Friday, 8 January 2016

DO NOT WASH HANDS IN PLATES by Barb Taub

5 out of 5 stars

Travel Memoir ~ India 

Dig that crazy camel!!
  On Amazon UK HERE
On Amazon.com HERE
On Goodreads HERE



"Once upon the Land Before Time (or at least before mobile phones), my two best friends and I decided to leave the US from separate locations and meet up in Europe. To everyone's shock, Janine, Jaya and I pulled it off—mostly because we went to Luxembourg, a country so small the odds in favor of chance street encounters were almost 100%, but also because Jaya was carrying the BS, a blue suitcase so enormous it took up approximately a third of the country's square footage and was visible on satellite images. We couldn't possibly miss.  

It took over thirty-five years before—in a combination of optimism and failing memories— we recklessly decided to repeat this feat. Hey, we reasoned, now we've got smartphones, better credit ratings, wheeled suitcases, medical insurance, and the ability to drink legally. Just to make it more interesting, this time we chose to meet in India, where the odds against the three of us actually linking up were approximately a bazillion to bupkis." 


If you're a fan of Barb Taub's excellent blog you will love this book, and if you've never heard of her until this moment, you'll love it just as much :)

It's short, a very pleasant afternoon's reading, and so funny!  I started off highlighting passages for quotes, soon realising I would end up quoting more of the book than I was leaving out.  Not many books make me laugh out loud, but this did.


Barb's account of her, Janine and Jaya's Indian adventure (or 'attempt to eat our way across India') certainly brings the parts they visited to glorious technicolour life, but equally (if not more) entertaining are her observations; a couple of mentions of the motorbikes carrying whole families (and their shopping), and the generous hospitality of those they met (often, Jaya's friends and relatives); she was to discover that an invitation to someone's house actually meant (quote) "Please let me feed you until you look like a balloon with tiny hand and foot appendages waving weakly".  And then there are the parathas... loads of parathas*...
 
There is much food talk ~ Barb's omelette experience: "One bite later, and my tastebuds went from innocent bystanders to drive-by victims of green chilli omelette assault".
 
With driver, Suresh

The ladies meet up with driver Suresh, who takes them out to Munnar and Kerala, which sounds wonderful.  "Janine and I had escaped winter's grip just before Mama Nature barfed blizzards and subzero arctic blasts back in Washington and Scotland.  Everyone we knew back home was miserable.  Obviously, we needed to take pictures by the pool to make them jealous cheer them up."  Here, they visit a tea growing plantation, have a amazing lunch served on banana leaves...later on, Barb comes down with Delhi Belly when she cleans her teeth in water she was assured had been filtered.  "By that evening, I realised I didn't have a single bodily orifice that wasn't actively involved in attempting to evict my internal organs."  


When Barb was planning the trip, she said she had two goals ~ to see the Taj Mahal, and to see wild elephants.  I've never fancied going to India, but this book made me want to.  Oh yes, I forgot to tell you about the wild elephants, that bit's great.  Then there's the auto-rickshaw, crossing the road in Mumbai ~ look, you'll just have to buy it for yourself!


Many pictures are included in the book, with a link so you can see bigger versions (I think this is called high res, I'm not very up on these things!)

Many thanks to Barb for letting me use her photos for this review; I wanted to do the book justice.  You can peruse Barb's blog HERE
 
I love this picture ~ a mobile ironing service!


DON'T TOUCH by Barb Taub reviewed HERE

 

*I know about the parathas!  20 years ago, my boyfriend and I visited an Indian friend of ours.  He was out, and we were entertained until his return by his father, who insisted on bringing us a feast of parathas.  This was in the middle of a summer afternoon.  Every time he went out to make a different type, I wondered how I was going to eat them all, or not do so without being rude.  Marcus had a solution; when we got back in the car, he produced about ten from all trouser and shirt pockets.  Flour, etc, everywhere.  But at least we had managed not to offend dear Mr Raja!

17 comments:

  1. I could not possibly be more thrilled by a review! Thank you Terry for all your kind words.

    And I love your paratha-smuggling operation! (But don't you really want parathas NOW?)

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    1. Barb, I wanted curry and general Indian type comestobles all the time I was reading it! As for the rest of this, you are most welcome :)

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  2. Sounds like a great book for a for those of us feeling the winter blues.

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    1. Rosie, you'll love it - I was about to say that maybe in 30 years she will be writing another one about The Sheffield Five going somewhere, but then realised that she and Cathy would be over 90+ and I will be in my late 80s!!!

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    2. Well you never know! Great review, I’m about to read it myself.

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    3. I'm looking forward to seeing your review already!

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  3. Great review for a book I also loved.

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  4. You've quoted so many of the parts where I snorted with laughter, Terry. I'm sorry I've nearly finished this book by Barb

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    1. Oh, Judith, I looked at the pages of highlights afterwards and thought... right, how do I work all these into a review without it being about 3000 words long?! It's so good!! Look forward to seeing your review :)

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  5. Terry, I live in India and will have to put this on my TBR list. This is a great review. I love Barb's blog. --- Suzanne Joshi

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    1. Oh thanks, Suzanne! Much appreciated x

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  6. Terrific review Terry and I must slip this one in after my current read - I'm so looking forward to it :-)

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    1. Georgia, it's not very long - one of those you can slip in one afternoon, indeed! Just chuck the family out and give yourself two hours of jollity!!! :)

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  7. So looking forward to reading this. Great review Terry :)

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  8. Great review, Terry. I can't wait to read this :-)

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