Sunday, April 28, 2013

To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism by Chuck Thompson

I liked Thompson's previous book Smile When You're Lying so I was looking forward to reading this one. In To Hellholes and Back, Thompson visits a few places he has always avoided.

He starts out with a visit to Africa, particularly a safari in southern Africa and a journey through the Democratic Republic of the Congo (nee Zaire, nee Belgian Congo). Then he visits India with his wife for a month. In Mexico City he calls in a friend who will be familiar to readers of Smile When You're Lying. Finally, he takes on Walt Disney World.

Thompson's style is humorous and sarcastic, and he avoids the cliches of most travel writers (he pointed out many of them in Smile When You're Lying). He devotes many more pages to interactions with the locals than descriptions of scenic vistas. I enjoyed this book because it really gives a sense of what it's like to travel through these places though I have no interest in going myself.

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