Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Book Review: dust tea, dingoes & dragons

dust tea, dingoes,
& dragons
Yes, judge a book by its cover! This one, at least. It's hilarious. Of course, the retired teachers amongst us shudder at the lack of upper case letters in the title. The rest of the book is well-edited, however. That was a relief.

R.F. Hemphill put together the letters he wrote to his father while he was 'on the road.' For Bob, though, on the road meant 10 years of travel across the pond and back, logging 4 million airline miles. A business man, he tells self-deprecating stories of adventures involving crazy stories, had me laughing. These travels predate 9-11, a different time and place.  READ AN EXCERPT (PDF)

My hubby, a retired manager in the airline industry, would often travel, encountering jet lag and long days. The toll it takes on your circadian rhythms are terrible. He seldom left the airports, though, as his meeting were on airport property. He'd leave home at 4:30 a.m., and arrive home around 11:00 p.m., having running and juggling his shoes, watch, briefcase, laptop, and pocket change through American and Canadian security to make a connection. Business travel has changed post 9-11.

Bob is a hoot. I feel I can call him that since he shares so many of his often foolish encounters with foreign culture, foreign foods and business dealings, and makes himself out to be an American traveller with whom we can share a laugh, not laughing at him, but with him. We've all met the American in Paris who demands the people serving him speak English. These are the ones who are not inclined to learn merci or si vous plait, at the very least.

After his encounters with brains, intestines, pancreas and stomach, nothing surprises our hero, Bob. Here is a cute snippet. Bob, and his colleague, Paul, are in a German restaurant. The server, in heavily-accented English, offers a special: "der medallions of vild boar mit der frezh entrailz." Paul, like Bob, is a hoot. He was game, if you'll excuse the pun. With visions of heaven knows what, the dishes arrive. Bob's sauerbraten mit noodles is good. Paul's medallions turn out to be accompanied by chanterelles. Oopsie!

Bob jumps into his overseas experiences whole-heartedly, explaining his boardroom deals, seeking backers in foreign countries, and sucking up information on how to back a movie. The funniest tales arise, however, in his retelling of his encounters with local culture and cuisine. I think he can be summed up in the 'when in Rome' category, jumping in with both feet, sometimes putting his foot in his mouth. Signing a form, professing to be an infidel, in order to have Muslim dispensation to have room service bring him a drink. It was a good read, all told.


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Hehehe... read the pdf. This looks like a good 'un! YAM xx

William Kendall said...

Even the book title brings out a smile! Good review.

Red said...

This sounds like a fun book!