Item description for A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it's Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen (Travelers' Tales) by Gary Buslik...
"If you look at a map, you will see that the island chain known as the Caribbean, or, to confuse you, the West Indies, lies between Florida and South America and resembles a string of gems or possibly drool." And so begins author Gary Buslik's tale of tropical adventure. Each chapter of this often hilarious and sometimes poignant travelogue recounts another island-hopping, culture-clashing crisis that pits the homesick author against falling coconuts, hospitals that remove wrong organs, insects as big and dangerous as stealth bombers, ticket agents that put him on hold for hours, mysteriously calculated currency exchanges, over-proofed rum, livestock, singing Rastafarians, garbage-bin sex, peanut-crazed children, Idi Amin, flesh-eating monkeys, dentists, cricket, steel drum bands, and the French. Fortunately, even when making fun of his West Indian hosts, the curmudgeonly author's essential good nature and devotion to his wife twinkle through, and in the end his stubborn geocentricity gives way to a heartfelt appreciation of his island hosts.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5" Height: 8" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2008
Publisher Travelers' Tales
ISBN 1932361588 ISBN13 9781932361582
Availability 0 units.
More About Gary Buslik
Gary Buslik currently resides in Chicago, in the state of Illinois.
Reviews - What do customers think about A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it's Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen (Travelers' Tales)?
A strange mix of fact and fantasy, with a lot of humor added in... Aug 24, 2008
When I recently requested the book Cruise Confidential for reviewing, I also ended up with a second book in the package. The title was enough to suck me in right away... A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it's Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen by Gary Buslik. Ideally I would have waited to read this until our next cruise to the Southern Caribbean in March. But I couldn't wait that long. Rotten is a strange mix of travel stories leaving you with a question... what really happened, what's true, what's fantasy, and how do I sign up for a job like this? If you can imagine Carl Hiaasen or Dave Barry as a comedy travel writer, you start to come close to Buslik's style. But any way you look at it, it was a pretty funny read with some poignant moments mixed in.
Contents: The Time I Accidentally Urinated on Idi Amin; My Military-Industrial Complex; NASDAQ 5000; El Max; The Power of MasterCard; The Night Ramon Popular Stopped Being a Commie; Papa's Ghost; A Bug in My Eye; Weed Killer; My Secret Cigars; My Date with Princess Di; Flow; The Art of Indifference in an Uncivil Age; Why Chicken Rectums Are More Relevant than You Think; Black Power; Sometimes It's the Other Way Around; Where Satan Works; Acknowledgments
Buslik is a travel writer who spends a lot of time in the Caribbean for his stories. He also sees himself as a comedy writer, and the two talents combine for some crazy adventures that are stretched to the edge of credibility. For instance, the Amin story takes place at a restaurant where he and his wife have gone to try and enjoy a night out. He steps out to smoke a cigar, and comes back in to a somewhat different mood pervading the entire place. Everyone seems rather frightened and subdued, although the music is still cranking away. He decides to go to the bathroom to get a little relief, only to find that he's standing side by side with the former dictator of Uganda. His second and third take cause him to turn slightly and, you guessed it, dribble a bit on Idi. Not a move to guarantee a long and peaceful life. From there, the story gets REALLY bizarre, with Idi coming out and asking his wife to dance. This is followed up by Amin finding them at their hotel, and pretty much becoming a stalker. Somewhere in there I think reality crosses over to fantasy, but it still makes for a funny read.
But not all the pieces are along that vein. One of his trips to Cuba has him searching for the ghost of Hemingway. He's not successful in finding anything that appears to be the spirit of Papa, but he does meet the old man who was his best friend down there. Now old and confined to a wheelchair, the guy has almost no life except to be rolled out for occasional pictures with tourists. Buslik meets him and wonders why the old man continues to hang on tight to life, when so little of it appears to be worth anything. But in a brief moment of clarity, the old man looks at Buslik, mistakenly thinks he's "Ernesto" come back like he said he would, and is rolled off with a smile on his face, something that rarely happens. The old man dies within the next couple of days, and Buslik contemplates what that case of mistaken identity might have meant to a man who had nothing left in his life. Very touching...
