Yak Dumplings, Flesh-Eating Monkeys + Safari’s Gone Wild! Offbeat Food Travels Galore!

Yikes! Yak! He looks like he’s in a BAD mood…here’s why:

In the mood for yak dumplings? Neither is he! Ok then, how about this?

Want to hang out with some flesh-eating Monkeys? NO? Ok then…

Want to hang out with Giraffes? Or maybe get caught in one of the poorest areas of the world – like Malawi?

Well, the entire world is an adventure waiting to happen, so here are some unique travel adventures that you may not ever consider in the same way again!


“Lost on Planet China: One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation” by J. Maarten Troost

OK, I’ve written about Troost before. He’s the bestselling author of “The Sex Lives of Cannibals” and “Getting Stoned With Savages”, two terrific books. Troost returns with a sharply observed, hilarious account of his adventures in China —

As you can see, China is BIG BIG BIG – and it’s a complex, fascinating country with enough dangers and delicacies to keep him, and readers, endlessly entertained.

Maarten Troost has charmed legions of readers with his laugh-out-loud tales of wandering the remote islands of the South Pacific. When the travel bug hit again, he decided to go big-time, taking on the world’s most populous and intriguing nation. In “Lost on Planet China”, Troost escorts readers on a rollicking journey through the new beating heart of the modern world, from the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi Desert and the hinterlands of Tibet.

Here’s how Amazon describes the book: “Lost on Planet China” finds Troost dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai; eating Yak in Tibet (hence the unhappy Yak standing before you)

Troost must decipher all sorts of food and restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as Cattle Penis with Garlic); visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead, very orange); and hiking (with 80,000 other people) up Tai Shan, China’s most revered mountain. And of course, eating those delicious-looking Yak dumplings…

But in addition to his trademark gonzo adventures, the book also delivers a telling look at a vast and complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think.

As Troost shows, while we may be familiar with Yao Ming or dim sum or the cheap, plastic products that line the shelves of every store, the real China remains a world—indeed, a planet–unto itself.

Food can be classified as meat, poultry, grain, fish, fruit, vegetable and Chinese. Embrace the Chinese. If you love it, it will love you back. True, you may find yourself perplexed by what resides on your plate. You may even be appalled.

The Chinese have an expression: We eat everything with four legs except the table, and anything with two legs except the person. They mean it too. And so you may find yourself in a restaurant in Guangzhou contemplating the spicy cow veins;

Again, cue up the yak dumplings in Lhasa, or the grilled frog in Shanghai, or the donkey hotpot in the Hexi Corridor, or the live squid on the island of Putuoshan.

Troost has proven himself a terrific writer, and this is just another great adventure to take with him!

“A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it’s Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen” by Gary Buslik

Here’s a new Author I can’t wait to try…I mean, just the title of the book ALONE is worth the price, but I am even more intrigued after reading this description:

“If you look at a map, you will see that the island chain known as the Caribbean, or, to confuse you, the West Indies, lies between Florida and South America and resembles a string of gems or possibly drool.” And so begins author Gary Buslik’s tale of tropical adventure.

Each chapter of this often hilarious and sometimes poignant travelogue recounts another island-hopping, culture-clashing crisis that pits the homesick author against falling coconuts, and hospitals that remove wrong organs…oops!

Here are more fun things he finds: insects as big and dangerous as stealth bombers, ticket agents that put him on hold for hours, mysteriously calculated currency exchanges, over-proofed rum, livestock, singing Rastafarians, garbage-bin sex, peanut-crazed children, Idi Amin, and of course those flesh-eating monkeys…

Fortunately, even when making fun of his West Indian hosts, the curmudgeonly author’s essential good nature and devotion to his wife twinkle through, and in the end his stubborn geo-centricity gives way to a heartfelt appreciation of his island hosts.

I mean, HOW BAD CAN IT BE when it looks like this?

This is a new Author for me and I can’t wait to go on this adventure…now, speaking of a fascinating adventure I’m not sure I ever want to go on…


“Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town” by Paul Theroux

I have blogged about Theroux before, including his brilliant book “The Happy Isles Of Oceania” – his epic tale of paddling a canoe across the Pacific…a fascinating and yet very dangerous journey…

That however, seems like a vacation compared to his journey through Africa…

In the travel-writing tradition that made Paul Theroux’s reputation, “Dark Star Safari” is a rich and insightful book whose itinerary is Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town: down the Nile, through Sudan and Ethiopia, to Kenya, Uganda, and ultimately to the tip of South Africa.

Going by train, dugout canoe, “chicken bus,” and cattle truck, Theroux passes through some of the most beautiful — and often life-threatening — landscapes on earth.

This isn’t a safari – this is a look at a continent struggling for survival…

This is travel as discovery and also, in part, a sentimental journey. Almost forty years ago, Theroux first went to Africa as a teacher in the Malawi bush. Now he stops at his old school, sees former students, revisits his African friends. He finds astonishing, devastating changes wherever he goes. “Africa is materially more decrepit than it was when I first knew it,” he writes, “hungrier, poorer, less educated, more pessimistic, more corrupt, and you can’t tell the politicians from the witch doctors. Not that Africa is one place. It is an assortment of motley republics and seedy chiefdoms. I got sick, I got stranded, but I was never bored. In fact, my trip was a delight and a revelation.”

Seeing firsthand what is happening across Africa, Theroux is as obsessively curious and wittily observant as always, and his readers will find themselves on an epic and enlightening journey. Dark Star Safari is one of his bravest and best books.

As much as I imagine an African Safari to look like this, the book is a fascinating journey through a land trying to change, adapt and survive…this is travel writing at its best!



Categories: Books / Media, China, Food, London, Politics, Talent/Celebrities, Technology, Travel, Travel Memoir, TV Show, Uncategorized

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