10 CITIES TRAVELERS LOVE TO HATE
Every good traveler should have, and is entitled too, his or her own unique opinion about what makes a certain place good or bad, likable or repulsive, worthwhile or overrated. Opinions are fun. I like hearing them as much as I like giving my own.
Some of my own opinions are atypical:
- I have never enjoyed the Thai islands
- I have not left my heart in San Francisco, even after visiting hundreds of times
- I am not moved by high, jagged mountain ranges
- Nebraska has the best landscapes of any American state
- Chongqing, China- a polluted, hazy mess of a city- is spectacularly gorgeous and worth returning to again and again (I miss it as I type…)
- I have a hard time finding a good meal in Italy
Throughout the globe, when groups of travelers meet up to discuss travel, opinions and superlatives often come out (I hate…..I love…..I will never go back to……I want to go again…….). I enjoy these conversations.
When discussing “favorite / least favorite” cities, these unfortunate ten places listed below frequently turn up under “least”. Some I have been to and others I have not yet visited (but do wish to…).
America’s looked-over 4th-largest city. The place that sent men to the moon and is home to 23 Fortune 500 companies, it is still often derided for it’s McMansions, humidity and traffic, along with its lack of public transit, zoning, community, and so on. Houston, we have a problem.
Indians will complain that Delhi is power-hungry, corrupt and insular. Tourists complain that it is hot, dusty and full of scams. Either way, everyone seems to be complaining. I’ve never been here, but it’s on the list.
The future of Bucharest is looking up, fortunately. However, it still has years of Soviet-style apartment blocks and drabness to overcome. Thuggish taxi drivers, stray dogs and gray skies are a few of the frequent complaints. It seems to me that it isn’t really that Bucharest is so terrible, it’s just that, compared to other Eastern European capitals like Prague and Budapest, it just can’t compete (yet).
The Philippines tends to attract beach and nature lovers. Visitors come here for the diving and the white sand. City-lovers may want to stick to Vietnam or China. Nearly everyone who frequents The Philippines will tell you the same thing: get out of Manila as soon as you can. Personally, I have a lot of love for the city. It reminds me of New Orleans in many ways: the towering cumulonimbus clouds, the Spanish architectural influence, the heavy heat, the feeling of danger around each corner, the local people who are musical and spontaneous. I think that Manila has a lot to offer, despite its image to travelers.
Anyone from Toronto, or any foreign exchange student or those on a working visa in Canada’s largest city, will tell you that Toronto the best city in Canada, if not the world. Any other Canadian will tell you they hate it and resent the people within it.
Though it ranks high up, or at the top, of many international lists for most livable places, I’ve seen countless eye-rolling at the mention of its name, nearly all from Canadians themselves.
Just ask any Japanese tourist who came down with Paris Syndrome. Paris comes with high, cinematic expectations.
Frequent complaints include the hurried pace of the locals, the cost of things, dog shit, cigarette smoke and a third-rate airport. There may be no city in the world more highly regarded, yet so often derided.
Noel Gallagher said it best when asked what he thought of Sydney rock band The Vines:
“I don’t like The Vines…what have they got to be pissed off about? They live in Sydney, the most beautiful city in the word.”
That’s how many around the world and within Australia seem to view Sydney. Sydney is an nearly perfect city. To hell with it.
I’ve never been to Sydney, but from what I’ve seen, it is relentlessly sunny, pleasant, watery, clean and spotless. Yet, somehow I rarely hear a good word about it. Like Canadians with Toronto, Australians seem to love to hate Sydney. Perhaps it has to do with how sunny, pleasant, water, clean and spotless it is. I do hope to find out soon.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
Here’s one I agree with. Every year I find myself in Kuala Lumpur for some reason. I’m always relieved to get out. Malaysia has so much else to offer.
A beer in a bar here will cost as much as a night in a hostel. Fuck that. If you don’t hate it, I’ll do it for ya.
I remember Brussels being the one European capital that kind of gave me the creeps. It’s that tragedy of high expectations that causes so many to hate Brussels. Images of its spectacular square and its status as “capital” of the EU lead to assumptions that it is a highlight of Europe. Every other major or mid-sized city in Belgium is more enjoyable and pleasant- especially Antwerp, one of my favorite in Europe.
LOS ANGELES, USA
Surely, you knew this was coming.
In hostel dorm rooms, hotel lobbies, bars, board rooms, airplanes and virtually anywhere else travelers congregate, Los Angeles will bring out nothing but moans from foreign and domestic travelers.
Los Angeles, like Brussels and Paris, often suffers from unreachable expectations. LA is the center of the glamorous film industry. It is located on the sparkling Pacific coast. It is a city of dreams that has changed the world in 100 years. It is also polluted, traffic jammed, fragmented, and laid out like a hairball.