Ade's Reviews > Underwear or Socks? An Overland Odyssey

Underwear or Socks? An Overland Odyssey by Alan Lush
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really liked it

Obviously it's more of a personal memento than a comprehensive travelogue, but Alan makes a concerted effort to inject high level yet thoughtful overviews of the necessary background and research for each place visited. What really helps pull the narrative along is the nifty turn of phrase and frequent humorous interjections, some of which I will be stealing in due course. Almost worth it alone for the Chinese haircut experience and the firearms defendent sharing his room in the Aussie hostel, plus I learnt a lot about the toxic capacities of the box jellyfish and funnel web spider. It's true that the Middle Asian part of the journey seems to involve an inordinate amount of temples and abandoned fortresses; I know that Alan's own copy of the book also contains all the photos from the trip (at a correspondingly swingeing printing cost), which probably help to offset the apparent similarities on the page of each location. Also, I think he should have made an effort to tot up the amount of "beers" drunk per night and over the duration, so we can judge how accurate and sober his recollections are likely to be.

Still, good book, light read, great way to commemorate an epic trip. Makes me want to head out the door in search of the same experiences. (One of these sentences is a colossal lie; fortunately, it's the second one.)

(Note: the author is a personal friend of long standing.)

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Reading Progress

July 10, 2012 – Shelved
July 10, 2012 –
page 27
8.36% "Normally avoid foreign travelogues, but enjoying this one so far, adjectives and all."
July 24, 2012 –
page 119
36.84% "On to India. New member of the expedition Emma has just hotfooted it back to Blighty unseen after one day in Mumbai. I'm with Emma.
Interesting comments on Iran and subverted expectations. Description of Aleppo was a hoot."
August 3, 2012 –
page 184
56.97% "[About his hair stylist in China:] "...What closely resembled the Chinese tooth fairy floating towards me, scissors in hand, tin-foil sticking out of designer hair, and a look of spaced-out disconnection on his face that can only really be achieved by the artistically gay." Not sure that it's entirely politically correct, but it's an arresting image."
August 3, 2012 –
page 197
60.99% "Finally, on p.188, Al skives a two day gorge trek. So the mad bugger is human after all.

Claims he loved China at the end, but the place - barring some nice architecture - sounds barely tolerable."
August 14, 2012 –
page 228
70.59% "Some travel books make you desperately wish you were there. This one, speaking purely in a personal capacity, does not. Garlic-fried tarantula? Endless rain? Mosquitoes? Leeches?! No ta."
September 6, 2012 –
page 265
82.04% ""It was sobering to stand 6 inches from certain death: an experience that can be repeated ad-infinitum on this continent."
Australia now. Good-o. Was getting a bit tired of unsettling oriental locations."
Started Reading
September 13, 2012 –
page 323
100.0% "He went to the ballet, just because it was on at the Sydney Opera House! And it was rubbish. Hahahaha, that's SO Alan."
September 13, 2012 – Finished Reading

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