Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

templeofheaven.jpgNow that I have your attention…this is a book review. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a memoir written by Susan Jane Gilman. A New York Times best-selling author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress.

Right out of an ivy league college, she and a friend decided to backpack around the world starting in the People’s Republic of China. In 1986, before Tiananmen Square. Two fresh-faced girls with no life experience. One a leggy blond, pampered from birth, the author sporting 36 double Ds. Both pining for boyfriends left behind.

They arrive in Hong Kong and proceed to have a meltdown. Culture shock, strange foods, soul stealing heat and a language barrier ended up being the least of their problems. From the comfort of my recliner it’s easy to say “oh my God woman, you need to learn the words of that old song. You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em. Know when to walk away, know when to run.” Not so easy when you are smack in the middle of the situation and it’s all so crazy to begin with, that it is extremely difficult to sort out what it just too crazy. The only spoiler I’m going to give away is that they lived, of course. The book is not a posthumous memoir.

It got me thinking. You never really know someone and how much intestinal fortitude, pardon my pun, they have or do not have until you travel with them. I tested Mr. Husband on this point by going along with him on a decision to stay at a hotel on South Padre Island when a tropical storm was rolling in, instead of evacuating. Duh!

Glorious Beach Vacation

I have been through hurricanes and typhoons so I take full and complete blame for the stupidity of this particular adventure. During the night the tropical storm turned into category 3 Hurricane Dolly that slammed into the Texas gulf coast a few years back. We lived and are still married so he passed the test. It was an epic intelligence fail for me because I knew full well what we might be in for and did it anyway. As we were using the garbage can from the room to scoop water out of a puddle behind the building to flush the toilet, it began to dawn on him too.

There have been times during travel that I have looked at my companion and thought “I don’t know you, I don’t want to know you, and if I ever see your face again it will be too soon!” But I usually back down later on when the situation is better and I’m sipping a cold beer. Such is the nature of adventure.

10 responses

  1. You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em. Know when to walk away, know when to run.” These words got to be inspired of my girl friend. she always says such things to do so

  2. My favorite part of this story was “We lived and are still married so he passed the test.” So funny! I love that you just tell it like it is.

  3. This book just got put on my pile of book to read… thanks 😉

    1. Hope you enjoy it.

  4. Love that pic of you.We’re at the beach right now woo hoo!

    1. Oh that’s right, you are. Have a drink for me 🙂

  5. Yes, the title got my attention alright – then there was no undressing! I suppose I have to read the book?

    The flushing the toilet with a bucket in a Hurricane though – that I can appreciate!

    1. I learned a flush trick from going through numerous typhoons in Guam. Instead of pouring the water in the tank, back of the toilet to flush…pour directly into the bowl. The toilet will flush itself, with less water.

  6. I must read this book – though the long limbed lass on the cover is a bit daunting.

    Mr HoT and travel well together, unless he’s feeling moody because of the heat. Recent holiday in Malaysia and Indonesia – he did not perform well, but did a stellar turn on the frosty South Island… Can not imagine what he’d be like if he had to scoop water to flush the toilet!!! OMG!

    1. I could not fit behind a backpack either, and retain any dignity anyways

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