I have - through good fortune, dumb luck, and taxpayer generosity - been afforded the luxury of traveling to some pretty interesting spots around the globe. Losing one's way in a foreign place is one of my favorite things; after all, if you've never hopped the metro in the wrong direction then you're really just not trying. It's all part of the experience. On the other hand, there's very little upside to, say, consuming undercooked Moroccan sausage ten hours before taking a four-hour train ride from Marrakech to Casablanca in a car w/ no air conditioning and inoperable toilets in the middle of June and then hopping a flight to Madrid. I guess that was the upside... Madrid. And the ubiquitous European bidet. My point is this: oftentimes the worst situations make for the best stories.
So with that in mind, humor me some notes on two books that recently crossed my desk that piqued my curiosity as kind-of anti-travel guides:
Top of the list (which is to say I've actually read this one) is The Lunatic Express (by Carl Hoffman who, incidentally, lives in my old neighborhood