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Ugh. I had high hopes, but the book fizzles out quick.
on December 28, 2010
Gearing up for a business trip this was my selection that I thought would be a light, humorous, read along the lines of Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" for the travel world. At first, I thought I had got it right but the book quickly sputters, fizzles, and nosedives into flaming wreckage. It's almost hard to decide where to start this review, there were a few laughs up front and then it degenerates into a self-deprecating mess at times and a self-aggrandizing mess at others, then it derails into some lengthy discourses on the Philippines that manage to go nowhere. The anecdotes slowly begin to have less in the way of endings or points at all and it becomes almost painful to finish.
I love to travel and I love to travel far off the beaten path, I don't reach for glossy travel/ad magazines because none of the places I go or stay would ever be in one. I thought the author was going to have similar tastes, and I think he *thinks* he does, but he doesn't. He thinks all travel writers are shills or idiots and he is the only one to set them all straight but instead he gives a masterclass in failure. I think he is actually so used to lying and the game of being a travel writer that he truly doesn't know how to actually travel.
It ends up a mish-mash of a couple funny tales, a long detour into his ESL days in Japan that aren't very interesting or noteworthy, a longer detour into his failed foray in a travel magazine which is less interesting, and then a hobbled together "ending" of lame high school stories and poorly told anecdotes with a touch of poorly told history tossed in for good measure. He manages to make a story of almost being raped by a machete-wielding local so boring I was hoping for a bad outcome.
Skip this and read "The Sex Lives of Cannibals" by Troost. You'll thank me.