Sunday, April 10, 2011

Up the Amazon Without a PaddleUp the Amazon Without a Paddle by Doug Lansky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a totally entertaining book. My favorite chapter was "Rudolph's Last Stand: Reindeer herding in Sweden," despite the fact that he misnamed Donder, Donner. Everyone else does this too. This chapter was totally silly mostly because of coffee cheese. I'm generally pretty willing to try just about any food, and I even had cheese soda in Switzerland, but coffee cheese, I've never before heard of.

The book is basically a series of 60 adventures, each written in about the length of a blog post. I believe they were each travel articles that were compiled into a book, but I didn't bother to actually check that.

I did like the way Lansky ended the book with traveling in the US, specifically to Epcot. He makes an interesting point that as the world continues to become smaller, and people travel more, many unique locations try to become more what people (here he's referring to Americans in particular) expect them to be, and less what they might have been that originally drew people to them.

When my husband and I travel, we try to follow the "when in Rome" mentality as much as possible, but, as Lansky points out, most people speak some English. I always feel a bit like a typical American traveler because I don't speak another language, and I do feel a little bit guilty about forcing people in their country to speak my language.

But now I've digressed. This is an entertaining read, a "bathroom book" is the way the woman who loaned to me described it. At any rate, it's perfect for when you don't want to think too hard, or for those times when you're, say, waiting at the dentist's and you don't want to get too involved in something.

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