Seth Stevenson’s World Worsts
Name Seth Stevenson
Who? Author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World and a contributing writer for Slate. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, New York, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and other publications. Seth is a multiple Lowell Thomas Award winner and was excerpted three times in the Best American Travel Writing series. He currently lives in Washington, D.C.
Countries Visited 31
Titanic Award Nominations
1. Worst Drink Some sort of strange Russian moonshine served at a bar in Vladivostok. “You know how improperly distilled alcohol can make you go blind?” my girlfriend said, after taking a sip and grimacing. “This tastes like blind.”
2. Worst Tourist Trap Those tiny towns on the Mexican coast that exist solely as cruise ship ports. (Yes, I was on a cruise ship, which I acknowledge was my first mistake. I plead extenuating circumstances.) You are almost literally trapped amid the jewelry stores and t-shirt shops if you can’t find a bicycle or a bus and escape down the road to the next village.
3. Worst Train Ride An overnight train in India. There were swarms of cockroaches scaling the wall next to my head as I attempted to sleep. It took a decent amount of scotch guzzled from a flask before I could pretend they weren’t there.
4. Worst Toilet Leaving aside the countless spider-infested outhouses all over the globe, I’d have to go with Moscow’s Leningradsky Railway Terminal. There were plumbing tools scattered in the sinks because the guy’d given up on fixing the leaks. The squat toilets were freckled with horrifying human matter of every variety. Adding insult to repulsion: They charge a fee to use these!
5. Worst Hotel I understand the utility of Tokyo’s capsule hotels. But staying the night in one was a miserably claustrophobic experience. Also, I’m fairly certain the dude in the pod across the way was masturbating.