Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A charming bookshop and travelogue

I almost forgot to mention a bookshop discovery that I made in historic Battery Point, Hobart. Situated on the corner of Hampden Road and Sandy Bay Road is Kookaburra Books, which houses one of the best second-hand book collections I've seen in terms of interesting titles. Of particular interest was a large selection of vintage children's books with the most richly illustrated spines - perfect for decoration and fun to read too of course! The shop also stocks vintage clothing and has a good collection of teacup trios - of which I'm always on the lookout for pretty English ones. 
The highlight for me was stumbling upon an old volume called 'A Beachcomber in the Orient' - a travelogue from the 1920s chronicling a rather fascinating and madcap journey through South-East Asia. The author, an American, is en route to Singapore when he disembarks in Saigon and then his ship sails without him. He's robbed in an opium den so has to find his way across land (and through a lot of jungle at that) with very little money to be reunited with his traveller's cheques. His adventures are comical and unique. Upon arrival in Thailand (then called Siam) from Cambodia, he's greeted by a party of immigration officials who give him a twenty minute welcome speech that he does not understand. The author reciprocates with his own twenty minute speech, including a recitation of the multiplication tables - for the immigration officials do not understand English. It's certainly an insightful and vivid travelogue! 

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