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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 (Travelers' Tales) [Paperback]

Gary Buslik
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 May 2008 Travelers' Tales
If you look at a map, you will see that the island chain known as the Caribbean, or, to confuse you, the West Indies, lies between Florida and South America and resembles a string of gems or possibly drool. And so begins author Gary Buslik's tale of tropical adventure. Each chapter of this often hilarious and sometimes poignant travelogue recounts another island-hopping, culture-clashing crisis that pits the homesick author against falling coconuts, hospitals that remove wrong organs, insects as big and dangerous as stealth bombers, ticket agents that put him on hold for hours, mysteriously calculated currency exchanges, over-proofed rum, livestock, singing Rastafarians, garbage-bin sex, peanut-crazed children, Idi Amin, flesh-eating monkeys, dentists, cricket, steel drum bands, and the French. Fortunately, even when making fun of his West Indian hosts, the curmudgeonly author's essential good nature and devotion to his wife twinkle through, and in the end his stubborn geocentricity gives way to a heartfelt appreciation of his island hosts.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Travelers' Tales; First Edition edition (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932361588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932361582
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 13 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,105,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This book is wicked...compulsively readable."- Travellady.com"Irreverent travel writing at its twisted best."- "Travel Goods Showcase Magazine"

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
WE WERE IN MUSTIQUE, AN EASTERN CARIBBEAN "hideaway" island, and our taxi driver had just given us a drive-by of Mick Jagger's estate, Princess Margaret's winter mansion, and the vacation homes of two or three movie stars whose names didn't ring a bell, probably because I have not seen a movie since The Exorcist, which scared me so much that for a month I would not get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, certain that Satan was waiting for me behind the shower curtain. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning Label! 31 July 2008
Gary Buslik is one of the funniest writers I've ever stumbled across. DO NOT EAT WHILE READING OR YOU WILL CHOKE. In the spirit of disclosure, I am the publisher, but that also means I read tons and tons of travel writing and ought to be jaded, but Gary's book had me crying with laughter. Viva eccentrics. Here's what Chicago Sun-Times said recently: "For 254 seriously funny pages, this University of Illinois at Chicago literature and creative writing teacher recount the highlights of a couple of decades' worth of travel around the islands. He reminisces about watching cockfighting in Grenada, stalking Hemingway's ghost in Cuba and those "Midnight Express" moments while trying to smuggle Cuban stogies out of St. Martin."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny 25 April 2013
By Ms W
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very funny read about an American in the Caribbean. If you've been there, you will relate but it's not necessary as it's so well described and very readable.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars marvelous book-maven 19 May 2008
By marvelous book-maven - Published on Amazon.com
Although this book certainly is rip-roaringly funny, Buslik does himself a disservice by considering himself first and foremost a comic writer. There is a misleading modesty here, because Buslik is a highly skilled prose stylist: a master of controlled language, tone, and the ability to invoke deep emotions, felt and remembered long after the last page. The essays in this collections are occasionally played just for laughs but more often set readers up with humor and endlessly silly digressions, only, at the finish, to spring powerful emotional traps. The final piece, "Where Satan Works," is nonstop hilarity for eleven pages, only to end with the saddest and most spot-on observations about 9/11 I have ever read. This may be the best writing ever about that horrible day. His poignant "Flow," "Nasdaq 5000," "Weed Killer," and "Sometimes It's the Other Way Around" are literary feasts. Don't kid yourself: this author is not only a keen observer of human behavior but of human nature. The publisher might be selling this book mainly to tourists now, but my guess is that in a few years they'll be selling it to University English departments.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beer spewing out of your nose funny 31 May 2008
By Mike Hollywood - Published on Amazon.com
Writing funny stories is hard work. I know as I attempt it in my writing. My idols are Dave Barry, PJ O'Rourke and Carl Hiassen and now you can add Gary Buslik to that list. It is easy to sit in a bar and tell a story, everybody laughs and slaps you on the back. Bars have an endless supply of semi inebriated less than scholarly types, who will laugh at almost anything. Try writing the story down and you are faced with a cast of intellectuals who keep track of things like quotation marks and indents (whatever that is), they talk in terms of "first person" and "present tense" words that have never been uttered in bars. The point is humor is hard to write and seldom turns out funny. Every story in this book is, "beer spewing out of your nose" funny. You will find yourself laughing so hard; people will come up to you to find out what in the hell is so funny.

