The Handsomest Man in Cuba
Posted: 29 September 2004 06:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Here’ a new book that might interest you - an unromanticized and compelling first-person tale by a lone woman traveler on a folding bicycle.

THE HANDSOMEST MAN IN CUBA: An escapade
by Lynette Chiang/Small Wheel Press, http://www.galfromdownunder.com

“In the glut of Cuban travel books, this one really stands out” - The Sun Herald

“One of the best on-the-road travel books of this generation” - The Launceston Examiner

“The only time you will put it down is when you finish it” - Peter Sutherland, Australian Cyclist

With several American citizens facing stiff fines for independently traveling to Cuba ($55,000 in a recent case, see http://bernie.house.gov/documents/articles/20040421093319.asp), or merely scratching the surface of the culture through controlled, authorized tours, this book is an apolitical account of what it is like to eat, drink and be cautiously merry among ordinary and extraordinary Cubans - as told by a lone woman traveler who can
take almost everything that’ flung at her - and just about everything is.

From pedaling across the country on a small folding bicycle, voyaging to Trinidad with the world’ worst sailor, fighting off feet-eating
mosquitoes and males with mucho calor (loosely translated as ‘a lotta hotta testosteroneí) and adapting to a country that hits the pause
button for precisely one hour every day for a syrupy soap opera, Lynette Chiang unveils a wild and crazy land that embraces life, a
little food, a lot of love, a huge family – and her.

‘La Chinaí, as the Cubans call her, discovers a people who earn as little as $5 a month, yet refuse to accept money for help, arguing
that ‘friendship is betterí. Who are rationed one bread roll a person per day, but insist she take their share ‘for energyí. Who might have
to choose between a bottle of shampoo or food in any given month, yet who seem strangely more at peace with themselves than the average
wealthy foreigner.

This is not just a story about Cuba, but about what people were like just before the world started spinning too fast to jump off.

First published by Random House Australia in Australia, the USA edition features 8 pages of color photographs, a
technical touring section, map and a foreword by author and renowned fellow bicycle adventurer, The Metal
Cowboy http://www.metalcowboy.com

7 years ago Lynette Chiang fled a decent job, three-bedroom house, fastish car and a nice bloke in Sydney
and, armed with a congenitally poor sense of direction, set off to see the world on a folding bicycle. Her
distinguished careers include that of computer programmer, failed waitress, trainee chef, chief cook and bottle
wash of a mountaintop hotel, creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in Costa Rica and parading
outside Windsor Castle in the freezing cold dressed as an English Lady. She has lived in enough countries
to learn that to not fit in, is part of the experience. Lynette currently works as the Customer Evangelist and
chief storyteller at Bike Friday, maker of the world’ leading performance travel bicycle. She hopes to inspire
women the world over to ‘just do it’, through her travel website http://www.galfromdownunder.com

SO MANY GOOD BOOKS ON CUBA ... WHY THIS ONE?

IT’ INSPIRATIONAL: Solo Chinese-Australian woman traveler and mid-lifer Lynette Chiang, 42, left Australia in 1997 without a trust fund or much cash in the bank, and lived, worked and traveled for 7 years on a folding bicycle without returning home. She inspires middle-aged women of different backgrounds to think about going outside that front door. “To stay at home out fear of flying, takes real courage.” Lynette talks of a cultural schizophrenia - the pressure to live a straight and narrow life of achievement as dictated by her Chinese heritage, coupled with the wanderlust of the Australian spirit.
See http://www.galfromdownunder.com

NOT ANOTHER ‘BUENA VISTAí or ‘FIDEL-BASHINGí CUBA BOOK: The book and slide show are an apolitical look at how Cubans really live - before the encroaching dollar changes it forever. There are ample coffee-table and politically slanted books on Cuba - this is not one of them. “The result is a song of praise for the humanity and simple decency of Cubans”- The Sydney Morning Herald.
More media reviews on http://www.galfromdownunder.com/cuba

REVIEWS:

See Amazon reviews: 15 five-star ratings:
http://tinyurl.com/696bw

SAMPLE CHAPTER EXCERPT:

http://www.galfromdownunder.com/cuba/cubalolita.html
More on http://www.galfromdowunder.com/cuba

USA 2004 Tour Blog: http://www.bikefriday.com/bf/handsomestmanincuba-booktour2004

+++

Lynette is currently touring USA coast to coast presenting a slideshow and book reading; itinerary may be found at:
http://www.bikefriday.com/bf/handsomestmanincuba 

Remaining dates are in SF (Sep 30, Nov 8), LA (Oct 2,5,7) and Eugene Oregon (Oct 20).
 

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