Forms of identification: David Lee
David Lee travelling in the Cocora Valley, Colombia. (GoBackpacking.com)
Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
1. Where would you rather be right now?
Rio de Janeiro. Everyone I talk to about Brazil says it’s amazing.
2. Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you’d most like to go on a trip with:
Indiana Jones. His travels are pure adventure, and we share a common fear of snakes.
3. Tourist must-see you think is actually a “must skip”:
The Louvre in Paris. It’s so overwhelmingly big, if you try to see it all, you’ll wear yourself out. During my visit, a swarm of tourists enveloped the Mona Lisa, and I didn’t have the patience to get within 5m of it. I prefer the Musee d’Orsay, which is housed in an old railway station and focused on Impressionism.
4. Strangest meal abroad:
On my trip around the world, I had readers dare me to do weird things. When I headed for South Africa, one reader dared me $20 to eat Skop, or sheep’s head. I learned it was an inexpensive, and popular food in the townships, and upon my tour of Soweto, I had the guide stop and pick us up a head (literally) for a few dollars. I tasted the brain and tongue, but passed on the eyeball.
5. If someone was visiting your town, what’s the one thing you’d show them?
In Medellin, I always suggest people visit Botero Plaza in the city centre. Fernando Botero, known for his unique style of painting and sculpting fat people, is Colombia’s most famous artist. He’s originally from Medellin and therefore donated a large number of sculptures to the city.
6. Most unusual item you have travelled with:
On a trek to see the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda, I used a wooden walking stick with an engraved mountain gorilla. I had to check it as baggage and was beyond surprised (and pleased) to see that it actually arrived in Washington, DC, along with my backpack.
7. Coolest mode of transport you’ve taken:
The Shinkansen, or bullet train, in Japan is by far the coolest transportation I’ve ever ridden. They look futuristic, plus they’re incredibly fast, quiet, safe and comfortable. Travelling Japan’s rail system spoiled me.
8. The place you don’t want anyone to know about but are willing to divulge here:
Thong Nai Pan Noi, a small, quiet beach on the northern edge of Koh Phangan, Thailand. It’s the perfect place to recover from the island’s infamous Full Moon Parties.