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The master of scepticism, P. J. O'Rourke, describes himself as a Trouble Tourist. This is someone who goes to see "insurrections, stupidities, political crises, civil disturbances and other human folly because... because it's fun." Not content with yer average travelling bum, O'Rouke doesn't go to see the beuatiful things, the marvellous things, the touristy things, he goes to see what makes a place tick. Broken down into segments of where he's been and what was happening whilst he was there, the book is laid out in a clear and easily understandable fashion. Don't go rushing off to see what he's written about your own country first, take time to read it through in order and understand the man and where he's coming from (because the title's already told you where he's going to..(boom boom)..sorry). CHAPTER HEADINGS AND OCCASIONAL SAMPLES. *A Ramble Through Lebanon. *Seoul Brothers. *Panama Banal. *Third World Driving Hints and Tips. - And here's where we'll take a quick dip into the writing to sample the full flavour of what you'll be getting - Example: "What would be a road hazard anywhere else, in the Third World is probably the road. There are two techniques for coping with this. One is to drive very fast so that your wheels 'get on top' of the ruts and your car sails over the ditches and gullies. Predictably, this will result in disaster. The other technique is to drive very slowly. This will also result in disaster. No matter how slowly you drive into a ten-foot hole, you're still going to get hurt. You'' find the locals themselves can't make up their minds. Either they drive at 2 m.p.h. - which they do everytime there's absolutely no way to get around them. Or else they drive at 100 m.p.h. - which they do coming right at you when you finally get the chance to pass the guy going 2 m.p.h."
<br>*What do they do for fun in Warsaw? *Week-end getaway: Heritage USA - Another priceless snippet.."My friend Dorothy and I spent a weekend at Heritage USA, the born-again Christian resort and amusement park created by tele-evangelists Jim and Tammy Bakker, who have been so much in the news. Dorothy and I came to scoff - but we went away converted. Unfortunately we were converted to Satanism." *The Post-Marcos Philippines - Life in the archipelago after one year of justice, democracy and things like that. *Christmas in El Salvador. *At sea with the America's Cup. *Intellectual Wilderness, Ho - A visit to Harvard's 350th Anniversary Celebration. *In Whitest Africa. - And another snippet. "I'd been told South Africa looks like California - the same tan-to-cancer beaches - the same Granola'd mountains' majesty, the same subdeveloped bushveldt. Johannesburg looks like LA. Like LA, it was all built since 1900. Like LA it's ringed and vectored with expressways. And its best suburb, Hyde Park, looks like Beverley Hills. All the people who live in Hyde Park are white, just like Beverley Hills. And all the people who work there - who cook, sweep and clean the swimming pools - are not white, just like Beverley Hills, The only difference is, the lady who does the laundry carries it on her head." *Through Darkest America: Epcot Centre. *Among the Euro-Weenies. - Whilst talking by telephone to a friend in Tripoli, and trying to arrange to meet up with him there. "Get your ass down here! said George. "This is great! And bring some Salami, ok? And Cheese. And potato chips and pretzels. "And cigarettes!" said a voice in the background, "A carton of Marlboro's" "Two cartons!" said another voice. "And a carton of Salems and chocolate bars and Cokes!" "And bring
pita bread!" said George. "Pita bread? What the hell do you want with pita bread? You're surrounded by Arabs," I said. You can't get pita bread?" "You can't get anything," said George. "And for chrissakes bring booze!" "How can I do that? They'll kill me." "Naw" said George, "they'll just rough you up Anyway, they won't catch you. It's easy. Just get a six pack of soda water, the little bottles, the kind with the screw tops. And fill them up with Vodka and screw the tops back on and put them back in that plastic collar thing." "Are you sure you should be telling me this over the phone?" "If they can't make pita bread, what the f*** do you think their phone taps are like?" *Thirty-six hours in Mangua - an in-depth report. *Through Darkest America , Part II: the 1987 Reagan/Gorbachev Summit. *Mexican Border Idyll. *The Holy Land - God's monkey house. *Back in the U.S.S.R: The 1988 Gorbachev/Reagan Summit. *On the Blandwagon: the Democratic Party Convention. *The Piece of Ireland that passeth all understanding. SUMMARY You have humour, you have dark humour then you have P. J. O'Rourke's blackly comic view of the world. This is marvellously bitter and uncompromising cynicism. A truly fabulous read. His ear for dialogue, his eye for detail and his skill at painting visuals makes this an essential part of your travelling compendium. It'll get you through the heavy waiting sessions at airports, it will forearm you with essential information about the kind of world you can suddenly find yourself in, and it's an intelligent look at many of the oddities of the planet we lovingly call home. The humour is forthright and aggressive, sometimes appearing to be disrespectful, but as Dooyoo also teaches you, what's the point i
n holding opinions if you don't express them? A right rollicking good read.