Chasing Aphrodite: Stories of Life, Love, & Travel

STORIES

by Emil Rem

Chasing Aphrodite: Stories of Life, Love, & Travel by Emil Rem evokes the best of David Sedaris. Mr. Rem is a refreshing new voice. HIs global upbringing and chaotic childhood have given him a unique perspective on life.

Like Sedaris each chapter stands by itself and is full of quirky characters and weirder situations, yet there is thread that brings it all together.

The book will take you on a journey through the world and leave you with a warm glow at the end. It’s a very good start for Mr. Rem. I will be looking forward to his next trip (book).”

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Meet Emil Rem

An eccentric accountant becomes a writer of eccentric characters, in exotic locales, with each chapter taking us on a trip into the fascinating twisted world of Emil Rem. Born to a close knit middle class Muslim East Indian family in Dar-es-Salam in the 50’s, he is then moved to Maidenhead England at the age of five. The next twenty years are spent shuttling between England and East Africa, wearing a St. Christopher’s cross one minute and attending church, to wearing a green arm band and attending Muslim religious classes in Africa. Moving to Canada, marrying a woman from the Philippines and having two boys only adds further texture to his stories.

Emil Rem was born in Dar-es-Salaam, East Africa. At the age of five, his mother who possessed no education, but held impossible ambitions, divorced his father and moved to England with Emil in tow. The only work she could get was as a trainee nurse, but found she could not look after Emil. An English working class family volunteered to take him in until she found a permanent home for him. The initial two weeks turned into 12 years…

 

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His father continued to live in Dar-es-Salaam, and worked for the airlines. His father was able to provide tickets for Emil to return back to Dar-es-Salaam on holidays. This continued to the age of 12, when Emil began to use this free travel to explore the world on his own. He would go to the airport with wads of vouchers and take the planes to Moscow, Rio de Janero and other places, never knowing where he was going to end up, and neither did his family. Only given enough money to survive aweek of travel, Emil quickly learned to talk to strangers on the plane knowing if they didn’t invite him to their places, he was going to spend time just walking to the town from the airport and back until his return flight,

On each return trip to Africa, Emil Rem saw the gradual disintegration of his culture and community. As each country gained independence, the community began to flee. Africa was not going to be home. While in England the combination of school and joining the cubs at church, led him to fall in love with hymns and psalms and the beauty of the prose in the St. James’ version of the bible. That, and learning Christmas carols for the school play and his teacher’s Friday readings of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” or “Wind in the Willows,” brought on the love of literature. Books were an escape from misery and solitude. Apart from his English family, they were the only stability in his life.

To spite his hovering mother, he failed his high school exams and rushed into Accounting. Accounting was going to be his saviour. Accounting led him to Calgary Canada, where he was to form his new life. Soon he became the scrouge of his employers – they found he could not add. However in time he became mildly successful and created a new home for himself. He met and married a Filipina who bore him two sons within the span of 21 months. Thus began the struggles all young families go through. Bringing up children while juggling work and finances. There were hardships and setbacks, but eventually persistence help turn the corner. Life became fulfilling, taking the family around the world on holidays and introducing them to what he had encountered as a child himself. Work became successful and time passed.

Then, it happened. The urge to write. His mother had always discouraged him from writing or anything creative – there was no money in it. It was not until, little by little, as he heard about the death of this family member or that close family friend urged him to preserve his memories for his boys. The thought was precipitated by the death of his father, who had since joined them in Calgary, and was adored by both his wife and his boys. A lifetime of memories were waiting to be invoked and put to paper.

We invite you to read…..

Chapter Two of Chasing Aphrodite: Stories of Life, Love, & Travel

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The Romantic Grocery and Gift Emporium stood on a pedestal of steps, four feet above the ground, in the heart of Pyla, a tiny village on Dhekelia Road, the main coastal route from Larnaca, a town no more than twenty minutes away by bus. The Emporium would have had a breathtaking view of the endless Mediterranean under a cloudless, moonlit sky, were it not for a clump of hotels, a curious combination of modern concrete and incorrigibly lovely hedgerowed and manicured mansions, built across the road and divorcing it from the sea.

Hotels like the Golden Bay, Sandy Beach and Lordos gave The Romantic its reason for being, providing it with a congregation of thousands during the peak summer season. But this village landmark was more than just a purveyor of goodies and knick-knacks. White plastic garden chairs and wooden benches adorned its entrance and side. Husbands and wives and grandmothers guzzled water or cans of beer or bit into chocolate ice cream bars on a stick as children encircled them, still in bikinis and swimsuits in the sultry evening air, whooping like Indians in an old fashioned Western, playing ball or patting balloons into the sky. It was the cheapest form of entertainment for families on a budget vacation.

He had just returned from Rock Shots, the British expat enclave in the village of Pyla, some two streets away from the main drag, far from the East European tourists and all the hotels and restaurants plastered along Dhekelia Road that catered to them [ . . . ]

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HIS WORKS

Chasing Aphrodite

“A delightful red-shoed travel diary of a grown up boy in ancient lands.”
Arthur Slade

Coming soon….

The Heart of New York

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