Falling Off the Map: Some Lonely Places of the World
by Pico Iyer
Using the same sympathy and eye for the absurd that characterized his "Video Night in Kathmandu", the traveller Pico Iyer describes countries ranging ... Show synopsis Using the same sympathy and eye for the absurd that characterized his "Video Night in Kathmandu", the traveller Pico Iyer describes countries ranging from Paraguay to Iceland, North Korea to Argentian, Cuba to Bhutan, and Vietnam to Australia - places which many people make a point of avoiding and which he calls "lonely places". In a tightly-sealed North Korea, he sees no tourists, yet notes that the Koreans are building the largest tourist hotel in the world, 105 storeys high. The Vietnamese, conversely, declared 1990 the "Year of the Tourist", yet chose the same year to tear down all their hotels for remodelling. In Cuba Iyer finds an effigy of Ronald Reagan in "Cretins' Corner" in the Museum of the Revolution and "shortages of everything except ironies", while in Paraguay, perhaps the loneliest place of all, where corruption is raised to the level of an art form, he notes: "Everyone has a price, and usually it was discounted".