Bottom Places

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I”ve shared my personal “top places” list. We all like to talk “best.” When we travel, we tend not to seek out “the worst.”

But what about “bottom places”? Uh, I knew you’d ask that. 😉

A “bottom” issue is one to be approached cautiously. We know there are “bottom” areas in any major city. The U.S. certainly doesn’t lack for them.

Outside of the U.S., if we say London is a great destination, we are likely not referring to certain neighborhoods in the north of the city, which are clearly not “tourist areas.” Similarly with Paris. Same Rome. The list could go on.

And there are many places I have never visited. And I hate criticizing. All that said, if I have to offer up a “bottom” major central city destination I have encountered traveling outside of the U.S., it was probably Johannesburg’s central business district.

Overlooking central Johannesburg in the 1970s, on the cover of an apartheid South African government “information” publication. [Book cover photographed by me, 2014.]
South Africa is a difficult case, of course, owing to its history. Yet, comparatively, Cape Town’s downtown was excellent. Even Pretoria’s was fine.

My experience in Johannesburg was also in the late 1990s, which is now, naturally, a relatively long time ago. Years fly by so quickly. To end on a positive note, I have read Jo’burg’s CBD is somewhat improved, and working hard to improve further since then.

One comment

  1. Bottom places, in no order.
    West Bank settlements.
    Soya plantations on the remains of Amazon rain forests.
    The “dead zone” in the Pacific Ocean.
    Anywhere that looks like an Edward Burtynski photograph.
    Chernobyl.

    But just because a place is a slum, or has poor people, no I won’t worry. Got lost in a dodgy Detroit precinct once, nice people helped direct our car back to the main road. Latinos with tattoos, angry black gentleman, ask them nice, they are nice.

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