Reader J. Espresso says: You start off in Australia and New Zealand, and while there are some interesting accounts of working on a farm and encounters with highway patrolmen who take themselves a bit too seriously, it’s really in the less developed parts of Asia where this book hits its stride. There are plenty of ups and downs across Thailand and Malaysia including a frightening bout of dengue fever. The sections on India are fascinating and you’ll find yourself laughing out loud while sympathizing all the same as Sam and Karsten, a German biker with a short fuse he meets on the road, share the unfortunate fate of a weeks-long bureaucratic nightmare in trying to get their motorbikes out of a shipping container in Madras. From India, it’s off into Nepal before back to India, into Pakistan, and finally, scoring the golden key in the form of an entry Visa to Iran.
This is not a typical travel book filled with seeing the sights and misfortunes that make for good stories – although those elements are included. What makes Under Asian Skies so fascinating, is that at its heart, it’s about people — written by an author who is obviously in love with the world and its citizens. Sam’s curiosity and openness to the common people he meets and interacts with in each country, as well as those fellow travelers met on the road with whom there is a common bond, gives this book a humanistic element that is lacking from many other travel books. You get to know Sam as well as individuals such as Mr. Johns, the clerk at the port on Madras, Dirk and Jens, a German duo traveling the continent in a mini-bus and picking up carpets to sell back in Germany, and a host of other very interesting individuals.
Under Asian Skies is highly recommended for anyone who thoroughly enjoys travel, culture, people, and adventure. Just be prepared to want to get on a bike and set off on your own adventure.
Paperback 319 pages, 33 colour photographs and pen and ink drawings throughout.