No Touch Monkey

Ayun Halliday

No Touch Monkey.

“I had believed the horror stories. Long before I'd bought my first backpack, I'd known what life was like in a Turkish prison, courtesy of Midnight Express. In that movie, a hyperventilating American budget traveler, played by Brad Davis, tapes himself into a belt of hash bricks in the Istanbul airport's men's room. A phalanx of screaming, uniformed men bust him on the tarmac. He is tossed in jail, where he spends the remainder of the film getting tortured, although he does meet a nice Scandinavian inmate who is totally gracious when Davis doesn't want to be his boyfriend. His father and girlfriend have no luck wrestling the corrupt system, possibly because he wasn't wrongfully accused. The whole film made quite an impression on me, especially the long-sleeved, embroidered gauze blouse the girlfriend was wearing on the airplane as she wondered what the hell was taking Davis so long in the men's room. Before the credits finished rolling, I had resolved to travel to a place where I could buy a blouse like that, and to refrain from smuggling hash while there.”

Monkey Face

The photo above comes from the book under consideration for this month, No Touch Monkey! Subtitled And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late, it's a cautionary tale by Ayun Halliday, perhaps not the most sensible of travel companions, but one who demonstrates a decided knack for inserting herself and her frequently hapless cohorts into bizarre situations around the globe. In venues ranging from Glasgow to Vietnam, Kashmir to Amsterdam, and beyond, Ms. Halliday shares with her readers those travel stories that most people would far sooner forget.

“Instead, I grew fat and Nate skeletal from a diet composed largely of bread. In less than two months, we visited thirty cities in nine countries. It would have been eight, but we slept through an intended stop, awakening not in Venice, but in Vienna on a cold, rainy Sunday when all the moneychangers were closed.”

Bumbling from place to place,  author Halliday paints a hilarious picture of what it's like to be a budget traveler. Be sure to read all about it!

Copyright © 2006, S. Halversen.
All Rights Reserved.