A Sarong in My Backpack by Ayun Halliday

By Ayun Halliday

Ayun Halliday explores the hi-octane underbelly of the reasonable backpacker way of life From drug-induced Apocalypse Now re-enactments in Vietnam, difficulty within the pink mild district in Amsterdam to an unforeseen come across on a camel in Pushkar, Ayun deals an armchair portal at the adventure of the shoestring vacationer. With a knack for placing herself in to weird and wonderful occasions around the world, Ayun stocks the trip tales so much are too self-conscious to bare.

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In my fog I was half-happy to hear it. What an exotic souvenir to take back to the States, far more interesting than a bamboo comb. Then the doctor produced an enormous hypodermic full of procaine penicillin and asked us to lower our pants. Bradford went first. ” he howled. I blacked out. I woke in relatively posh quarters. Madge had sprung for a hotel room with two twin beds. The frat boys occupied a room on one side of us; Arnold and Deborah were on the other. The walls were so thick I couldn’t even hear their coupling, if they were still coupling.

There is much crime. ” “Drugs,” his wife echoed, her face grave. ” My host’s face darkened. “Just last month, my wife and I are having a young guest who went there and got into trouble. The police came. You must promise me that you will not go there. ” 37 A SARONG IN MY BACKPACK “Sure, sure,” I swore, eager to get away from the squares. ” “That is good that it is not your thing. It is a disgrace. ” “Well, again, thank you for breakfast. ” I spent the next two days tromping in and out of museums, street markets, and sidewalk cafés decorated for the upcoming holiday with evergreen garlands and fake snow.

There was no way my borrowed pointand-shoot could do justice to a scene that far away. Finally, my watch indicated that I could head back to the Prudencia, collect my stuff and leave for the airport. Renewed purpose put a spring in my step. I was on my way to Africa, man! Crazy. In less than a day, I would trade my parka for shorts and a T-shirt, the northern European snow giving way to the dust of East Africa. Wondering what Tanzania held in store made me sentimental about dear old Amsterdam with its flower markets, its big breakfasts and its legalized prostitution.

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