Around the World in 113 Days: A Slice of History from the Past
by James Cameron
Stratton Press Publishing

"The sea has been calm today with no waves, only undulations rolling slowly across an endless expanse of water."

In 2008, author Cameron and his wife Connie decided to see the world on a lengthy cruise. Embarking from Florida, they passed through the Panama Canal, visited exotic Pacific islands, New Zealand, and Australia. They then traveled onward to Asia—the Philippines, China, and India. The Middle East included stops in Oman and Egypt, followed by Mediterranean landmarks: Venice, Gibraltar, Lisbon, and Madeira. Cameron's travelogue was greatly enhanced, he notes, by the expertise provided by their many native guides. Observational passages are varied and fascinating: the once-untamed city of Singapore has become orderly and clean; New Zealanders are exceptionally eco-conscious; the tiny sultanate of Brunei contains "the largest residential palace in the world" with a watery village where half its population inhabits "matchboxes in deep stages of disrepair." The couple found the communist city of Hong Kong surprisingly welcoming, were charmed by "the mystic city of Sintra," and advise travelers to Egypt to prepare for "searing heat and tremendous crowds."

Cameron, a retired health care administrator, moved through numerous American locations before his world travels began. His intriguing cruise memoir consists largely of communications composed while at sea and sent back home via email. Each well-organized segment contains vibrant descriptions of the many ports of call where the couple disembarked. A bit of a humorist, the author often teases his readers back home with trivia questions, advises future travelers on what to expect on shipboard, and offers sanguine vignettes of fellow cruisers: many are overweight, most are elderly, and some may expire during the voyage. The work ends with a personal list of "Best and Worst" experiences and is enlivened throughout by professional, panoramic, evocative photography. Cameron's enthusiastic picture of the world will enchant armchair travelers and perhaps inspire some to get up and go as he did.

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