Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Travel guide books

So you're looking for a travel guide? Which one do you go for?

The biggest? heaviest? cheapest? glossiest?

I've developed a little library of travel guides over the years, some Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Bradt, Routard & even a Frommer whilst living in Japan trying to find a guide for Beijing but the accomodation was a little out of my league!

So, the last guide I bought was this time last year. Lonely Planet's West Africa, French edition. Thrilled with my purchase; the fact I was able to get it in a nearby bookshop, I didn't even think to check the contents as surely it would just be the same as the English edition.

Opening it at home, there was a chapter missing. I flicked the pages, convinced my eyesight was going but no, the Cote d'Ivoire hadn't been included in the French edition - madness! I wasn't too thrilled as it was the main reason I'd bought it & felt like a complete mug!

Late summer this year I received messages from someone who turned out to be Lonely Planet's author asking me for information on the country. As the English edition (which a friend in Dubai kindly scanned my missing Cote d'Ivoire pages to me) was lacking in up to date information I sent a message back asking if the author intended to be in the country to update the guide.

'Yes' was the response.

'Not really' would have been nearer the truth. Lonely Planet's author spent two weeks solely in Abidjan updating the new guide, asking local expats for information about the country.

Makes me realise now that my money is better spent over there; than on western publications that haven't come to terms with honesty!

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