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No Touch Monkey!: And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  3,515 ratings  ·  339 reviews
Ayun Halliday may not make for the most sensible travel companion, but she is certainly one of the zaniest, with a knack for inserting herself (and her unwitting cohorts) into bizarre situations around the globe. Curator of kitsch and unabashed aficionada of pop culture, Halliday offers bemused, self-deprecating narration of events from guerrilla theater in Romania to drug ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 28th 2003 by Seal Press (CA) (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.36  · 
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 ·  3,515 ratings  ·  339 reviews

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so this counts as my first fight with ayun halliday.not necessarily a fight, but a disillusionment,like when you find out your partner was only pretending to like wolfsheim to get into your pants, and only too late realizing it was all a sham. this is how betrayed i feel. it may not be a true betrayal, simply a shift in focus. dirty sugar cookies was a great book because it highlighted her fearlessness to expose inelegant or embarrassing details of her life and decisions which is applause-worthy ...more
Morgan Salvador
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those with nothing better to read.
I was very excited to begin reading No Touch Monkey! and Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late. How could I not love a book with such a wonderfully quirky title? Not to mention, there's a shining review from Stephen Colbert (love him!) written right there on the front cover. Honestly though, if it weren't for my no-book-gets-left-behind policy, I would have ditched this book after reading the first few stories.

This book would be more aptly titled Shit that Happened to me While Traveling the Wor
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: bohemian travelers
If you love to travel you probably promised yourself one day you would backpack across Europe or sail around the world, always carefree and blowing with the wind. Later while traveling through a strange country (usually on the frontier of what’s new, a place that just “hasn’t been ruined by tourists yet”) you may see a group of tired, dirty and miserable looking backpackers standing on a corner trying to figure out what would be the next bohemian thing to do. And then you realize how lucky you a ...more
Jun 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I have a confession to make. I think some may be shocked to hear from someone whose position makes him in some small way a caretaker of literature, but while I was re-reading “No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late,” I did something that as a matter of principle, I never, ever do…I dog-eared a page. Then another. I was doing laundry, and ran out of sheets of Bounce, otherwise I would’ve used them.

But I came across a passage in Ayun Halliday’s book where she describes the ind
Carly Johnson
Aug 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm sorry, but this book is mighty lame and not in the least bit 'funny'. The author just goes on and on about not having money, needing a drink, needing drugs, and tidbits on whatever boyfriend she's with. Reading this book is very similar to sitting next to a rambling airhead cheerleader on her cell phone - it just never stops. The plot rambles on and on, and most of the time you don't even know what she's talking about. Classic diarrhea of the mouth.
The most amusing thing about this book are
Apr 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
If you have no common sense and desire to travel the world this book might be for you. Avoid everything the author did and you'll have a successful trip. Better yet, avoid the book and go on your trip because you could hardly do things more ridiculously than this author did. All in all a big disappointment of a book.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm still trying to figure out what travel lessons this author learned, because there don't seem to be any of them in the book. Other than the fact that she happened to be outside her home country of the United States when these stories took place, you can hardly call this a book of travel stories. No, it's more like the psuedo-zany things that can happen to someone unaware of their surroundings, lacking even basic understanding of their environment, and ill-prepared to cope with the problems th ...more
Adam K
Sep 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
I've been reading a LOT of travel books in preparing for my move. I picked this one up on the glowing recommendation by Stephen Colbert on the cover. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Actually, it didn't at all.

The writer is a hippie (or so she keeps telling us) who, more often than not, brings along a REALLY LAME boyfriend (or so she keeps describing them) who are never able to come within a country mile of her spirit of romanticism and cultural understanding and blah-
Feb 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Rick Steves, he'd say, "Done it."
There was a monkey on the cover, and while I'm sure there's a story about a monkey somewhere in the book, I never got to it.
I found myself bored... well, this is really my fault, cause I don't ever go anywhere exotic on vacation. Ayun goes on African safari's on a shoe string budget on her vacations. I do laundry and walk around the mall on my vacations.
She takes vacations with boyfriends, husbands, family, alone... I don't even like to eat by myself, much less wander around a far off land. I s
Paul Steele
Oct 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An entertaining book, but if Stephen Colbert really laughed at every page as he says on his review... he is WAY too easily amused.

