The humorous fast-paced prose carries the reader through near-death experiences, lustful romances, as well as unique insights into the countries that Wolf Larsen travels through.
In Travel Around the World? Why Not?! the reader experiences the cities and people and fascinating impressions of forty-five countries in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
There is also a short story collection version of this book!
an excerpt from
AROUND THE WORLD?
The adventure travel book. Travel abroad with Wolf Larsen!
The next morning I woke up and laid there thinking, "What am I going to do today."
"Do I want to wander around this place?"
"Or do I want to jump on the ferry as planned, and start island hopping through the Philippines?"
"Maybe I should go to China today?"
"That's it! That's a great idea! Today I'll go to China!"
So I threw on my backpack and in an abrupt change of plans I didn't go to the ferryboat and start island hopping. I got on a bus for Manila, and then a taxicab to the airport and I asked, "How much is a ticket to Hong Kong?"
"Two hundred dollars," the guy behind the desk said.
It was night and there were all the lights of high-rises and cars down there. Spreading out in the ocean was a fleet of cargo ships and their lights dancing up and down with the waves. I had another sip of cold beer. Yeeaah!! I had woken up in the Philippines that morning and decided to go to China - and now here I was looking down at the lights of Hong Kong.
The next morning I walked out into all the Hong Kong! Hong Kong! What a crazy crazy place in a wonderful wonderful way.
Hong Kong is a constant bombardment into your ears and eyes and nose! Hong Kong is a feverous everything! There are endless high-rises and constant traffic and lots of HUGE double-decker buses VLOOOMING like big colorful monsters through the streets. Overhead the near sky is filled with Chinese signs-signs-signs.
Everywhere I heard the CLATTERING BOOM-ing BOOM-ing construction noises of more high-rises being built.
Then I went to the Chinese embassy. "I'd like to go to China," I said.
"Of course you do," said the nice gentleman behind the counter.
"How long will the visa take?" I asked. "Four days," is what I think he said.
"Four days!" I thought. "Fuck that!"
"Is there anyway I can get the visa now and go to China today?" I asked.
"Sure," the gentleman behind the counter said. "All you have to do is pay more money."
"Having money is cool," I thought. "Yippeeeeee!"
So that night my train landed in Guangzhou (Canton) Station. My eyes popped out of my head at the sight of thousands of Chinese peasants camped out on the floor of the HUGE TRAIN STATION. At that time, the Western news media presented China as an extremely disciplined well-organized society. That certainly wasn't what my eyes were telling me the first moment I got off the train.
I started to walk to my hotel using a map from the guidebook. I was quickly surrounded by nearly a dozen people shoving pictures of luxurious looking hotel rooms in my face as I walked down the street. They were all smiling and blabbering pretty sounding words as I walked down the street. It felt like a bizarre little welcoming parade walking down the HUGE WIDE IMMENSE avenue with me. I tried to help them understand that I already knew where I was staying, and that I couldn't afford any of the luxurious looking rooms in the photographs.
At the hotel I ran into another foreigner about my age - I don't remember what country he was from. We went to a simple restaurant with a GREAT VIEW of all the passings and goings of urban China out there on the BIG AVENUE.
The waitress walked up. My friend ordered chicken (he flapped his arms and said, "Bock-bock-bock-bock"). I ordered beef ("Moooooooo!" I said).
"How do we order beer?" I asked my new friend. My friend lifted his hand like he was drinking something. He then pointed to some beer bottles at another table. After that, he acted like he was freezing for a moment as he smiled. The waitress shook her head yes and smiled back. Then she walked away to place our orders.
The waitress came with cold beer, bock-bock, moo-moo, and a nice friendly smile.
As we drank and ate my friend said, "You see, speaking Chinese is not so hard after all!"
The next morning I walked out into the HUGE BROAD AVENUE by the hotel and headed towards the city center. There were so many bicycles - bicycles - bicycles - streams of bicycles!
I sat somewhere and ate breakfast. I just happily ate whatever they gave me. It tasted good, whatever it was.
(Nobody gathers around the all-to-common SCREAMING INSULTING MATCHES in New York. That's probably because you never know if one of those New Yorker SCREAMERS is gonna pull out a gun and start shooting wildly.)
As I walked deeper into the city center the streets became more and more denser and lively and crowded. The wide straight avenues became squeezed alleyways alive with the buzz of city life.
I was now in the old section of the city - and it felt and looked frantic. The scene of urban life in front of my eyes had probably changed little in the past 100 years.
All kinds of produce and spices and a gigantic variety of other things all stood waiting for customers in huge sacks in little storefronts. The storefronts were all crowded and squeezed together.
Young scrawny but HARD-BODIED laborers carried on their backs and in their arms and on primitive wooden carts all kinds of merchandise back-and-forth to all the here-and-there.
Along the walls of the alleyways lots of chickens and plenty of live exotic animals - some of which I had never seen before and others I had seen in the zoo - waited patiently in cages to be slaughtered and eaten.
I reached the river and crossed into the colonial section. It was orderly, pretty, pleasant, and clean. I walked around. It was BORING compared to the dirty, crowded, bustling "old city" on the other side of the river.
My friend couldn't stand all the WO!W and ener!gy ene!rgy ener!gy gotta gotta get up and do something go somewhere now feeling of this big Guangzhou city.
"I love the big city," I said provocatively. "This city is so alive! It makes my veins pump full of life and excitement!"
"All this big city stuff just fills me with the urge to crawl under the covers and go to sleep," he said.
Anyway, the next morning he left for some little town god knows where and who cares anyway. I went out into Guangzhou (Canton) and explored some more.
You can't imagine the far out wild and strange imagery that filled my head as a child when I heard of places like Canton, China. I never thought I would go to places like Canton, China - and now I was walking through the streets of Canton. (Canton is now called Guangzhou.)
"So many people's dreams never come true," I thought. Walking these streets was beyond a dream - it was an exotic thing that seemed too impossible to even hope or dream of for some public school kid on the South Side of Chicago.
Copyright 2005 by Wolf Larsen (Larson), the author of the exciting adventure novel Travel Around the World? Why Not?! This book about traveling abroad is a thrilling read!
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