, which, since ancient times, has been grown in the highlands of Ethiopia but consumed across the Red Sea in the Yemen. The fact that these days it is also grown in the Yemen did not stop the author from setting out to follow the old "Qat Road" from Addis Ababa through Djibouti, across the sea and up the hills to San'a. If you never chew a leaf in your life, this rollicking tale of high adventure should give you a hint of how it feels.

The Green Travel Guide (Earthscan, pounds 12.99 published 2 April) by Greg Neale.

Few of us stop to consider the environmental impact of our holidays and Greg Neale seeks to rectify the situation by making us more aware. He starts with some principles of "green" travel: choose a holiday company that has good environmental attitude; remember that the shorter the distance you travel the less the environmental impact; and think about the environmental records of countries you're visiting. Hopefully, this isn't meant to be taken completely to heart, or we'd all spend our holidays camping in the back garden. Unfortunately, our attention is lost with an unnecessary dose of college text book-type "Sustainable Tourism - Theory and Practice" but things get back on track with an excellent overview of some of the many "green holidays" on offer. The Green Travel Guide has its rather large heart firmly in the right place, and is guaranteed to appeal to all those people who might consider spending holidays camped in the back garden.

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