Sunday, April 30, 2006

BOOK: "Turkey: Bright Sun, Strong Tea," by Tom Brosnahan (Travel Info Exchange, $15.95)

TARGET AUDIENCE: Children -- and grandchildren -- of the '60s.

Ah, the idealism of a Peace Corps volunteer. Tom Brosnahan, now a travel guidebook author, recounts the stirrings of what became his decades-long love affair with Turkey: first teaching English in Izmir (where he was presumed to be a spy) in 1967 and later writing a guide to cheap travel among Turkey's then-unappreciated natural and cultural delights. Living on a virtually nonexistent budget, he survived by apartment-sitting and taking on a succession of odd jobs, including a role in a travel promotion film where apparently the only qualification was "be blond."

As with all personal journeys, his story includes narrative cul de sacs. But if you occasionally say, "So what?" you'll also often say, "Wow, I never knew that." And anyone who's ever been lost at sunset on a dirt road in a strange land will appreciate how mutual suspicion repeatedly yields to traditional hospitality and friendship. We actually regret we weren't there to be uncomfortable, hungry and scared.

-- Jerry V. Haines

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