Only two and half weeks until we fly back to Vancouver to start our next adventure: settling down. After five months of travel I worked out that we have slept in 34 different cities, and seen even more. It’s almost impossible to say which was (or were) my favourite since almost all had something great going for them. Since there are so few, it’s much easier to say which were my least favourites. It’s not to say we didn’t enjoy our time in these places, since for the most part we did. This is simply a list of places I don’t really want to revisit, in order of travel.
Arusha, Tanzania: The big draw to go to Arusha is to quickly leave Arusha on safari or treks to Kilimanjaro or Meru. While we had good experiences there with a local who is a friend of Jamu’s uncle, the security issues push it onto the least favourite list. Walking two blocks back to our lodging was basically out of the question after dark, we took a cab two blocks, this is so foreign to me.
Las Vegas, USA: It’s Vegas, what can I say, you either love it or hate it. Our time there was really enjoyable due to great company and seeing good friends get married but I don’t ever need to re-visit the Las Vegas Strip.
Chetumal, Mexico: A border town with Belize, the only reason to spend the night is if you can’t make your bus connection. We ended up at a shopping centre and opted to see a movie.
Orange Walk, Belize: Our purpose here was to visit Lamanai, a Mayan site which was quite amazing. The other experiences left a lot to be desired. Aside from being dirty and run down, there was a general feeling of aggression and insecurity in the streets. While eating dinner in a small restaurant the power went out. Within seconds the cook ran out from the kitchen and rescued the one other customer’s bike from out front before slamming shut the exterior metal door, locking us safely inside to avoid a robbery of convenience. Events like this leave a lasting impression.
Armenia, Colombia: The only place we staying in Colombia that felt markedly unfriendly. Granted, we arrived at night in a storm and spent one night here on the way to Salento. We already knew that right downtown is generally not where one wants to stay in a Colombian city.
That means of the 34 places we’ve stayed, I would happily and readily revisit 29 of them, a pretty great ratio really. If I had to choose where to go back to first… I couldn’t. Instead I’ll list the cities that most surprised me by their awesomeness.
Mexico City, Mexico: Man, that city doesn’t get enough accolade. Yeah it’s big and there are literally millions of people, but outside the center, you don’t really feel the crush of it. There are many distinct and interesting neighbourhoods and enough tourist infrastructure to keep you busy for weeks. We spent only 2 days here and I would love to have at least a week next time.
Bogotá, Colombia: Colombia in general is still struggling to lose it’s reputation as a country reeling from drug wars and shoot outs in the streets. Medellín has probably been the most successful at rebranding itself, but Bogotá is quite amazing in its own right. Transport is a but of a nuissance but the people are friendly, the mix of architecture is outstanding and there is a life and style to it that was for me, unexpected. Again, we spent too little time here and I look forward to really discovering what it has to offer, maybe with a slightly larger budget that this time around 🙂