World Book Day

By | Category: Travel destinations

Since I can’t travel anywhere for a couple of months I thought that I would celebrate today – World Book Day – by reading.

Which to read first?

But not just any book.

I thought a travel book would be appropriate and it might cheer me up. Or it could depress me, couldn’t it? Reading about either some paradise that I had yet to visit or about a destination to which I have already journeyed could make this World Book Day dreary. I might fall into daydreaming about where I couldn’t go and that could be even more depressing .

Perhaps the answer is to read about someone else’s journeys. It can’t be by Bill Bryson, Jan Morris, Bruce Chatwin, Freya Stark or someone like that because their journeys are too recent and could be replicated. No it might have to be one of the ancients like Marco Polo, Pausanias or Strabo because their landscapes described will barely exist in the same form today even the Silk Road..

They still might make dream though so maybe something humorous like S J Perelman’s Westward Ha!, his series of short and funny essays of his trip round the world with the caricaturist Al Hirschfeld would do. Although written over seventy years ago, places would still be familiar so maybe that won’t do either.

No it will have to be one of the Jetlag travel guides about mythical countries written in the style of travel guidebooks. Phaic Tăn, subtitled Sunstroke on a Shoestring, San Sombrèro – subtitled A Land of Carnivals, Cocktails and Coups or the first in the series – Molvania subtitled A Land Untouched by Modern dentistry.

All were created by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Rob Sitch about fifteen years ago and all reveal that they have spent too much time reading guidebooks to the extent that even these parodies ring true in places. It is hard to look another guidebook in the pages again.

I think my choice will be Phaic Tăn, “a country” somewhere in Asia which has a capital city on the Pong River called Bumpattabumpah. That gives you an idea about the number of vehicles that make driving difficult especially as it is considered bad luck to turn left!

An essential stop must be made at the two roomed (but one is a canteen) at the Phaic Tăn Museum of History to see the collection of souvenir spoons and snow globes. After all these years there may even be a world beating display of fridge magnets but we’ll probably need an updated edition to confirm that.

We even learn that the outstanding golfer of the country, Duc Huk, has left Phaic Tăn for the PGA Tour in the USA where he works as a golf cart mechanic!

Such attention to detail should keep me guffawing for most of the day!

Readers be warned – politically correct these books aren’t.

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