I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.— Bill Bryson
The most craziest Bill Bryson quotes that are free to learn and impress others
There are only three things that can kill a farmer: lightning, rolling over in a tractor, and old age.
If you can imagine a man having a vasectomy without anesthetic to the sound of frantic sitar-playing, you will have some idea of what popular Turkish music is like.
Tune your television to any channel it doesn't receive and about 1 percent of the dancing static you see is accounted for by this ancient remnant of the Big Bang. The next time you complain that there is nothing on, remember that you can always watch the birth of the universe.
And I find chopsticks frankly distressing.
Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects, and who have a noble history extending back 3,000 years haven't yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles is no way to capture food?
That's the trouble with losing your mind; by the time it's gone, it's too late to get it back.
Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature.
Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old.
Out of the thirty thousand types of edible plants thought to exist on Earth, just eleven—corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, millet, beans, barley, rye, and oats—account for 93 percent of all that humans eat, and every one of them was first cultivated by our Neolithic ancestors.
Geologists are never at a loss for paperweights.
I ordered a coffee and a little something to eat and savored the warmth and dryness. Somewhere in the background Nat King Cole sang a perky tune. I watched the rain beat down on the road outside and told myself that one day this would be twenty years ago.
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
To my mind, the only possible pet is a cow.
Cows love you. They will listen to your problems and never ask a thing in return. They will be your friends forever. And when you get tired of them, you can kill and eat them. Perfect.
Protons give an atom its identity, electrons its personality.
I sat on a toilet watching the water run thinking what an odd thing tourism is.
You fly off to a strange land, eagerly abandoning all the comforts of home and then expend vast quantities of time and money in a largely futile effort to recapture the comforts you wouldn’t have lost if you hadn’t left home in the first place.
If you believe in god, it's much more fantastic to believe that he created this universe billions of years ago and set in motion this long train of activities that eventually resulted in us. I think that's so much more satisfying, more thrilling, than the idea that it was all done in seven days.
My first rule of travel is never to go to a place that sounds like a medical condition and Critz is clearly an incurable disease involving flaking skin.
I tell the kids that, even in a childhood marked by despair and deprivation, I knew that no matter what happened, I still had my family, or at least the remnants of a family ripped apart by divorce and then glued back together in various odd arrangements through a series of ill- advised remarriages. It was good to know I had a solid foundation.
If a potato can produce vitamin C, why can't we? Within the animal kingdom only humans and guinea pigs are unable to synthesize vitamin C in their own bodies. Why us and guinea pigs? No point asking. Nobody knows.
In France, a chemist named Pilatre de Rozier tested the flammability of hydrogen by gulping a mouthful and blowing across an open flame, proving at a stroke that hydrogen is indeed explosively combustible and that eyebrows are not necessarily a permanent feature of one's face.
Making English grammar conform to Latin rules is like asking people to play baseball using the rules of football.
English is full of booby traps for the unwary foreigner.
Any language where the unassuming word fly signifies an annoying insect, a means of travel, and a critical part of a gentleman's apparel is clearly asking to be mangled.
Christmas tree stands are the work of the devil and they want you dead.
In my day, the principal concerns of university students were sex, smoking dope, rioting and learning. Learning was something you did only when the first three weren't available.
We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.
I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city.
English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that its rules and terminology are based on Latin, a language with which it has precious little in common.
There is no reason why we shouldn't be able to split an infinitive, any more than we should forsake instant coffee and air travel because they weren't available to the Romans.
There are things you just can't do in life.
You can't beat the phone company, you can't make a waiter see you until he's ready to see you, and you can't go home again.
There is always a little more toothpaste in the tube. Think about it.
You may not feel outstandingly robust, but if you are an average-sized adult you will contain within your modest frame no less than 7 X 10^18 joules of potential energy—enough to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point.
Germans are flummoxed by humor, the Swiss have no concept of fun, the Spanish think there is nothing at all ridiculous about eating dinner at midnight, and the Italians should never, ever have been let in on the invention of the motor car.
For a long time it puzzled me how something so expensive, so leading edge, could be so useless. And then it occurred to me that a computer is a stupid machine with the ability to do incredibly smart things, while computer programmers are smart people with the ability to do incredibly stupid things. They are, in short, a perfect match.
Still, I never really mind bad service in a restaurant.
It makes me feel better about not leaving a tip.
By the time I had finished my coffee and returned to the streets, the rain had temporarily abated, but the streets were full of vast puddles where the drains where unable to cope with the volume of water. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you would think that if one nation ought by now to have mastered the science of drainage, Britain would be it.
No one knows, incidentally, why Australia's spiders are so extravagantly toxic;
capturing small insects and injecting them with enough poison to drop a horse would appear to be the most literal case of overkill. Still, it does mean that everyone gives them lots of space.
The universe is not only queerer than we suppose; it is queerer than we can suppose
I love everything about motels. I can't help myself. I still get excited every time I slip a key into a motel room door and fling it open.
In terms of adaptability, humans are pretty amazingly useless.
Clearly, some time ago makers and consumers of American junk food passed jointly through some kind of sensibility barrier in the endless quest for new taste sensations. Now they are a little like those desperate junkies who have tried every known drug and are finally reduced to mainlining toilet bowl cleanser in an effort to get still higher.
...and it occurred to me, with the forcefulness of a thought experienced in 360 degrees, that that's really what history mostly is: masses of people doing ordinary things.
Distance changes utterly when you take the world on foot.
A mile becomes a long way, two miles literally considerable, ten miles whopping, fifty miles at the very limits of conception. The world, you realize, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret.
I still enjoy traveling a lot. I mean, it amazes me that I still get excited in hotel rooms just to see what kind of shampoo they've left me.
There is more difference between a zebra and a horse, or between a dolphin and a porpoise, than there is between you and the furry creatures your distant ancestors left behind when they set out to take over the world.
After years of patient study (and with cricket there can be no other kind), I have decided that there is nothing wrong with the game that the introduction of golf carts wouldn't fix in a hurry.
Strange as it may seem, wrote Richard Feynman, we understand the distribution of matter in the interior of the Sun far better than we understand the interior of the Earth.
South Dakota... is like the world's first drive-through sensory deprivation chamber.
You can always tell a Midwestern couple in Europe because they will be standing on a traffic island in the middle of a busy intersection looking at a windblown map and arguing over which way is west. European cities, with their wandering streets and undisciplined alleys, drive Midwesterners practically insane.
To an American the whole purpose of living, the one constant confirmation of continued existence, is to cram as much as sensual pleasure as possible into one's mouth more or less continuously. Gratification, instant and lavish, is a birthright
Taxonomy is described sometimes as a science and sometimes as an art, but really it’s a battleground.
It is a slightly arresting notion that if you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you.