Fran Golden’s World Worsts
Name Fran Golden
Who? A travel writer and former travel editor of the Boston Herald and the 118 GateHouse Media New England newspapers. Her work appears regularly in the New York Daily News, on TravelandLeisure.com and CruiseCritic.com, and in numerous newspapers, magazines and websites. She is also author of over 20 travel books, most focused on cruises. Her blog can be found at www.getawaywithfran.com
Countries Visited 90
1. Worst Ride on the Back of an Animal Outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand, I did my first elephant ride. I was quite comfortable on top of the beast, but the elephant with passengers in back of me appeared to have the sniffles and kept shooting gunk out of its trunk, at me. I got slimed.
2. Worst Souvenir I know it’s been updated since I visited several years ago, but when I first visited the Opium Museum at the Golden Triangle I was shocked to see the displays took you through the whole history of the opium trade including heroin and junkies (there were even needles on display). And in the gift shop were postcards featuring junkies with needles in their arms.
3. Worst Flight I was flying back from Sydney to Los Angeles. I got a seatmate who was a teenager, off for a year abroad, terrified, already missing her family. She cried the whole flight.
4. Worst Bus Ride I had this idea that as a journalist I should try one of those 9-day “If it’s Tuesday it must be Rome…” bus tours of Italy (since a lot of my readers did them). I took along my then 13-year-old son. He was not happy – the trip included too many churches in his opinion – and during one several-hour stretch he stuck on his headphones to listen to music and refused to talk. If he had been listening he would have heard our local guide trying to entertain us with her impressions of the mating rituals of Italian men.
5. Worst Desert Tour In Dubai I was itching to spend time in the desert. So after a big meal with my hosts we headed off on a jeep tour. I had never heard the term “dune bashing” before. But I should have noticed when the guide adjusted the suspension on the jeep to make it more bouncy. The tour turned out to be a rollercoaster-esque ride on the dunes, bounce, bounce, up and down, stomach very much in throat. I got very sick. I surely left my mark in the Arabian Desert.