Politically incorrect places I will no longer visit

In my 40-plus years of full-time travel writing I have been almost everywhere. There are places I have enjoyed to one degree or another, but won’t be revisiting because I don’t like what they’ve become.

Top of the list: China. The cities are polluted, the politics suck, and Chinese food is much better in Hong Kong or even in Orange County than on the mainland. Plus I don’t like the way China hacks the U.S. and steals intellectual property (yes, I realize that the West has screwed China for centuries (viz. the Opium Wars etc.) but two wrongs don’t make a right. Been there, won’t be doing that again.

Then there’s Turkey. I will not be supporting Erdogan’s faltering economy any longer. He’s a madman.

Same with the Philippines until Duterte is gone.

Ditto Russia. Screw you, Putin.

I’m no longer a huge fan of the Caribbean, other than St. Barts. It has nothing to do with Zika. Surly and slow service on too many (OK, not all) islands, disgustingly homophobic social mores.

Let’s add Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar to the list. The air is full of oil refinery pollution, the weather unbearable except maybe in late December through mid February, the politics ghastly, the way they treat guest workers building their soaring towers inhumane. Also, there’s no there there anyway. Even if I were given a first class ticket to Dubai I’d have to decline.

I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia, but no thanks to that, too.

Malaysia? Never again. Another incredibly corrupt country.

There are other countries I could add to this list, but this is plenty for now.

Conversely, there are places I will happily revisit time and time again. England (it’s only March and I’ve already visited twice so far this year), France, almost anywhere else in Europe, Canada, almost anywhere in the US (especially Hawaii), New Zealand, much but not all of South America, most of the South Pacific. Life is too short at this point not to just revisit the greatest hits.

But why should I spend my time and fortune in countries with terrible environmental and political policies?

I’m sure there’s something to be said for cultural exchanges even with the worst countries and all that, but I have a responsibility to avoid traveling to the countries with the worst political and ecological environments.

Where won’t you go, dear readers?

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