In terms of holiday, as opposed to being stuck on the train during your commute to work.
Reminded by the recent death of Mohamed Morsi, I’m gonna have to say my 2 week Egyptian trip back in 2012.
To put it into context, it was a year after the Islamic revolution that overthrew the military dictator Hosni Mubarak, leading to democratic elections that brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power. Having always wanted to go to Egypt - Pyramids at Giza, Valley of the Kings/Queens, temples at Aswan etc - I thought it would also be interesting to go during the revolution, just to see what was happening. No security whatsoever, that’s what was happening. The military pulled all of their support, creating a security vacuum which precipitated the fall of Morsi in 2013 through a military coup.
So, that was the backdrop. Started off with a baggage handler strike, resulting in me waiting 6 hours to get my bag at Cairo airport. Cairo itself is one of the most polluted cities on earth and it feels like the entire population of Africa lives there - easily the worst city I have ever been to. Additionally, as it was during the revolution there were no other white westerners so I was fair game for being constantly hassled in the street for money, whether that being asked for money if I asked for directions, or being sold something I didn’t want. It’s also the most anti-Semitic country I’ve ever seen to - 3 lost wars with Israel in the last 70 years doesn’t exactly help - with literature being openly sold in the streets that wouldn’t look out of place in 1930s Nazi Germany and ubiquitous swastika plastered on walls.
So yeah, constant hassle, feeling under threat, the intense heat exacerbated by frequent rolling blackouts killing the A/C…the list is endless.
Glad I went as I was the only person at Giza, Luxor is amazing and the temples at Aswan are awe-inspiring, but I would never go back. It was hellish at times.
So what’s your worst travel experience?