Travel: BOOKS of the week

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The Independent Travel
The Millennium, A Rough Guide to the year 2000 (Rough Guides, pounds 5) by Nick Hanna

If you are suffering from a private little anxiety that everyone in the world except you knows exactly where the cool action is going to be on the evening of 31 December 1999, this handy little book should put your fears to rest. After reading it, you will be the one in the know.

The book starts with a section on Millennium queries, which includes all those deep, worrying questions concerning the computer timebomb, fin de siecle angst and Millenarianism. There are also questions for those who aren't worried at all ("Can Concorde beat the clock?"), and for the wet blankets in our midst ("Who won't be celebrating the Millennium?", to which the answer, incidentally, is around 3 billion people).

We then get onto the bulk of the book, which comprises details of the various public projects and parties taking place around the world. Germany for example is hosting Expo 2000 in Hanover while Paris is arranging for the Eiffel Tower to lay a giant egg. In the US, the emphasis is size, including the "Biggest Concert and Party ever held on Planet Earth". This event will happen in California and cost over $1bn . Be there or be square.

German Phrasebook (Lonely Planet, pounds 3.99) by Franziska Buck and Anke Munderloh

Why should the arrival of a phrasebook arouse such excitement? Mainly because this Lonely Planet series gives us the phrases that we really want to hear. Except that in the case of German, I am reminded of Bill Bryson's observation about phrases which sound delicate and erotic in Spanish sounding bestial in German. In the "intimate German" section (the only part I've bothered looking at so far) we are treated to phrases such as "streichle meine brustwarzen" which may look like "stroke my breast warts" but actually means "stroke my nipples". If this turns you on, get the book and go to Germany.

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