Archive - August 5, 2009

1
RPCV Mike Meyer Writes About Beijing One Year After the Summer Games
2
Theroux: In, Up, And Out Of The Peace Corps, Part 4
3
Paul Theroux, Persona Non Grata, Part 3

RPCV Mike Meyer Writes About Beijing One Year After the Summer Games

Michael Meyer (China 1995-97) author of The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed which won the Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award for 2009 given by PeaceCorpsWriters returned to Beijing recently and has written an article about his visit to the site of the 2008 Olympics for Sports Illustrated. “One World, One Dream One year Later” is in the August 3, 2009, issue of the magazine, but you can read it here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1158404/index.htm By many measures, writes Meyer, “the 2008 Olympics were a smashing success, but for the people of Beijing, the Games have left a mixed legacy.” Meyer’s book on Beijing, published by Walker & Company in 2008, detailed the life in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and the dislocation and overturning of its storied culture as the city prepared to host the ’08 Summer Games.

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Theroux: In, Up, And Out Of The Peace Corps, Part 4

Sent home from Africa by CD McCone (who was also terminated from Malawi for ‘poor judgment,’) Theroux stayed at the Claridge Hotel in Washington, D.C., around the corner from the original Peace Corps Headquarters, then at 806 Connecticut Avenue in the old Maiatico Building. The quaint and small Claridge Hotel was the “Peace Corps” hotel and a steady stream of staff, would-be staff, and PCVs back from overseas stayed in its tiny rooms off of Farragut Squire. Next door to the hotel was the Chez Francois, the agency’s hang-out restaurant, with its outside tables and view of Lafayette Park, and the White House itself just beyond the leafy trees. Meals at Chez Francois cost more than what PCVs could afford and Theroux ate at the Hot Shoppe next to the Maiatico Building and the Peace Corps office. Theroux was in and out of the Claridge Hotel in less than a . . .

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Paul Theroux, Persona Non Grata, Part 3

Paul Theroux lived, not only on the edge of the Rift, but also on the edge of the Peace Corps. He was the Volunteer who lived in the African village without servants. He drank in the shanty bars instead of with the Brits at their gymkhanas. He went home with African women and did not date the pale daughters of British settlers when they came home on holidays from their all-white Rhodesian boarding schools. He hated the PCVs who ran with the ex-pats, the “wog bashers,” as they called themselves. But though he held himself apart from his fellow PCVs, Theroux was, according to his country director, Michael McCone, “an outstanding teacher who lived up to the Peace Corps standard of involvement in his school.” And it was this very involvement with his fellow teachers and African friends that finally got him into big trouble. “Two months before I was . . .

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