- Author: Barb Taub
- Photography: Jayalakshmi Ayyer/Janine Smith
- Category: Travel, Memoir, Humour
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.
Barb, Janine and Jaya decided to arrange another get together and chose to meet in India. Barb was travelling from Scotland, Janine from Washington DC and Jaya, who lives in India, would meet them at the airport. A recipe for disaster? But no, they hooked up without too many problems. There follows a hilarious account of an Indian trip of a lifetime, which includes delicious food, wonderful attractions, food, temples, more food, Dehli belly, Indian medicines, lots of food and death-defying driving, to spotlight just a few features. You’ll notice food is the most predominant. As Barb explains ‘I was in India, and it could only mean one thing. Soon it would be time to eat again.’
After my life stopped flashing before my eyes, I shared my observation that she was moving briskly in the wrong direction. On a freeway. With oncoming traffic.
‘Of course,’ she explained with complete lack of concern. ‘There’s a traffic jam on our side. But don’t worry – that means on our way back we can go on the right side of the road.’
Barb’s crisply detailed, informative and witty commentary brings to life the places, people and cuisine sampled during the trip. The food sounded divine, well, most of it anyway. Perhaps I’d have to pass on the omelet that sent Barb’s tastebuds ‘from innocent bystanders to drive by victims of green chili omelet assault’. But I could quite happily eat my way through a plate of parathas. The traffic sounds horrendous and crossing the road is a feat in itself, but taken completely in their stride by the locals. Everything is observed with a humorous slant, and includes some wonderful photography, which all together made this such a pleasure to read.
If you’re familiar with Barb’s fabulous blog you know you’ll be in for a treat, and if you’re unfamiliar do yourself a favour and get this book. It’s a delightful travelogue recounting the highs, and some lows, of a wonderful trip. I think the Taj Mahal and wild elephants would have been my highlights too.
My reviews for Barb’s other books can be found as follows;
Payback is a Witch/Just for the Spell Of It (about half way down the post)