Samantha asked me a question last week that I haven’t been asked before. It intrigued. I had no immediate answer. I finally said, “Albania.” Samantha’s question was, “What place have you experienced that you don’t plan to return to?” After I left Sam, I continued to think about her question and came up with 10 more. For some of them, like Belize, the reason I don’t plan to return is personal rather than rational.
For example, Brussels, Belgium. It’s a perfectly nice city with lots of fine attractions, but I was robbed there. Waiting in the train station with our luggage for Ruth to return from getting coffee, I fell for a request for directions and one of our bags disappeared. It wasn’t so much the loss of its contents that bothered us. It was that this led to a scheme to get money from us. Our phone number was inside the bag, and soon a girl called claiming to have found it on a bus. “Send money,” she suggested.
Limerick, Ireland. We were there the day before Christmas Eve. The weather was historically bad and it suffered by comparison to Galway, which we loved. One of the irritants was having to step around puddles of vomit created by drunk revelers.
Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, Australia. The town was bedraggled, it was very hot, and we had an encounter with an Aboriginal lady that baffled us.
Willcox, Arizona. This town is, it appears, sadly emptying. The restaurant we went to was in an old train car. It served bad barbecue. Luckily, we went to Chiricahua National Monument the next day.
Tahiti. The island of Tahiti, in my opinion, has been hurt by overdevelopment. Being in Papeete was like being in any other government town in the world. The Gauguin museum has no Gauguins, only faded prints. Moorea, on the other hand, was an enchanting isle.
Ciudad Juarez. I talked to a local in El Paso who said he used to be afraid to go there but that the city was improving. I’d have to go to Ciudad Juarez to find out if he’s right.
Belize. One of my best friends was murdered there.
Detroit. The last time we went through, we only stopped for gas. Scary.
And finally, Needles, California. We were in Needles just a couple of months ago. Before seeing the town, we stopped at a visitor center where the man behind the desk informed us that it was dying. He was right. BUT it has a good restaurant called Juicy’s and is OK overnight if you’re planning on spending time in the Mojave Desert the next day.
ps. Someone wrote to me this past week who decided that I didn’t like Cuba. Not true. I reported on my experiences there, which, I admit, were sometimes not ideal. But I did report often that others were loving it. Note that Cuba is not in the list above.