Title: A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it's Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen
Author: Gary Buslik
Publisher: Travelers' Tales
Publushed in: 2008
Author Gary Buslik and his wife have been married twenty years. In that time they have traveled to the Caribbean many times for vacations, Add in Buslik's time as a travel writer and he has spent quite a bit of time visiting the Islands that dot this area that many consider paradise. The author considers himself a rotten person, easily turned grumpy, which affects how he sees these islands and the culture clash that occurs between his Midwestern American lifestyle and that lived in the warmer Island climates.
This book is a collection of travel stories that were originally published elsewhere. So at times there feels a bit of repetition that may have been avoided by chnging the order of the stories presented. I enjoyed the stories inside. They were written with a black humor and sometimes homesick feeling. The author presents some near brushes with celebrities both unwanted (such as the time he accidently insulted Idi Amin) and wanted (trying to meet Princess Di only to encounter her security and the confusion of a local man who just wanted to get home through a blocked off route). There are stories of crazy and wildly smart Rastifarians, pokes at both the British and the French, as well as musings on how progress is changing island lifestyle.
The author can come across as brusk and a bit of a jerk at times. He is a self proclaimed Republican and Jewish agnostic who is married to a more liberal leaning woman, and who teaches in a very liberal university setting. He loves to weave in observations about growing up in Skokie, IL and his current home in Mundelien, IL and compare them to the islands he has visited. However you really get a feeling of his appreciation of the islands and the people who host he and his wife during their times staying there. I don't know if this travelogue is for everyone. but I enjoyed it quite a bit, especially his stories about visiting Cuba and visiting Hemingway's home.