Over My Dead Body

I’m assuming the only reason London or the Scottish Highlands aren’t in this list of 50 Places To See Before You Die is that it’s a BBC site, so the voting emphasis is on places out of the UK.

Out of the 50, I’ve seen:
2. Great Barrier Reef
8. Sydney
18. Venice
27. Paris
35. Rome
37. Barcelona
39. Singapore (duh)

But all I can say is that the people who voted on this quiz seem to have different travel sensibilities from me. For one thing, call me a party-pooper, but I could so easily go the rest of my life without setting foot into Florida or Las Vegas.

I’m pretty astounded not a single place in Turkey made it onto this list – Istanbul? Cappadocia? Ephesus? And people would rather go to Florida than Jerusalem, which doesn’t even make the list? (Granted, you might die before you have time to see much of Jerusalem, but it’s an amazing place nonetheless.) In Europe I’d also rate Berlin more highly than Paris, Rome or Barcelona, but maybe that’s just me. (Russ? Views?) And I like Melbourne more than Sydney, but yet again, it’s not even on the list.

Lastly, I applaud the noble efforts of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, really I do, but who in their right mind would actually put Singapore as one of the 50 places you should see before you die??? More worth seeing than Bangkok? Marrakesh? Dubrovnik? St Petersburg? Don’t get me wrong, I think my country’s quite a fascinating place, and it’s certainly more interesting than the backpacker travel guides and Western media would have you believe, but one of the top 50 places to see before you die? Come on.


  1. Yeah, the first thing that popped out at me on that list was Florida too. Fucking Florida?! The place is a festering hellhole, with a thin glaze of corporatized cheer to disguise it and lure in the unsuspecting. People would rather go to Florida than NYC or San Francisco? I can hardly fathom that. No wonder people think badly of America, if that’s where they’re coming to visit. (Not that there aren’t abundant other reasons to do so right now.)

    also, hi again! hope you are adjusting well to being back in Singapore and not missing London too terribly.

  2. Jared! Somewhere in my drafts box there is a half-written email to you that I must go dig out and complete. As soon as I finish failing my exams, I promise. :)

    Everyone, please go to suspensionofdisbelief.org if you’re getting rather tired of the relentless parade of frivolity that is syntaxfree these days. He hasn’t updated recently, but there’s still a huge backlog of great reading/writing there.

    And for what it’s worth, Jared, although I’ve met Americans in the past that really tempted me to think badly of America (more precisely, blind patriotism American-style), you were probably one of the best ambassadors for your country I’ve ever met.

  3. I haven’t been to Dubai. OK fair fucks to the guys for building golf courses in the middle of the desert. You see, a man spends his days passing time in a thankless, frustrating white collar job, thinking all the time “well, at least I’m not home with the wife and kids”.

    And then along comes the weekend and the darkness draws in. But thanks to the Scottish, men no longer fear the weekend. We have golf! An ingenious excuse for spending 6 hours away from home. God bless the Scottish!

    But getting back to my point, yes, I’m impressed with how nouveau riche arabs have overcome mother nature and liberated themselves from Saturdays in small tents with camels and their multitude of, nagging wives.

    But I don’t feel any urgency to go and see it.

    I’ve been to the Matterhorn and its not that great. A mountain’s a mountain when all said and done. If you want the whole Sound of Music thing go to Austria. But if you’re looking for some good skiing then the the Matterhorn’s your only man.They’ve got that lift from James Bond – maybe that’s what people were thinking about.

  4. Completely agree about Turkey… it definitely needs to be up there. Istanbal – Blue Mosque, Dolmabacie Palace, Cruise along the Bosphorus!

    On that list I have seen:

    The Grand Canyon



    New York

    Taj Mahal (the great monument to Mumtaz Mahal)


    Niagara Falls

    The Pyramids

    Hong Kong


    Himalayas (Nepal and India)




    San Francisco


    I think though I had to pick three places on that list I am dying to see (in order)… Machu Picchu, Great Wall of China and Angel Falls. Then, and only then, would I remotely consider a coffin burial or cremation!

  5. Oooohh… forgot Abu Simbel.

    I have heard from many travellers that Prague is the best city in Europe to visit with regards to architect, etc. So I am very surprised that did not make it on the list.

    I’d disagree with you Michelle (back to the old days)… Sydney as a city, with the Opera House and Harbour, is more picturesque than Melbourne. In terms of a city to live in though, it is Melbourne.

    I agree with you on Las Vegas… ridiculous putting it down. But Florida is another matter… I think they put it down for those who enjoy the beach. Besides, DisneyWorld was fantastic! I got hugs from Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck (definitely my all time favourite cartoon character) and you really can’t beat that. But yes, Jerusalem over Florida is what I hear… never had the pleasure of going to Jerusalem, but I hear a lot about it.



  6. ermmm….is it so important to visit all these places before you die? so what if you have step on the soil ,touch the building , statues, taste the food. i say it’s the process and company of visiting them more treasurable than any of the world heritage sites. the sites are visited by millions and generations of people. nothing more siginificant of its own than yours, unless you deem yours insignificant.

    a miserable man is never happy even in the most beautiful places.

  7. What ridiculous philosophical trite!

    On that basis, given the choice between coffee down the streets with your friends, or jumping on a plane to see The Pyramids on your own, you’d pick coffee down the street.

    You’ve assumed you can’t make friends on your travels! And besides, how could one be miserable seeing something spectacular?!

    I continually have my breath blown away when I travel to Northern India to see the Himalayas… whether it is waking up in the morning to them without the sound of sight of another human within a 1km radius, or hiking with friends. It catches me offguard and is a new experience – each as great as the other – each and every time.

  8. Mark: “I’d disagree with you Michelle (back to the old days)…”

    Well, I have to concede that given the impressive number of places you’ve seen on that list (geez, the more interesting question is how many you’ve seen that AREN’T on that list??!) and the fact that I would never disagree with an Aussie who’s much bigger than me (there’s a great picture of us from one of the Foundation Dinners, BTW, it looks like you’re fucking me from behind) on the subject of Sydney vs Melbourne. The point you make there about them is spot on anyway. (Unlike many of those you made in the old days… :P )

  9. In response to Alec: Note to self. Do not, repeat not, engage Alec in conversation about Dubai if bringing him to Arab Street on his visit to Singapore.

    ahtan: I don’t quite agree. Although my ideal situation is visiting a great place with great friends who are also compatible with me as travel companions (not necessarily always the case!), I don’t need that to have a meaningful travel experience.

    Alone is fine. With compatible companions, even if we’re not close friends, also fine. With close friends, provided whatever incompatibilities there may be are not too extreme, also fine.

    I bloody love travelling!

  10. Entering this one rather late in the game, but, hey-ho, here’s my two pence.

    I haven’t been to Florida, and I’ve never really felt any inclination to go. I’ve been to Las Vegas, but my parents forced me to go against my protestations. Why would anyone want to go to Las Vegas before they die?(!)

    I’d definitely rate Berlin higher than Paris, but I think, for me, Barcelona would closely follow Berlin. However, when all the construction work in Berlin is done it’ll shoot up my chart.

    Slightly digressing here — I’m actually less keen on travelling abroad than I used to be due to the fact that travelling by plane is one of the most environmentally unfriendly methods of travelling. Whenever I travel by plane I now dedicate a tree (http://www.futureforests.com/) to offset the damage I indirectly cause. I also try to persuade my family and friends to do so as well. After all, after spending hundreds of pounds on a plane ticket, what’s another

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