Lonely Plan-Not’s Places to Ignore 2017
Every year, Lonely Planet releases a list of places that we just gotta see, and every year, we’re left depressed at just how out of our reach they are. It’s like the LP brains trust sit there in their Gore Tex™ tower plotting new and devious ways to stretch our fernweh, because wanderlust is so passé, to unobtainable lengths, relentlessly pushing our daydreaming to the farthest-flung mosquito-stung corners of the big, blue rock. It’s like they’re trying to crush our intrepidity by inspiring us to aspire to unrealistic goals; once we fail to reach Shangrila often enough, we’ll give up on trying, allowing the Lonely Planeteers to arrive on their gilded zeppelin and enjoy their paradises unmolested by us cattle-class plebeians.
Perusing this year’s list, we’re filled with the same sense of hopelessness, as the editors taunt our inability to be the globetrotting yak jockeys they seem to be. The 2017 edition again features destinations that are a hop, skip, beg, borrow, plead, plane, train, automobile and ferry ride away from being a reasonable addition to your fuck-it list. Well you know what, Lonely Plan-not (zing), this year we don’t wanna visit the places on your list. We resigned to our fate and we’ll stick to reasonable deviations from the well-worn paths, because, quite frankly, we feel like your recommendations stink.
- Choquequirao, Peru
Sounds too much like the mythical goat-sucking dog beast that supposedly terrorises superstitious South Americans for our liking. No we won’t be spending our pesos on a dalliance with that foul bestia, no no no señors.
- Taranaki, New Zealand
It’s a long way to the land of the long white cloud just to have a Japanese chef flick squid into our mouths. We do like our Asian cuisine with a side of showmanship and danger, but not enough to hop the Tasman/fly to the other side of the world for it. In any case, the whole of New Zealand is like regional Australia in the 1970s, so we doubt the Taranaki there is all that good, anyway.
- The Azores, Portugal
A sight for Azore eyes? Now we don’t want to be Azore losers, and this Atlantic-girt archipelago is bountiful in nature and laden with all the great Portuguese treats (tarts, rosé wine, clams), but a friend of ours went there for his honeymoon and apparently was roped into a series of high-stakes, cigarette-and-coffee fuelled, dominos battles. Honeymoon level: widower.
- North Wales, UK
Part of Lonely Planet’s reasoning for visiting North Wales is because it boasts an amazing zip line, which is an obvious oxymoron. Do the editors at Lonely Planet not watch South Park? Shaka brah. Also Gogledd Cymru, which is Welsh for “I Googled ‘North Wales’ and now the jokes on me”, boasts a mechanical surf park, which is totally radical and gnarly if you’re allergic to the ocean.
- South Australia
Home to Snowtown, apparently lots of churches, and a population who, regardless of their socioeconomic situation, pronounce any word ending in –ance like the Queen Mother. Seriously, when you hear a beer-and-gravy stained bogan deriding people for the way they dahnce or the tightness of their pahnts you’ll question your choice to make the trip to a city that needs to call itself “Radelaide”.
- Aysén, Chile
Lonely Planet describe Chile’s Aysén Region as being “Patagonia’s last frontier” with “foggy fjords (that) give way to brooding rainforests, bone-dry pampas and powder- blue lagoons.” Sounds nice, huh? Well they also say that the region has a “booming craft beer scene”, which means that the goddamn hipsters have beat us all to it. We can’t think of anything worse than sipping an over-priced average beer, listening to some perfectly groomed axe-allergic lumberjack telling us about how much more marvellous these natural wonders used to be.
- The Tuamotus, French Polynesia
On a recent surf trip to Tahiti, French Polynesia, the locals schooled us on French Polynesian stereotypes. Apparently in the Marquesas Islands, the womenfolk are ravenously amorous and not backwards about being forwards (the archipelago housed notorious teen-lover, Paul Gaugin, until the end of his creeping career), and in the Tuamotu chain the women are physically much bigger than the menfolk and take on the role as the dominant gender, including in the boudoir. We don’t know if this is true or not, but it sounds awesome and Lonely Planet really should have mentioned it if they want us to pay the eight-million French Polynesian Francs it would take to get there from anywhere.
- Coastal Georgia, USA
We’d really have nothing against Coastal Georgia, if Coastal Georgia wasn’t attached to the United States of Uncertainty. We’re not saying that we know that Donald Trump will mean civil unrest and widespread disaster for this disaster and unrest prone country, we’re just saying that we might stay away between 2017-2020 and see to which level of Hades the baby-mouthed Oompa Loompa king sends the drama-prone superpower to.
- Perak, Malaysia
If “Perak” fires up your fake-name alarm, you’re not alone. Considering the creative writers at LP followed it up with “Ipoh”, “Kong Heng Block”, and “Pangkor Island”, you’d be right in screaming bullshit. And as if that wasn’t being frivolous enough with our gullibility, check out this gobbledegook, “Here, cheerful joints like Roquette Cafe, Burps & Giggles and Bits & Bobs pull a vibrant crowd to shop, dawdle and slurp ais kepal (ice balls)”. Ooh, look at me! I’m Lonely Planet! We’re the Magical Publishers from Happy-Land, in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane!
- The Skellig Ring, Ireland
Baileys and Guinness for breakfast? Steak and Guinness pie and Guinness for lunch? Guinness and potatoes for dinner? You’ll have the Skellig Ring too, to be sure, to be sure.
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Ex-editor of Australia’s Surfing Life, current producer and host of 50 Fiestas, Barcelona resident and drinker of all the wine, every last drop of it.