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Simon Calder’s World Worsts

simoncalder

Name Simon Calder
Who? Travel editor for The Independent since 1994, presenter for BBC2’s Travel Show, BBC1’s Holiday program, and Simon Calder’s Travel Clinic on London’s LBC radio station,where he helps solve listener’s travel problems.  He also maintains an active travel blog at Sky.com. Prior to the travel writing career, he worked as a cleaner for British Airways at Gatwick airport and a security guard charged with frisking passengers. His first book was Hitch-hiker’s Manual: Britain.
Age 54

Titanic Nominations
1. Worst Rental Car A 4×4 I picked up in Phuket, Thailand where the accelerator pedal got stuck in the fully down position. Me, my passengers and the bodywork survived, but the screaming engine was not so lucky.
2. Worst Airline Undoubtedly the late and unlamented Viasa of Venezuela. In the olden days of the late 20th century, this basket-case airline provided the only really cheap link between the UK and South America. Halfway through a tortuous, 25-hour trip from Heathrow via Paris, Margarita Island, Caracas and Rio to São Paulo, I contracted the worst food poisoning I have ever experienced. Since all the “meals” I consumed in that time were provided by the airline, I can pin the blame squarely on Viasa. In a gratifying bit of travel karma, this useless airline went bust shortly afterward.
3. Worst Tour One of the “free tours” of Paris, where the guide works for tips. He decided not enough of us had shown up to make it worth his while, and promptly canceled the tour.
4. Most Disappointing Attraction Copan in Honduras – not because of the miraculous (or so I am told) Mayan site itself, but because it closes for lunch. I finally reached it after two-and-a-half days of painful traveling, with a plane to catch that evening from Guatemala City, only to find it was closed for lunch.
5. Worst Line in a Travel Story “An island/city/region/nation of contrasts.” Passim

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