Name Tony Wheeler
Countries Visited I’m at 141 (just in transit at an airport does not count)
Who? Founder of Lonely Planet publications, writer, unreformed traveler
1. Worst Pizza Many contenders but the pub in Nimbin, northern New South Wales, Australia wins. How could the Australian centre for dope smoking, hippy free living produce something so bloody awful?
2. Worst Toilet Darchen in Tibet, Australians talk of ‘long drop’ outhouses. This was the opposite, a vertical mountain of shit, a long climb to the top.
3. Worst First World Airport Terrible third world airports are no great achievement, LAX and Charles de Gaulle compete for the titles of worst in the first world.
4. Worst Visa Queue India gives you the longest line but for sheer tedious slowness followed by absurd, Kafkaesque, mind bogglingly stupid bureaucracy when you get to the front, the Russians are the clear winners.
5. Worst Drivers The Saudis. Missing guardrails or paint scrapes on the rockface at every corner prove, yet again, that warp speed is fine for the straights but you still have to slow down for the corners.
6. Worst Traffic Jams Bangkok passed the baton on to Manila, but despite competition from Dubai the place that is way out in front – i.e. completely stationary – is Shanghai.
7. Worst Connectivity Why is high tech Japan the only place in the first world where my mobile phone doesn’t roam and my ATM card can’t pull money out of the machine?
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UPDATE: The pub that made Tony’s list for worst pizza is now a bistro under new management and would like everyone to know that they no longer have pizza on the menu.
Name Pauline Frommer
Who? Creator of the Pauline Frommer Guidebooks and Co-Host The Travel Show, a nationally syndicated radio show. Pauline appears weekly on CNN.com to discuss the latest travel trends and pens a column for MSN.com. Her guidebook Pauline Frommer’s New York City was just named Best Guidebook of the Year by the North American Travel Journalists Association.
Countries Visited I don’t know. I visited too many before the age of 10 to be able to know how to count ‘em up.
Quick: what do you call a transatlantic flight from Amsterdam to Newark with a backed up toilet spilling human excrement down the aisle for seven hours? Continental Airlines called it “poor conditions.” Probably not the words passenger Collin Brock would have used. He felt “physically abused and neglected,” he told Seattle’s KING-TV in his home state. The flight was diverted to Shannon, Ireland to fix the problem. But after the extra stop and delay, the sewage flooding developed again when the plane took off. The reported culprit was a latex glove someone had tried to flush down the loo. Continental apologized to its customers and issued vouchers.
Name John Flinn
Who? Former executive travel editor, San Francisco Chronicle
Countries Visited 37
1. Worst Wine Chateau Gue, a Zimbabwean Chenin Blanc
2. Worst Toilet Deep-freeze outhouse at old Pruitt Hut, Russia’s Mount Elbrus
3. Worst Local Delicacy Hakarl, Iceland’s putrid shark taste treat
4. Worst Pizza Canned spaghetti on toast, New Zealand, 1982
5. Worst Timeshare Hustlers Cabo San Lucas
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