ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR
MONKS AND MOTORCYCLES:
From Laos to London by the Seat of my Pants,
by Franklin E. Huffman
New York, 2004, Paperback, 328 pages
This adventure travel book describes the author's travel by motorcycle, bus, thumb and elephant back through Asia and across the Middle East to Europe. Although it is a true autobiography and is thus non-fiction, it reads like a novel. The book is also a compendium of information on Laos and Thailand and Burma and India, as well as on the 21 other countries visited by the author.
In 1956, 22-year-old Frank Huffman embarks on a travel adventure from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to exotic Asia; from there he travels across India, the Middle East, and Europe by motorcyle, bus, elephant-back, train, car and thumb. Monks and Motorcycles describes the author's bizarre experiences as a French interpreter in land-locked Laos. At the end of his tour in Laos, he buys a BMW motorcycle and sets out for Europe, with only a National Geographic map of Asia and the optimism of youth as his guide. Huffman takes us along for the ride as he:
• climbs the fabled Angkor Wat in Cambodia,
• cycles up the road to Mandalay in Burma,
• is chased by a motorcycle-hating cow
near the Taj Mahal in India,
• participates in a mutiny on a ramshackle bus
in the Pakistani desert,
• hitchhikes across Iran, Turkey, and Eastern
Europe by thumb, bus and train,
• carouses through Europe in a French car
with military C-rations and sleeping bags, and
• discovers the attractions of Rome, Paris,
Amsterdam and London.
Throughout his travels, Huffman offers keen insights on the culture and society of Laos and the some 25 countries he passes through, while giving trenchant commentary on current events in those countries, based on subsequent travel to 80 countries as a Foreign Service Officer. Huffman's self-deprecatory humor and his undisputed mastery of the English language make Monks and Motorcycles a delightful read.