Friday, August 7, 2009

In the wake of the Pequod

So I started reading 'Moby Dick' right around a year ago as a part of an online book club with some people I know. Then I realized I should spend more time studying for the GRE and less time reading and then one thing lead to another and I never picked it back up. I meant to bring it with me on this trip to finish it, but somehow misplaced it and forgot it. Then by the fate of an auspicious book exchange, I picked up another 'Moby Dick' at some forgotten location on our mighty Asian travels.

Last August, I had found 'Moby Dick' a little laborious to read, but after reading the likes of 'Don Quixote' with Cervantes' maddening tangents, and 'Count of Monte Cristo,' which was sloppily written as quickly as possible to make debt-ridden Dumas some cash, and 'Robison Crusoe,' which is alright until poor Robin remembers god and becomes obsessed with evangelizing to the cannabalistic savages. After this buffet of tedious reading, 'Moby Dick' seemed like a piece of cake.

I had left Ishmael and the crew somewhere around the Pequod's first lowering to go a hunting. I tore through the book as we tore around Malaysia first on a bus from Georgetown to the east coast Muslim stronghold of Kota Bharu and then on the 'jungle train' from Kota Bharu south where we got off in Kuala Lipis. While on the train I followed the Pequod as it sailed from the Rio de la Plata delta, fastforwarded across the Pacific ocean to come up through the Straits of Java, where they were chased by Malay pirates, then across the South China Sea to the historic whaling grounds near Japan.

While barreling through the jungle with leaves and branches hitting the windows, I realized that in the year that I put down 'Moby Dick' the Pequod has been following me on my world travels in its own eternal literary wanderings. Deep thoughts!

Let's hope my journey doesn't come to a similar end.

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