The Traveling Curmudgeon
By Jon Winokur
Reviewed by David Currier
a world traveler, I too have personal horrific stories to relate. If I tell
friends that I spent Christmas at the finest hotels in Budapest, they nod
politely. If I mention the New Year's Eve that I arrived at my hotel in
London and was told that they had no reservations for me, that my
confirmation number was bogus, that they had no rooms available, and that
the space that was finally provided was so small that to open my suitcase
(on the twin bed) required that my traveling companion spend some quality
time in the loo, my friends want more details!
In spite of the fact that most
travel is rewarding, the less than rewarding aspects always catch peoples'
attention more quickly. Does our generation have such freedom to travel that
we have become completely blasé about our friends’ adventures?
Face it! Some travelers are
never happy with their experiences, no matter their own station in life, nor
how awe inspiring the experiences of their journeys. These folks expect the
Taj Mahal to be 'foreign', but they want it to be located five minutes from
a major shopping mall where they will be comforted by the likes of Tiffany,
Nordstrom, or Burger King. Unfortunately for this type of traveler, you
can't always 'have it your way' - be it a burger, a Manhattan cocktail, or
even bouillabaisse in the south of France which “isn't as good as the one I
had at the restaurant French Connection in Islip, NY”.
There may be more of these
types of cranky people around than you'd think. However, most of them are
of the Dave Barry types - looking for the laugh in it all. (Dave, I too got
trapped at New York's Hotel Shpennsylvania!)
Anyway, Jon Winokur's The
Traveling Curmudgeon, a check-out counter anthology of quotes and comments
by some of the world's most well known travelers - writers, performers,
musicians, politicians, people just like you and me, provides more than a
few laughs and a pile of chuckles about travel experiences around the world.
L.A. to me is like Vegas - but
the losers stay in town. (Jerry Seinfield)
When it's three o'clock in New
York, it's still 1938 in London (Bette Midler)
Detroit. Cleveland without the
glitter. ( Anonymous)
Americans are rather partial
to food. You will be struck by the number of overweight people. (Guides
We shared a room [in a Turkish
hotel] with a Belgian couple. My sheet was littered with the hairs and
scent of the previous occupant. When I complained about my dirty linen to
the hotel man, he immediately rushed up, apologized, and turned it over.
Frankly, The Traveling Curmudgeon is that secret fix to all our cravings to
feast on someone else's disaster! To smugly think "that would never happen
It's the perfect in-flight entertainment when the B-movie you just paid five
bucks to see has a soundtrack that would make Thomas Edison cringe. Or read
it (all of it) while waiting for that sexy beach-waiter to deliver a frothy
piña colada to your secluded palm tree on the beach - mañana, if he/she
remembers you at all.
Published by Sasquatch Books,