book review

Jetlag Travel Guides
Reviewed by: T.J. Nelson

A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry
by S. Cilauro, T. Gleisner, and R. Sitch

V isit beautiful Molvania! As the authors say, "All you need are this guide plus a few vaccinations (for cholera, typhoid, diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, meningitis, malaria, tetanus, dengue fever, and tickborne encephalitis)."

Molvania has many outstanding examples of Soviet-style architecture, complete with unreinforced concrete, lack of windows, and high levels of radioactivity. According to the authors, Gyororik, known as the 'Gateway to Molvania', is Molvania's oldest and most cosmopolitan city, with "people from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, and Ukraine all serving time in the Gyororik Criminal Detention Center (open for tours Mon-Fri)."

Here are some more interesting facts about this fascinating land:

The departure tax is 3000 strubls--one of the highest in Europe, but most visitors agree it's well worth the price.

The hotel owner even speaks a few words of English (he grew up in Glasgow).

The picturesque Nonjdezcrip Plains have become a popular picnic destination, especially now that radiation levels have dropped to almost below WHO recommended limits.

This hilarious spoof of all those annoyingly upbeat travel books reportedly inspired the movie Borat. Unlike the movie, which is truly awful, Molvania is an amusing and imaginative book, full of understated British humor, and is highly recommended.

Phaic Tăn:
Sunstroke on a Shoestring
by S. Cilauro, T. Gleisner, and R. Sitch

P haic Tan--the birthplace of irritable bowel syndrome! Just the name conjures up images of typhoid, malaria, and "five-star retreats so luxurious that staff are sacked daily just to maintain freshness."

Lavishly illustrated with colorful photographs and maps, this is another hilarious travel guide spoof from the authors of Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry. As the authors say, "Whether you dine at a five-star restaurant or a simple street vendor's stall, the memory of these meals will stay with you long after the intestinal parasites have been eradicated." As the authors aptly describe this exotic land:

With one foot in the past and another striding determinedly forward, Phaic Tan is truly a nation going in circles.

Now that some of the land mines and unexploded ordnance have been cleared, Phaic Tan has once again become a traveler's paradise. Enjoy your visit--many travelers spend the rest of their lives there!

San Sombrèro:
A Land of Carnivals, Cocktails, and Coups
by S. Cilauro, T. Gleisner, and R. Sitch

T he last book in the series. Not as many thigh-slappers as the first two--the authors are clearly getting tired of making travel jokes--but still occasionally very funny.