Review: Phaic Tan

The Jetlag travel guide to Phaic Tan: Sunstroke on a Shoestring.

This is the second Jetlag travel guide, coming on the heels of last year’s spot-on paradoy of an Eastern Europe guidebook: Molvania (link below).

If you’ve ever read a travel guide in anticipation for a trip, you’ll appreciate the humor and the level of detail in the Jetlag books. Why hadn’t someone thought of this before? Check it:

Many western visitors to Phaic Tan are terrified of the possibility that they may— even accidentally —end up eating dog. A good test when served any roast meat is to look closely at the animal’s head. While pigs and goats will traditionally have an apple stuffed in their mouth, dogs tend to be cooked holding a tennis ball.

Phaic Tan is all about a fictional country that is quite obviously a mix of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Among the sights along Thong On’s “Mildew Coast”, one can “settle back in a lazy deck chair under a shady coconut palm and, on any given day, take in the sight of an overloaded passenger ferry slowly sinking in the glittering azure sea.”

Can’t really say enough about these books, and I can’t wait for the upcoming titles in the series. I mean, they actually came up with the phrase “after his former career as a Khmer Rouge Information Officer.” Check this:

If you think Phaic Tan’s heat and humidity are hard to take now, spare a thought for those who lived back before the arrival of electric cooling. In those days rooms were kept ventilated with a ceiling fan pulled by a young servant boy (mataak) who customarily sat outside. With the coming of electricity in the 1920s this system was modified; the young servant boy still sat outside pulling the fan but he had a wire cable attached to one toe and was given a jolt if he slowed down.

Phaic Tan, by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Rob Sitch, A.

And don’t forget:

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