Chuck Thompson is the author of the just-released book, To Hellholes And Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism, a follow-up to his wickedly funny Smile When You’re Lying, a takedown of the travel writing business. So where are the hellholes? Congo, India, Mexico City and — “most feared of all,” Disney World. I asked him to explain.
What’s the common thread?
On the most basic level, they’re all places that have earned extremely negative reputations with people who have never been there. Taken together, they represent the whole spread of traveler paranoia — from crime, disease and bloodshed to standing in long lines in the Florida sun next to little Caitlins and Coopers waiting to get on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.