Sunday, December 14, 2008

Places To Avoid Before You Die

Sarah and I have been discussing where we should take a trip next year and we've both decided that, since the economy is bound to continue to bite, we're going wherever we get the best deal. Airfare & hotel in a European rail hub for $250/person? Sign. Me. Up.

At the same time, I've got a friend wondering where she should use her frequent flyer miles to go. She's trying to base this on the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die book. At the same time, another friend of our and her husband are taking a trip to El Paso, TX to catch Pitt play in the Sun Bowl. They are extending their trip to spend quite a bit of time in New Mexico, which is awesome. This friend, however, mentioned they were going to take a day-trip to Mexican border town Ciudad Juarez.

Take it away Wikipedia: "Recent murders in the city have grown not only in numbers, but also in barbarity. A man recently was found near a school hanging from a fence with a pig's mask on his face, and another one was found beheaded hanging from a bridge in one of the busier streets of the city."

In fairness, the article also notes: "In 2008, Ciudad Juárez was designated as 'The City of the Future' by the prestigious magazine 'Foreign Direct Investment' published by the influential 'Financial Times group.'"

Point is, Juarez, despite some of its prosperity is the one place in Mexico I told my sister-in-law to avoid flat out when she spent a year in Mexico. Please understand that this means I was OK with her going near Zapatista-controlled areas but NOT with Juarez. My friend, a life-long Texan believes Juarez is best served as a place to get killed, and this man knows his filthy border towns.

Anyhow, it got me thinking, what are some other places to avoid? Here's my list of places that I will NEVER travel to, cheap airfares be damned!

  • Transnistria - Possibly the last place practicing full-on Soviet communism, this breakaway region of Moldova (not exactly a garden spot itself) is a bastion of organized crime. At last check, the US Embassy in Moldova wouldn't even permit Americans to spend the night in Transnistria.
  • Somalia - Again, Wikipedia: "Westerners and those working for western organisations continue to be targets of the violence."
  • Haiti - I love the U.S. Dept. of State's travel warnings and Haiti's is great example of why. It contains phrases like: "Americans are also reminded of ongoing security concerns in Haiti, including frequent kidnappings of Americans for ransom." And "The absence of an effective police force in many areas of Haiti means that, should protests reignite, there is potential for looting, the erection of intermittent roadblocks set by armed protesters or by the police, and an increased possibility of random crime, including kidnapping, carjacking, home invasion, armed robbery and assault."
Any other places (aside from the obvious like Iraq) I should avoid until I stop valuing my life?


Jen said...

I'd like to add to that list, Nogales Mexico. Matt and i were there for brief, surreal couple of hours one

Anonymous said...

Why isn't Jersey on your list? I mean, I've feared for my life there a hundred times at least...