While some may celebrate the current state of travel – with the nets and webs and the convenience of maps on mobile telephones, I miss the days when the world was young. The days, when closer to the equator, we were told to avoid taking photos in the noon lest we overexpose the camera films – the days when you wrote postcards in Herat, and send a telegram when you needed something urgent. One of the ways I recreate the magic is by trawling used book shops for old travel guides.
Rangoon and Calcutta were the favorite cities for book hunters – home to large used books stores where the owners seem to know where exactly a particular book is. Now those cities have changed their names and they would rather sell pirated DVDs. Here is one of last remaining joint for book lovers in Asia – Junk bookstore in Kuala Lumpur.
Two floors of treasure for us to dig in. The owners seem to know the books and often they will be able to tell you where the books on a particular topic are.
My find this time round is a travel guide from 1974 – almost as old as me. The days when you could bus from Iran to Afghanistan, on to Pakistan, across India and to Nepal. And you had to buy a pass for alcohol consumption for India. And when our Djakarta was so compact. And back when Cholon was the budget accommodation hub of Saigon, not the evil Phạm Ngũ Lão. Anyways, if you are looking for some time travel, here is the address of the bookshop. It is not too far from the central market and the Chinatown area.