The Routes of Man

Travels in the Paved World

From the book jacket: Roads unite people and sunder them. They both bind cultures across continents and highlight our differences. With his unrivaled passion and his famous eye for detail, Ted Conover explores six of these key byways worldwide: in Peru, East Africa, China, Nigeria, the Himalayas, and the West Bank. En route he introduces readers to intriguing characters and addresses some of the world’s most pressing issues–from the spread of AIDS by truckers in East Africa to smuggling along Peruvian highways. Throughout we see Conover’s remarkable ease with language, his infectious enthusiasm, his intrepid nature, and his deep humanity.

  • Climbing aboard the fully-loaded fuel truck outside Cusco.

  • Braulio at the wheel over the Andes.

  • Mahogany floats! Rafts of wood head to market in Peru’s Amazon.

  • Nallely with pet spider monkey.

  • Portable sawmill, and lots of flies.

  • Mahogany woodcutters atop their trophy.

  • What happens to dirt roads in the rainy season.

  • In deepest winter, Ladakhi teenagers trek a frozen river to school.

  • The village of Reru, a medieval warren in the Zanskar valley.

  • Girls from Reru climb out of the chaddar en route to Bardan monastery.

  • The frozen river briefly lets walkers deep into an inaccessible gorge.

  • Sometimes the path is too narrow for comfort.

  • When a warm day bring mush, anything is better than getting your boots wet.

  • Obadiah (r) and Stephen in Mwanza, Tanzania, 1992.

  • The ‘turnman’ is responsible for fixing flats and other menial work.

  • New West Bank settler road, with curvy local Palestinian road beneath.

  • IDF paratrooper’s t-shirt shows army rifles facing down a bomber outside Nablus.

  • Armored IDF jeep after a bottle filled with motor oil shattered against my door.

  • Sameh in his secret room in East Jerusalem.

  • Khaldoon near the Israeli ‘separation barrier’ north of Jerusalem.

  • When a settler road cut off their front driveway, this Hebron family built a new one — to their roof.

  • Zhu and others in his driving club pause to sightsee on a new bridge over the Yellow River.

  • I take the wheel of Zhu’s Hyundai.

  • Zhao, our leader, and interpreter Li Lu at Three Gorges Dam.

  • Zhu at rest after another long day of driving.

  • Lagos ambulance crew at post alongside expressway.

  • Treating the driver of a truck that rolled (visible in the background).

  • Third Mainland Bridge and high-rises of Lagos Island, as seen from midbridge ambulance post.

  • Sign on door of Lagos Island General Hospital.

  • Photos of traffic officers injured by motorists, in office of chief of the LASTMA police.