A lively, lyrical, generally engaging memoir of a hippie-style trek from Hong Kong to Istanbul and innumerable exotic/bewildering/dismal points in between. Sometime in 1976 freelancer Krich (then 25) and his girl friend Iris pooled their earnings from three months on the graveyard shift at the Oakland Post Office and set off around the world. The bulk of their half-year-or-so trip was spent, naturally enough, bathing in new sensations: staring across the border into (then) inaccessible China, bicycling through the post-colonial decay of Macao, watching a Javanese shadow play in Jogjakarta, agonizing from dengue in Bali, swept away by the human maelstrom of Calcutta, robbed by a temple priest in Benares, spaced out on hashish cake in Katmandu, lost in the foothills of the Himalayas, etc., etc. Krich occasionally shifts his cynically romantic first-person focus to a calmer, straighter third-person, e.g., when recounting a friend's adventures in a high-class Bangkok brothel; and he sometimes slackens his whirlabout pace. Otherwise the images flow non-stop in a vivid rush--such as the decrepit ghat on the Ganges, a ""stalled down escalator,"" crowded with ""yogic stuntmen, body painters and trunket hounds, double amputees slipping from step to step like Slinkys."" But this now soft-hearted, now tough-minded traveler (on a visit to Mother Teresa's Home for the dying Krich displays a glib, repulsive cool) has more than tourism to think about. He's trying, without much success, to connect his Berkeley-ish student radicalism to the Asian political scene, and to strengthen his hesitant relationship with Iris (he's nervous New York City Jewish, she's robust Texas oil-fields Christian)--which blossoms nicely. The story ends uncertainly, with a koan-paradox: ""Iris and I found it easy to miss the country we wished to inhabit because we had never been there. Iris and I found it easy to come back because we had never been away."" Despite its lapses in taste, grammar, and form: a flavorful slice of young American life.