About Me

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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bad Lands by Tony Wheeler - A book review

Bad Lands: A tourist on the Axis of Evil.

About a year ago I read this book and really enjoyed it. Tony Wheeler discusses his travels through some of the countries known as "the axis of evil." Afghanistan, Albania, Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia. I'll admit there weren't too many surprises for me when I read the book since I had heard an interview with Tony Wheeler before reading the book. But still I was surprised that he wasn't too impressed with Cuba, seemed to love Iran, and I'm not sure if he was as unimpressed as I was with Saudi Arabia.

What I liked about the book was that it wasn't too heavy. A book about these countries you might expect to be heavy with drama and politics, but it was really about the experience of being there. It's an unconventional look at these countries, nothing you'll see on your network news.

So, what was wrong with Cuba? The fact that a tourist could buy anything they wanted, but a Cuban can't. He didn't like the double standard that was imposed by the government. The good about Iran - the people, they're very warm and hospitable. Iranian's are nothing like you would think based on what you see in the news, but the do have a dramatically different public life then their private life. What's up with Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United States? I can't visit until I'm married or an old maid (a 45 year old single female for the Saudi's.) Well I could go, except that I don't think my father would go with me and he was my only other in. After reading this book I was more interested in visiting North Korea then Saudi Arabia, maybe I wouldn't be allowed to take pictures at leisure, but at least I was welcome to go out in public.