Pam Mandel’s World Worsts
Name Pam Mandel
Who? She started blogging as an expat in Austria over 10 years ago has since had her work featured by Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, MSNBC, and USA Today. She was the contributing editor for travel at Blogher for five years and blogged about Hawaii for World Hum. She’s written guidebooks for Thomas Cook, radio stories for WGBH Boston (NPR), and travel stories for World Hum, Perceptive Travel, Scanorama, International Living, and more. Find her entertaining and insightful travel musings on the web at Nerd’s Eye View.
Countries Visited 28
1. Worst Airport The international terminal at LAX. After being yelled at and herded by airport security, I proceeded to spend a horrible week there one evening while waiting for a delayed flight.The only food available was from a rattling nearby vending machine. All the restaurants were before the shouting TSA staff – going hungry was more appealing than facing the guards again.
2. Worst Hotel Thuan Loi Hotel (Chau Doc, Vietnam) in a border town on the Mekong. Dirty nylon sheets, mosquito nets punched full of holes, windowless cell-like rooms, and a perpetually damp bathroom floor. To exit the room, I had to climb over a spiderweb of daisy chained extension chords. That bedbug ridden guest house in Kargil, India, seemed positively cozy by comparison.
3. Worst City for Driving Pisa, Italy. I’ve had to transit Pisa four or five times and each time, I’ve exited the city and gone back in, exited and gone back in because I cannot find the correct way out. The last time, I seriously considered abandoning the car and looking for a job.
4. Worst Car Rental Experience Honolulu, Hawaii. “I tried to return the car downtown last night, but the building next door to the return lot was on fire.” I will not soon forget the look on the airport rental car agent’s face.
5. Worst Toilet Some forgotten village, Bahawalpur Province, Pakistan. It wasn’t so much a toilet as it was two vertical stacks of bricks over a pile of… yeesh. Every morning, a child-servant would come with a bucket and a spade to remove all the waste from the previous day.