Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Trials of a Tourist

     Here is a much younger version of myself demonstrating the drawbacks of being an international tourist. Beginning in my early twenties, I've been using my vacations to see the world. I've crossed Asia on a bus and Africa and South America on trucks, and so far, have clocked up 83 different countries. This does not include airport stopovers, but does include a day trip to Greenland and two visits to Easter Island. From that, you may conclude that I did my best to see the out-of-the-way places before the other tourists took them over and, especially in my younger, bachelor days, preferred to travel cheap, even if it meant travelling rough. In short, they were the sort of holidays where the amenities tended to be, shall we say, less than first class. "You could write a book about it!" my companions would say.
     So that is why I have, in fact, decided to pen an amusing account of my adventures - one in which chapters about my quirky experiences are interspersed with general descriptions of the negative aspects of travel.
    I start off with the time I was invited to the home of a resident of Manila, and discovered that I was expected to be the stooge in a crooked card game. Another time, I visited a pygmy village deep in the African jungle, went on a hunt with the little people, and ended up attempting to sleep in the open, only to discover I had left it too late to avoid a tropical thunderstorm. There is the tale of crossing the deserts of Pakistan and Iran, trying to sleep sitting up in a bus, suffering from diarrhoea, heat, and fatigue. Or taking a local bus, beat up and leaking like a sieve, to a South American town where I am my companions paid 50 cents to stay in a broken down hotel.
    You will also read what it was like to help the police identify one of my travel companions who had drowned. And the time a woman was fought over by two handsome men - as the booby prize!
    Also, in alternate chapters I describe the Plot Against Tourists: the conspiracy of airlines, hotels, customs officers, police, money changers, and governments in general to make your journey as trying as possible while attempting to get their hands on your money. But at least you will have a good story to tell afterwards!
     Read it. The book is available from most national Amazon branches in both paperback and Kindle versions. They will even allow you a glimpse inside, if you are wondering about my ability as a story teller.