Simon Reeve’s World Worsts
Name Simon Reeve
Who? An award-winning BBC TV presenter and bestselling author. Simon has traveled the world making BBC TV programs that mix travel with current affairs. His books include The New York Times bestseller The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the future of terrorism, which warned of a new age of apocalyptic terrorism (back in 1998!). Find him on YouTube at shootandscribble. His website is simonreeve.co.uk
Countries Visited +100
1. Worst Meal Zebu penis soup at a roadside stall in Madagascar while travelling around the Equator. A zebu is a type of tropical cattle. The dish is as awful as it sounds.
2. Worst Toilet A basic outhouse on a remote island in western Indonesia. It wasn’t much more than a stick platform extending off a low ridge, designed to dump business straight into the sea. But I had to go during low tide, and hungry village pigs were waiting eagerly below, fighting their way up through the toilet hatch from underneath, trying to eat more than just my arse.
3. Worst Airport Mogadishu, Somalia. As a UN flight landed briefly in Mogadishu, quickly dropping off just two colleagues and me, a gun-battle broke-out at the airfield. The only other planes were bringing in bundles of qat, or khat, the local narcotic of choice, which we had to buy in bunches for the team of heavily-armed local mercenaries who protected us. I went to the local market and bought a Somali diplomatic passport in my own name from a man called Mr Big Beard.
4. Worst Hotel I’ve visited dozens of places untroubled by even medieval hygiene standards, but a dark, dank, mouldy hotel room in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, was particularly memorable. I was standing at a sink, vainly waiting for brown water to turn clear and watching two huge cockroaches mating or wrestling, when I trod on a sharp rat-trap the size of a house-brick.
5. Worst City for Driving Bangkok is still terrible for driving. Endless hold-ups with cars and trucks belching out toxic crap. I’ve been stuck in jams for hours there, retching from the fumes. And nobody switches-off their engine. It would be healthier to suck on a hosepipe running from the exhaust.