Mrs. Woodin's travel diary touches and goes lightly where the Sand Fish, a heavily accoutred Volkswagen microbus, went with wheels churning -- through the Old World deserts, from India, through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the Holy Lands, Arabia and North Africa. Though the Woodin family were no novices at desert living (the author's husband William is director of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum) there were still ecological and of course cultural novelties, bureaucratic hitches, and knowledge that maps, when available, signified only that ""a car, once at some unspecified time, took that route and got through. . . ."" Fortunately, what with government rest houses and a fund of humane lore to tall back on. Mrs. Woodin meets the unknown with dreamy composure, whether it's the "". . . beautiful. . ."" Taj or the swarming Rat Temple. the Japanese fellow tourist who rails against Woodin manners or the old native who cries ""Stop -- you are blessed!"" The view is a woman's and its commonsense humor and romantic susceptibility should appeal to divan adventuresses.