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March 08 , 2010

Beyond the Devil's Teeth

Journeys in Gondwanaland


Forty-five million years ago, the supercontinent of Gondwanaland split apart. This created what are now known as India, Africa and South America. The huge landmass was named after the Gond people of India. Meeting a Gond storyteller on a visit to Bombay, Tahir Shah heard their ancient saga. He vowed to visit all three parts of Gondwanaland. As he travelled he met an extraordinary range of wanderers and expatriates, attended magical ceremonies and sought mythical treasures. Roughing it most of the way, Shah's expeditions move through sweltering India and Pakistan, Uganda and Rwanda, Kenya and Liberia, Brazil and finally Argentina's Patagonian glaciers.
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Shortly after the 2005 London bombings, Tahir Shah was thrown into a Pakistani prison on suspicion of spying for Al-Qaeda. What sustained him during his terrifying, weeks-long ordeal were the stories his father told him as a child in Morocco.Inspired by this, on his return to his adopted homeland he embarked on an adventure worthy of the…

Roughing it for most of the journey, Shah shared his travels and his tales with a diverting mix of eccentric and entertaining characters, from Osman and Prideep, Bombay's answer to Laurel and Hardy, to Oswaldo Rodrigues Oswaldo, a well turned out Patagonian version of Danny De Vito.

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