Sunday, June 10, 2007

Jetlag Travel Guides

I said in my post the other day that I would write about these books, because Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s book made me think of them. I haven’t read one recently, but I enjoy them so much that it’s fun to talk about them. Jetlag Travel Guides is a series written by the Australian team of Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Rob Sitch, and they are send-ups of the culturally sensitive adventure travel guides of the sort offered by Lonely Planet, for example. The books are brilliant satire, employing time-tested travel book formulas like “Where to stay” (the Holidaj Injn in Bardjov) and “Where to eat” (NOT at the Svateho, unless you want to eat sheep scrotum) along with color photographs of the locals (with captions like “When dining in certain parts of Southern Molvania it is considered rude to ask for cutlery”) and detailed maps of the region. Even the tiniest details are correct, and hysterical, like the tag line for Jetlag Travel Guides: Taking you Places You Don’t Want to Go.

We own two of the titles: Molvania, about a pretend Eastern European country, “a land untouched by modern dentistry,” and Phaic Tan (say it out loud), about a fictional Pacific rim nation: “sunstroke on a shoestring.” I see now that a third one has come out: San Sombrero: a land of carnivals, cocktails, and coups. I can't wait. It’s the job of our 13-year-old to read these books aloud, cover to cover, to anyone who will listen, often following family members from room to room saying “listen to this, listen to this.” We can’t get enough of them.


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