If you have followed Buslik's work, you may have seen a few of these stories as articles in various travel magazines over the last 10 years. The anthology nature of this book explains why many of the stories seem to have little to no bearing on each other. But if you're in the mood for an offbeat look at the islands, this is a nice way to go. Grab an umbrella drink, relax, and enjoy.
Chicago Sun-Times review thumbs up for Rotten Person Jul 29, 2008
"For 254 seriously funny pages, this University of Illinois at Chicago literature and creative writing teacher recount the highlights of a couple of decades' worth of travel around the islands. He reminisces about watching cockfighting in Grenada, stalking Hemingway's ghost in Cuba and those "Midnight Express" moments while trying to smuggle Cuban stogies out of St. Martin."--Chicago Sun-Times (NB: I'm the publisher, definitely biased, and warn readers: DO NOT EAT WHILE READING--YOU WILL CHOKE ON YOUR FOOD.)
not just funny Jul 24, 2008
Although these are billed as "true tales," the essays in this book have a fictional tension that keep you turning the pages. We care about the narrator and his wife, despite their mutual spite, with each essay-chapter pitting them against one antagonist or another--often themselves. What's more, the entire book has a novel-like structure, insofar as the narrator changes--for the better--from the beginning to the end. In the first stories he seems no more than the stereotypical "ugly American," mocking his wife and island locals, always managing to get the last laugh. The stakes are low at first--in the first piece he just wants a night of lovemaking, and in the second he wants nothing more than to get on a plane and come home. But as the book progresses, his stakes get progressively higher and less superficial, so that by midpoint he finds himself in the midst of real life-and-death geopolitical and even geological crises. More humbly now, he begins to express a greater and more sincere appreciation of his wife and local characters, islands, and customs. One middle piece, "Weed Killer," is a tragedy of Shakespearean dimension, and "Flow" is a monumentally moving tribute to the old-time West Indies. "Papa's Ghost" is a bittersweet portrayal of Hemingway's life in Cuba. At the very end of the collection, the narrator has come to a profound understanding of, and gratitude for, not only the differences between people and cultures but their--our--oneness. The collection ends with the narrator in a completely different mindset than at the beginning, with the author having brought him--and us--to that final epiphany slowly, seamlessly, and with great skill.
Some readers will enjoy this book only for its humor--which is a treat--but more literary-inclined readers will recognize the metaphoric tale of personal growth and how that becomes a call for tolerance in, to borrow from one of Buslik's own essay titles, "an uncivil age."
A Rotten Person Reads About the Caribbean Jul 22, 2008
The back cover of a Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean says, "...screamingly funny. Gary Buslik plies the Caribbean with shark eye and barracuda wit." I'm not sure what that means but I can try to cite a few examples, using the author's words. After dazzling fellow tourists with his superior knowledge of the rum-making process, with ulterior hopes of `impressing' the tour guide, our `screamingly funny' author "... vomited all over her." That's sure to get a guffaw out of someone! (He pees too with requisite assurance he would never want to `cop a look' toward the next urinal!) Buslik's shark eye pierces people who are clearly above the rabble. Niquette is an example. "Niquette, who knew as much about the West Indies as Madam Curie knew about glowing in the dark..." This style just isn't for me. I find such phrases forced and there are many throughout this book. I just don't like self-indulgence passing as humor! Then there is the hundred-page obsession with The Exorcist! I started to cringe turning pages in fear that another reference to the 35 year-old movie would turn up. I did enjoy the cock-fighting story. It seemed gritty and real, which was what I wanted but the other tales left me feeling like a sucker for having shelled out money for this book.
Two Thumbs Up. This is one Funny book Jun 2, 2008
There wasn't enough room for me to thrash about the breakfast table as I read this book. Truly one of the funniest books I have ever read.
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