Tahir Shah, House Of The Tiger King: The Quest For A Lost City Quotes
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I struggled to think pure thoughts, as Hector sucked out my psyche with his eyes.
On a harsh expedition, there's no space for anyone who does not intend to finish.
The rain of Madre de Dios is similar to that of the Amazon, but there is a petrifying aspect to it, as if it seeks to wound rather than to nurture.
A man who embarks on a journey must know when to end it.
Previous journeys had taught me the danger of taking too much stuff.
Any man who has ever led an army, an expedition, or a group of Boy Scouts has sadism in his bones.
The taste for glory can make ordinary men behave in extraordinary ways.
The inertia of a jungle village is a dangerous thing. Before you know it your whole life has slipped by and you are still waiting there.
Previous journeys in search of treasure have taught me that a zigzag strategy is the best way to get ahead.
Running an expedition can bring out the worst in a man. It can make you a power-crazed monster.
Experience has taught me the power of trophies. You may have every knick-knack and useless contraption ever devised, but while they weigh you down, a simple trophy can go a long, long way.
The forest did not tolerate frailty of body or mind. Show your weakness, and it would consume you without hesitation.
As far as I was concerned, a little danger of head-shrinking is a small price to pay in return for a people who have remained true to an ancient code.
The ability to tell a good route from a terrible one is a valuable skill when leading an expedition. Unfortunately for us all, it was a skill I did not possess.
Searching for a lost city is a particularly European obsession.
Through a strange kind of geographic arrogance, Europeans like to think that the world was a silent, dark, unknown place until they trooped out and discovered it.
There are two ways to find a lost city. The first is to rely on luck alone, the second is to control all the information.
Exploration is a dirty game.
The situation was different in the jungle. Every inch of ground had to be earned, and was done so through much exertion with the blade.
Normally I would have been the first to go in search of cannibal monks, particularly as I had heard of a similar tradition at a nunnery in the Philippines. It's the sort of quest I can't resist.
Only a man who has his health, a full stomach and wears clean clothes would ever entertain the notion of tracking down the greatest lost city on Earth.
On a hard jungle journey nothing is so important as having a team you can trust.
In some warped way, having an embalmed body with us made perfect sense.
Previous experience had taught me that any expedition marches on its stomach.
The porters could always be coaxed to continue a little further through driving rain by the mere suggestion of a Pot Noodle at the end.
Ours was not going to be a clone of the usual expeditions, oozing with sleekness. It was clear from the start that oddity was our advantage.
My journey to the land of the Shuar tribe had taught me the importance of practical gifts.
If hot food is they key to maintaining an expedition's stamina, then low grade gut-rot alcohol is the key to sustaining its sense of pleasure.
The last thing we wanted was for the Machiguenga to be sad again. Sadness appeared to bring out their violence.
There comes a stage at which a man would rather die cleanly by a bullet than by the unknown terror of the phantom in the forest.
The only thing they valued higher than ammunition were Man United footballs.
I was no longer troubled when he pulled out a machete in a crowded bar, tried to pick up schoolgirls, or threatened to scalp us, then rip off our heads and scoop out our brains.
In the world of the Machiguenga, sadness could be equated with anger, and anger was a perilous emotion, by which a foreigner could lose his life.