Don't get me wrong, I did laugh, but only a couple of times. I think I was more shocked that someone would continue to travel after placing herself (and her traveling companions) in danger time and time again. I would definitely put several of these tales in the "don't try this at home (or abroad)" category. I'm hoping this is just a collection of mis-adventures and t
Nicole R
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Have you ever had friends who go on a trip together and, upon their return, host a get-together at their place in order to share photos and stories? You show up full of excitement and high expectations, which are quickly dashed when your friends start telling stories that are not funny to anyone but them yet they insist on telling them in excruciating detail, punctuated with fits of giggles, while you barely manage to keep a smile plastered on your face and resist looking at your watch more than ...more
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
OMG this book is Awesome! I only wish I would have read it in my rebel, non-conformist, wanna back pack around the world days! Not that I don't still want to but am clearly devoted to 'monkey business' and reading other peoples travel memoirs! This one is freaking hilarious! I mean I'm honestly roaring laughing outloud and the balls this girl has....WOW! Empowering! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves traveling or learning about new places....esp anyone who loves travel memoirs like ...more
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Travelers, Backpackers, Hoosiers, Theater People
Recommended to Lora by: Random shared bookshelf
Such a good travel book! Short, discrete chapters that usually left me laughing out loud. AND, her references to the Rainbow Bridge in Broadripple while smoking on the roof in Thailand (or was it Bali?) make this a must-read for anyone familiar with Indianapolis.

Easy to read, funny, real stories, and so lovely to relate to. Forget "Eat, Pray, Love." I much prefer to travel like Ayun Halliday.
Edward Thomas-Herrera
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved it very, very much - and not just because I'm in the last chapter!
Kalie Lyn
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After I finish a book, I usually ponder it for a day or two before I write its review. However, with No Touch Monkey by Ayun Halliday, my review was already written before I finished the first chapter. And it contained one repeatable word: outrageous.

I’ll be honest. This was my second attempt at reading this book. My first time was last year, and not being able to get into it after the first couple of pages, I gave up and tossed it aside. Yet, last week I picked it back up, agreeing to give it a
In truth, this book deserves a 2.5. I rounded down, because of how much I disliked the author (as a person) based off her memoir.

The writing is average. 3 average. She peppers the books with unnecessary profanity, probably because she peppers her own speech with the same. Most importantly, you expect something different than what this book delivers based off the title "... Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late." You expect words of wisdom.

I can't be too certain, but I am not altoge
Sep 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
I agree with the reviewer who called the author of this book smug. I feel that Halliday was rather snotty in her self-congratulatory tone describing how offbeat she was in traveling on a shoe-string budget. Also, I don't feel that the subtitle is all that correct since I do not think that the author learned any real or helpful lessons from her own self-produced misadventures. She just came across as a whiny individual- especially in the first couple chapters of her travelogue/memoir when she kep ...more
Oct 04, 2007 rated it did not like it
I anticipated a good read here, having seen a few rave reviews on Amazon's website. The author describes her low-budget adventures to exotic places. She would like you to think she's an ultra-cool hipster. She acts like a pretentious twit. Some of her misadventures could have been prevented with some "homework" and a more respectful approach to the respective host country's citizens. One example made me cringe: She entered the kitchen of a Hindu household with the idea of "helping". Not only did ...more
Jan 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
Thank goodness it's over! I picked up this travel memoir because 1) it was travel memoir, 2) the title was hilarious, and 3) Stephen Colbert, who is arguably funny 99 percent of the time, was quoted on the front about a laugh on virtually every page. I may have laughed once - hence the star - but otherwise struggled to find anything redeeming in this self-indulgent travel journal. It wasn't funny, or especially insightful, or full of interesting glimpses into different cultures and locations. Th ...more
Jonathon Flores
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, comedy
No Touch Monkey is a fun read for anyone interested in traveling through the back alleys of distant cities. This is not for the spoiled traveler whom lives in 5 star hotels - to Halliday, that's not real exploration and travel.

