Perfect Bound Softcover
There are many travel books on the shelves of bookshops, but few travel writers describe the day-to-day grind of travelling through a continent such as South America with a partner in the way that Tony Gant does. His outlook on life, combined with a degree of cynical humour that is unique to Londoners, and totally misunderstood by the rest of the world, banded together to create, not only a brilliant situation comedy about the rigors of back-packing, but also to produce a book that is a mine of practical information to anyone who intends to visit this mysterious continent. This is especially so if the aim is to travel as much as possible by rail.
You may not agree with all of his thoughts and actions, notably if you a 5-star tourist, or a reader of the Guardian newspaper (or indeed his one-time travel partner, a German lady by the name of Marita), but it is guaranteed that you will find this book hard to put down once you have embarked on his journey.
This book is the result of 18 months of work after the discovery of a pile of jottings (Tony called them 'diaries') in a drawer at his one time home in the Midlands. I have tried to retain the 'diary' feel to this incredible story and Tony's way of expressing himself. Therefore, grammar and sentence construction have, in place, not been strictly adhered to.
Dean Murphy editor of the original script
Most of the names in this book have been altered to protect the innocent... and the guilty! One or two of the place names have been similarly treated.
Tony was born in Balham, London, in March 1941, and spent most of his early years in the capital, or with his grandparents in Dorset when the bombing became intensive. He attended Balham High school, Franciscan Road Junior Boys, and then Battersea Grammar School where he obtained O levels in English Language, (Genuine), Music, (Genuine) and French (Not so genuine as a friend obtained the exam paper from the printers a week before the exam, and he, and others paid 10 shillings each to copy it out) . He joined W.H. Smith as a trainee manager, but soon became weary of the set routine, and with his father, started up a wholesale greeting card company which they ran between them until his father died in the mid-sixties. The firm expanded until the early eighties, and then because of forces that were outside of his control, it went into liquidation. Tony then became a market trader in the same commodity, and his stall, which he ran with his then wife, was an immediate success. In the late eighties, he began to travel to distant countries such as Hong Kong, the USSR, and Thailand, making use of these country's rail systems, thoroughly enjoying the experience. In 1991, he flew to Australia, and meant to return to England when the six-month visitors visa expired, but he was so taken with the journey round this fascinating continent, that he continued on to New Zealand, and from there, after a stay of three months, boarded a flight to Bali, where he met his future travel partner, Marita. Arrival back in England was delayed for another year and a half, as he took a scenic route that involved travelling through another dozen or so countries. Naturally, his wife was none too pleased at this escapade, and promptly divorced him. Undeterred by this event, he started up a window cleaning round in the Midlands, to earn enough money to travel to South America, and the rest, as they say, is history. In all, Tony has been married and divorced three times, and is father to three children, grandfather to eight, and great-grandfather to four…at the last count. Aged 64, he is contemplating another world trip starting out with an Easy Jet flight to Poland, in order to travel over the last steam operated suburban line in Europe. His kids think that he is bloody eccentric, but can't wait for the next instalment of his life's journey.
Perfect Bound Softcover