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To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism Paperback – December 8, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of Chuck Thompson's witty one-liners were priceless. His stories are well-conceived and packed with intelligent observations. Now, it's not perfect - there are some jokes that go over flat and I didn't agree with all his conclusions, but those are few and far between. Overall, this book is a great, intelligent, and humorous read.
Even more, Mr. Thompson is a writer who has done his homework. I have some colleagues that have just returned from a four month stint in India. I shared a number of Mr. Thompson's experiences and observations from the India portion of his book with them - and they found themselves laughing and agreeing whole-heartedly.
An excellent book - I recommend to all! Mr. Thompson seems like the type of guy you'd love to sit down and have a beer with.
The book offers a lot of suspenseful episodes (the solo walk in the African bush comes to mind) but none more so than seeing how Thompson would handle something as seemingly banal as Walt Disney World after having already immersed himself in the exoticism of the Congo, India and Mexico City. He does not disappoint. As Thompson notes, Disney harbors its own forms of danger -- more cultural than physical, of course. But he avoids the outright dismissal of the "dreams can come true" ethos (again, fish in a barrel) and instead opens himself up to the idea that Walt Disney World -- not to mention the world of Disney in general -- may have positives that go beyond being able to find a parking space during peak season. He offers an honest appraisal of the duality that is Disney.Read more ›
What Thompson comes to realize at the end of this travels and after much afterthought, is that people are pretty much the same no matter where they live, the United States is easily considered a third world country to many other countries, and he actually enjoyed Disney World.
If you never plan to go to these places, then this is the next best thing to traveling to them. Thompson is honest in his descriptions (brutal, disgusting, beautiful, as they can be), but also ensures that the reader knows while he might have negative opinions about certain things, he did, in fact, have moments of overall enjoyment and realization that these parts of the world are worth seeing.
I think the most interesting part of the book was Thompson's realization that Mexico City isn't all that bad; and he really did try to make it bad just to verify that his previous feelings about the place were justified. He had a tremendous amount of fun and found all the warnings he received to be unfounded.
Ultimately, anything can happen anywhere; good or bad.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed Robert Pelton's 'The World's Most Dangerous Places', so I thought this book would also be entertaining. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jeff A. Buehner
This book had so many good ratings I Was really looking forward to it. What I got was sarcastic whining. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Lesa
I found this very funny! The writing reminds me of Mark Twain adventures. I discovered this book after reading " Better of without 'Em" about how the south should secede... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mary Gilbert
Chuck Thompson is an experienced travel writer who decided, for uncertain reasons, to visit the world's least recommended tourist destinations. Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by W. Jones Jordan
this is an extremely funny book that made me laugh out loud. I'd love to have beer with Chuck. It's hilarious.Published on February 19, 2013 by GoNOMAD
This book has been a riot to read. 4 great trips packed in to one great book. It's no Frommer's, it gives you a better sense of one may actually experience in these places.Published on December 31, 2012 by The Cultural Infidel
I just wish I could get a refund for this , same B.S, different cover. Just some self loathing dimwit and his juvenile observances,....and I was stupid enough to buy itPublished on November 6, 2012 by G. Ball