Her writing is quite clever and pithy at times. There is no deep underlying meaning or substance in the book, but that does not affect its scoring. It shows herself, her personality, what she goes through, especially as a bold woman traveler. It's not easy being a woman an
Apr 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
I found that the author is much too impressed with her own sense of humor (she is not as funny as she thinks she is), and much too full of herself as a bohemian traveler. This is not someone that I would enjoy meeting while traveling around the world. Having said that, her tolerance for roughing it is much higher than my own - I prefer to stay in places with running water and electricity, so I admire her spirit in that sense. I can also live vicariously through her adventures, knowing that I wil ...more
I was totally prepared to enjoy this travel narrative. I led tours, mostly to Third World and emerging countries in the 1980's and I usually enjoy hearing about other folks' quirky adventures abroad. I found this book both annoying and boring. There was little to be found amusing in the author's tales of bumming and buying dope in various parts of the world. As a traveler, I was polite, tried very hard to make friends in various countries and followed the rules of each nation. As a reader, I tri ...more
Jul 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is the last book that I buy based on the cover blurb by Stephen Colbert. He said, "I laughed lard on nearly every page of this shockingly intimate travel memoir and deeply funny book." That would hook you, right? I admit that there were some funny parts, but not enough to keep me entertained. I took over a week to read this book and I usually finish a book in a day or two. I found myself losing interest in the particular adventure being related and I would put the book down and not pick it ...more
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
As usual. I love Ayun Halliday's work. This one took me a bit long to finish. Work and family commitments, nay Demands, kept interrupting. And of course, reading about her travels in places I have always wanted to go made me a bit jealous.
I like reading her take on things. She often says things that I have thought, although my thoughts may not be as eloquent. In other words, I can relate, as if Ayun is a person I could have been if I had more talent and confidence and less taste for carbs and n
Jul 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I just finished this travel memoir, and I thought it was pretty decent. It was a fast read and pretty entertaining, but a little disjointed. There was no easy-to-follow narrative, and the writing seemed to leave out a lot of the sort of picture painting details I prefer in travel books. Fair or not, I spent a lot of time wondering how she managed to travel so much and never actually DO much of anything. All the same, it was reasonably entertaining and I finished the entire book in less than two ...more
May 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: travel
Not the best travel book I have ever read. She does have some great adventures, but mostly she just complains about the bad things that happened, and not in a hilarious way as promised by the Stephen Colbert review on the cover. I know this is supposed to read like the blooper reel of her experiences, but I just came away from this with the conclusion that she was whiny and really lacked common sense. I found it difficult to laugh with her or even empathize about her failures. However, I do shar ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it liked it
I enjoy reading two kinds of travel books - those that make me feel like I'm on the trip (Blue Lattitudes, Three cups of Tea) and those written by people who really shouldn't be travelling (names withheld to protect the guilty). This is one of the latter. How miss Halliday survived to tell her tales is a mystery. ...more
Lauri Saplad
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, 2015-rc, humor, memoirs
Hysterically funny series of travel misadventures -- but you can't help but wonder if at least some of them couldn't have been avoided by more practicality. The author boldly went where the majority of us all would never dare to go! Most of us have more common sense! I may be a bit of a snob, but if the hotel doesn't have at least 3 stars, I ain't going! Still very humorous, but a little frightening at the same time...
Jan 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Pretty hilarious travel-adventure book. The author is a total travel junkie and trouble maker, she has great stories and I'm glad she shares her experiences in this book.
NOT to be used as a travel guide, but an entertaining collection of stories.
Karla Keffer
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
To those who take umbrage at this book's alleged "cultural insensitivity" - look, we are ALL culturally insensitive. Some are just more honest about it than others, a trait that takes no shortage of guts.
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Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the long running, award-winning East Village Inky zine and author of the self-mocking autobiographies No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late, The Big Rumpus  Dirty Sugar Cookies: Culinary Observations, Questionable Taste, and Job Hopper. She collaborated with illustrators Dan Santat on the picture book Always Lots of Heinies at the Zo ...more

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