Magazine article Geographical

Bird Man of Oz

Magazine article Geographical

Bird Man of Oz

Article excerpt

Much-travelled David Andrew is a Publishing Manager and Writer for Lonely Planer. He is also of Wingspan and Australian Birding magazines, and has been a guide to Bill Oddie. The latest book in his Watching Wildlife series, East Africa, has recently been published

WHAT WAS THE FIRST PLACE YOU VISITED OVERSEAS? I was actually born abroad, if not overseas, because my family are Scottish and I was born in England. My father was a vet and shortly afterwards we moved to Canada, returning when I was about eight years old. Then we moved to Australia. I suppose my first trip as an adult was to return to the UK.

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF HEAVEN ON EARTH? An East African game park with a medieval Italian town such as Florence on its edge. So after a day in the field looking at wildlife and the best of the natural world, by night I could enjoy the best of human creations such as good food and culture.

AND WHAT ABOUT HELL? Being in a big, hot Australian city in mid-summer, knowing that I have to work for months with no escape in sight.

WHO ARE YOUR BEST TRAVELLING COMPANIONS? Experienced travellers with a strong interest in natural history, who don't mind roughing it when need be and who enjoy a beer at the end of the day. Like many other people who have answered this question, my wife, Polly, is a very good companion in this respect.

WHO ARE YOUR WORST TRAVELLING COMPANIONS? I dislike `tightwads', people who insist on bartering the price right down when it is already next to nothing for them to afford. I usually don't barter at all because it gets in the way of my enjoyment -- I'd rather get on to the next experience of my trip. However, I am aware that by not bartering it encourages the shopkeeper to put his or her prices up.

WHO IS THE MOST MEMORABLE PERSON YOU'VE MET? Someone who certainly stuck in my mind, though I don't so much have admiration for him, was John Asperal, who ran a zoo in Kent. My father worked for him before we moved to Canada, after my father was injured by a gorilla at the zoo. I remember John having a single-minded passion for saving wildlife, and being wealthy he threw money at the problem.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR WORST MOMENT? Probably my scariest moment, at any rate, was nearly getting held up in Africa. My wife and I were travelling from Uganda to Nairobi in a bus filled with young female beauticians on their way to college. …

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