Along the way you will realise how vast the Ottoman Empire was, see great architecture in Isfahan and walk on top of the giant Buddha in Bamiyan. High in the Hindu Kush you will teach tribesmen how to dance an Irish jig. You will travel through the Khyber Pass, bump to the top of Swat Valley and walk along The Mall in Lahore at midnight, following in the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling after he had put the newspaper presses to bed.
You will be warmly received by Sikhs at the Golden Temple and have your heart broken at the site of The Amritsar Massacre. Then we’ll go up to Kashmir and have a well-earned rest on a houseboat. You will have bangers ‘n mash in Delhi and travel by steam train to Agra where you will see the Taj Mahal under a full moon. We’ll liven up the hormones with a trip to the erotic temples at Khajuraho and take a boat ride at dawn along the Ganges in Varanasi.
You’ll walk up the Kathmandu Valley and see the sunrise on Mount Everest. Then we’ll fly to Bangkok where you will meet Erna’s cousin before travelling by bus down to Kuala Lumpur, Erna’s home town. On the east coast of Malaysia we’ll look for the ghost of Joseph Conrad and you will learn what to do if you ever meet a deadly Malayan Pit Viper.
In Singapore you will see what Clarke Quay was like before it was filled with bars and restaurants and then we’ll fly to Melbourne where you will meet some great characters. And you will spend a day sailing around Sydney Harbour on a Hobie Cat.
I’m new to this scribbling lark. Apparently I’ve got to start off with a scene that captures the reader’s imagination and then introduce myself. While I’m doing that, you go and collect your passport and backpack and we’ll meet you at Victoria Station. I’m easy to recognise, but you’ll probably hear me before you see me. And don’t forget to bring your malaria pills.