Saturday, June 06, 2009

Well-read Weekend #9

A thouroughly useless, yet entertaining travel read, How to Make Friends and Oppress People. Has a sensible title, much like the Museum of Jurassic Technology. It sounds logical at first and then -- what technology during the Jurassic period? or wait, one should not oppress people!

It probably goes without saying that How to Make Friends and Oppress People: Classic Travel Advice for the Gentleman Adventurer by Vic Darkwood was written with a sense of irony.

Some favorite travel advice gems from the author:

On the best mode of travel:
"Women are hormonally prgrammed to be impressed by males who show a certain amount of dash, and in the modern world this commodity is usually made manifest by an impressively bushy moustache, a shiny red sports car or a large private income Right at the top of the dash stakes, however, is being the owner of a hot air balloon."

On improving your peripherial vision for driving:
"One of the best ways I have found of tgraining the eyes is to site for hours in a cinema with one's head turned sideways to the screen. . . Another good technique is to get a friend to drive a golf ball at you side on and attempt to dodge it."

But some of the fun is taken out when you know this advice is tounge-in-cheek. So perhaps the best advice comes from the many citations of actual travel books from the turn of the century.

"When talking to your Chinese boy you use Pdigin English. Here are a few words and their meanings; chop, chop, quickly; all same this, like this; man man, stop; no can cuttee, cheaper; no b'long plopper, that won't do . . . though round about, this baby mode of talk is tolerably successful."

"Should you be attacked by a mob in the East, hurt one of the crowd and hurt him quickly. The others will gather round the injured man and you will be able to slip away."

--The Happy Traveler, Rev'd Frank Tatchell 1923

"Every lady should, to my mind, know how to use a revolver. She may at any time be in China or some other country where there are savage natives . . . A lady can carry a revolver hidden for self-defence in many more ways than a man, owing to her draperis affording more places for concealment. Inside the muff is about one of the best places."

--Hints on Revolver Shooting, Walter Winans, 1904

Prepare to be amused and perhaps learn a thing or two about how to treat the natives.

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