Some will take offense to the depiction of certain nationalities and religious groups. Get over it, it's humor, the over the top depiction of Europeans and local Islanders is intentional and adds to the humor. I don't think any intelligent reader finds the exaggeration of stereotypes anything more than amusing. I share Gary's love of the town of Plymouth on Montserrat and found the reference in the book to be quite touching. The story Papa's Ghost adds a great touch to the Hemingway legend. Pick up this book a bottle of rum and enjoy the trip, beats the hell out of the hockey playoffs.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughed my bikini top off. 16 May 2008
By Book Lover Lucy - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book at the airport, on our way to Jamaica, thinking I'd read it poolside once we got there. I made the mistake of glancing at the first page on the plane, so it never made it to the pool. I couldn't put it down either on our flight or in bed that night. My husband wanted to know why I kept laughing out loud and, for that matter, why I was more interested in this book than in him. I told him he'd find out. This book is not only hilarious, it totally nails the dynamics of a couple on vacation. It sets just the right tone for a good time with the one you love. I not only would recommend this book to anyone, I did. On our flight home, half our group had their own copies, and flight attendants wanted to know why everyone was in stitches.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strange mix of fact and fantasy, with a lot of humor added in... 24 Aug 2008
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
When I recently requested the book Cruise Confidential for reviewing, I also ended up with a second book in the package. The title was enough to suck me in right away... 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 by Gary Buslik. Ideally I would have waited to read this until our next cruise to the Southern Caribbean in March. But I couldn't wait that long. Rotten is a strange mix of travel stories leaving you with a question... what really happened, what's true, what's fantasy, and how do I sign up for a job like this? If you can imagine Carl Hiaasen or Dave Barry as a comedy travel writer, you start to come close to Buslik's style. But any way you look at it, it was a pretty funny read with some poignant moments mixed in.

The Time I Accidentally Urinated on Idi Amin; My Military-Industrial Complex; NASDAQ 5000; El Max; The Power of MasterCard; The Night Ramon Popular Stopped Being a Commie; Papa's Ghost; A Bug in My Eye; Weed Killer; My Secret Cigars; My Date with Princess Di; Flow; The Art of Indifference in an Uncivil Age; Why Chicken Rectums Are More Relevant than You Think; Black Power; Sometimes It's the Other Way Around; Where Satan Works; Acknowledgments

Buslik is a travel writer who spends a lot of time in the Caribbean for his stories. He also sees himself as a comedy writer, and the two talents combine for some crazy adventures that are stretched to the edge of credibility. For instance, the Amin story takes place at a restaurant where he and his wife have gone to try and enjoy a night out. He steps out to smoke a cigar, and comes back in to a somewhat different mood pervading the entire place. Everyone seems rather frightened and subdued, although the music is still cranking away. He decides to go to the bathroom to get a little relief, only to find that he's standing side by side with the former dictator of Uganda. His second and third take cause him to turn slightly and, you guessed it, dribble a bit on Idi. Not a move to guarantee a long and peaceful life. From there, the story gets REALLY bizarre, with Idi coming out and asking his wife to dance. This is followed up by Amin finding them at their hotel, and pretty much becoming a stalker. Somewhere in there I think reality crosses over to fantasy, but it still makes for a funny read.

But not all the pieces are along that vein. One of his trips to Cuba has him searching for the ghost of Hemingway. He's not successful in finding anything that appears to be the spirit of Papa, but he does meet the old man who was his best friend down there. Now old and confined to a wheelchair, the guy has almost no life except to be rolled out for occasional pictures with tourists. Buslik meets him and wonders why the old man continues to hang on tight to life, when so little of it appears to be worth anything. But in a brief moment of clarity, the old man looks at Buslik, mistakenly thinks he's "Ernesto" come back like he said he would, and is rolled off with a smile on his face, something that rarely happens. The old man dies within the next couple of days, and Buslik contemplates what that case of mistaken identity might have meant to a man who had nothing left in his life. Very touching...

If you have followed Buslik's work, you may have seen a few of these stories as articles in various travel magazines over the last 10 years. The anthology nature of this book explains why many of the stories seem to have little to no bearing on each other. But if you're in the mood for an offbeat look at the islands, this is a nice way to go. Grab an umbrella drink, relax, and enjoy.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Rotten Person Reads About the Caribbean 22 July 2008
By Gerald J. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
The back cover of a Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean says, "...screamingly funny. Gary Buslik plies the Caribbean with shark eye and barracuda wit." I'm not sure what that means but I can try to cite a few examples, using the author's words. After dazzling fellow tourists with his superior knowledge of the rum-making process, with ulterior hopes of `impressing' the tour guide, our `screamingly funny' author "... vomited all over her." That's sure to get a guffaw out of someone! (He pees too with requisite assurance he would never want to `cop a look' toward the next urinal!) Buslik's shark eye pierces people who are clearly above the rabble. Niquette is an example. "Niquette, who knew as much about the West Indies as Madam Curie knew about glowing in the dark..."
This style just isn't for me. I find such phrases forced and there are many throughout this book. I just don't like self-indulgence passing as humor! Then there is the hundred-page obsession with The Exorcist! I started to cringe turning pages in fear that another reference to the 35 year-old movie would turn up. I did enjoy the cock-fighting story. It seemed gritty and real, which was what I wanted but the other tales left me feeling like a sucker for having shelled out money for this book.
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