Book Extract: How to Avoid Getting Mugged in Rio de Janeiro by Singing Songs by The Police and Other Lesser Known Travel Tips by Simon Yeats

I’m pleased to be welcoming Simon Yeats back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his book, How to Avoid Getting Mugged in Rio de Janeiro by Singing Songs by The Police and Other Lesser Known Travel Tips.

Australian author Simon Yeats, who from an early age learned that the best way to approach the misfortunes of this world is to laugh about it.

Simon shares his comedic insights into the unusual and uproarious elements of living life as an Aussie ex-pat and having a sense of Wanderlust as pervasive as the Bubonic Plague in the 1300s.

From what to do when several people converge to rob you after midnight on a deserted Copacabana Beach, to how to save the Sierra Mountain Range from a wildfire outbreak due to a lack of quality toilet paper, to where not to go in Tijuana when trying to locate the origins to stories of the city’s mythical adult entertainment, to how to save yourself from drowning when caught in a storm while sailing off the California coast.

Simon Yeats has gone into the world and experienced all the out of the ordinary moments for you to sit back and enjoy the experience without the need to lose an eye or damage your liver.


Simon has shared an extract below. We hope you’ll enjoy. 

Content warning: Strong language. 


*****beginning of extract*****


There are some iconic moments in history that, to some of us, were overshadowed by even more weirder events.

If I were to throw out a date, June 17, 1994, nobody would have a clue what I was talking about. If I was to throw out an event, the night OJ Simpson led police on a freeway chase, that rivaled Dohers and I for speed as we moved through the Holiday Inn parking lot after we consumed 50 tacos each, everybody will remember that moment in time.

But I can guarantee that no one else had the same experience I did while watching the events of that day unfold.

For me, the memory could not be any clearer. I am now living and working in Boston. The home of America’s famous insurrection against the British, and the reason I cannot get a decent cup of tea for breakfast at a diner in the USA. Beantown is the city of missed opportunity. For me. I lived here for seven months and the list of fun things that I did not experience while being here is long and distinguished. I did not watch the Head of the Charles rowing regatta. I did not go drinking at a bar near Harvard. I did not watch the Boston Marathon. I did not go to Cheers. I did not go whale watching off Cape Cod. I did not go to historic Fenway Park to watch the Boston Red Sox fail to advance to a Baseball World Series. I did not visit Martha’s Vineyard on Nantucket.

I spent my entire time there pining over Brandi.

And my roommate Phil found it hilarious.

And somewhat disturbing.

Phil and I had met at my residential college at university in Brisbane. Phil came over for one year to study on an exchange from his Alma mater, the University of Massachusetts. He probably regrets it, but he stayed in contact with several of his friends from that time and every single one of them availed himself of his couch over the following years.

I drove down from Littleton one weekend to go drinking with Phil. Sharing the floor with me was Gav, who was headed back to Australia after a year spent exploring Africa, and Shields, a girl from our sister college. She was on her way to London. We also met up with Jeremy, but he was rich enough to afford a hotel room.

That infamous Friday afternoon, I came home from work and had a pine for Brandi. Phil was not at home. He was out on a date. Or he had made that up as an excuse to get away from my incessant pining. After I cleaned up my area (I slept on a mattress in the living room) I had another pine, then turned on the television. The car chase had just begun.

The only television we had in the house was a small portable television device that doubled as a radio. The screen was four by four inches. Even by 1994’s Blockbuster Video standards this relic was antiquated. This thing had a built-in antenna to pick up the analog television signals still used by the three major stations. It was serviceable. Tonight, it sat on the kitchen counter, enabling me to watch the Ford Bronco crawl down the freeway as I prepared my dinner of spaghetti.

Phil and I lived on the top floor of a two-story duplex in Watertown. Every house in the neighborhood was the same. Sound traveled up and down from the other apartments clearly, as well as across the backyard fences. OJ Simpson’s vehicle had just past the 605 while westbound on the 91 freeway, when I heard the voices of my back neighbors getting into an argument.

“Get out of here. Get out of here, you pig.”

This was not that unusual. This pair went at it at least once a week. Sometimes it was just an argument of a few words.

“You pig.”

“You bitch.”

And then silence.

Sometimes the spat lasted a few minutes. Occasionally, if I was lucky, it might go on for the entire ten minutes I was in the kitchen making my dinner. But tonight, with the vitriol in the screaming, I had the sense that they were going to serve up something special.

But the OJ car chase was being shown live on TV.

Ahh, but I had it on a portable television.

I quickly strained my spaghetti and poured my sauce over the top. No time to grate Parmesan. With my plate of spaghetti in one hand and the portable TV under the other arm, I scurried out to the back porch. I set the TV up on a small table and sat down in a chair to watch the two dramas unfold. I am not normally the type of person who intervenes in a crisis, but I am happy to spectate.

Out in L.A., OJ and Al Cowlings could not be doing any less to make their criminal activity duller. The car chase was painfully slow. Al was indicating when making turns. Looking both ways before crossing an intersection. Meanwhile, in Boston, the neighbors were making a public disturbance the way it should be done.

“You son of a fucking bitch. I don’t give a shit you have nowhere to go. Get out!”

“You slut. You fucking slut. You fucking slut, slut. Slut. Fucking slut.”

The man had really reached deep into his dictionary to prepare his argument for tonight’s debate.

This exchange of slurs goes back and forth for approximately ten minutes. OJ is still on the 405. When suddenly a gunshot goes off at the house behind me where the argument is coming from.


*****end of extract*****



About Simon Yeats  –

Simon Yeats has lived nine lives, and by all estimations, is fast running out of the number he has left. His life of globetrotting the globe was not the one he expected to lead. He grew up a quiet, shy boy teased by other kids on the playgrounds for his red hair. But he developed a keen wit and sense of humor to always see the funnier side of life.

With an overwhelming love of travel, a propensity to find trouble where there was none, and being a passionate advocate of mental health, Simon’s stories will leave a reader either rolling on the floor in tears of laughter, or breathing deeply that the adventures he has led were survived.

No author has laughed longer or cried with less restraint at the travails of life.

Say hello to Simon via TikTok and Instagram

How to Avoid Getting Mugged in Rio de Janeiro by Singing Songs by The Police and Other Lesser Known Travel Tips was released in December 2023. Click here to buy on Amazon UK, Waterstones, Amazon US and Barnes and Noble


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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