Top five hell holes | Grozny

… number 1 A fter years of swallowing metal in Stalingrad during WWII, it seems the Russians never forgot what non-stop bombing can do to a city and a people. They dusted off that lesson during both wars in Chechnya. But this time, they dropped the bombs… with...

Top five hell holes | Port au Prince

… number 2 From the air Haiti looks like a piece of scrunched-up brown paper thrown into a gloriously blue sea. On the ground the eye candy of contrasting colours turns rotten. Haiti is grim and the senses revolt. The brown colour is eroding hills, top soil...

Top five hell holes | Dhaka

… number 3 I have friends in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I lost my heart to the country and the delightful people who live there. Their joy, inventiveness and tenacity in the face of great poverty, regular disasters and the pending horrors of an environmental armageddon...

Top five hell holes | somewhere in Zambia

… number 4 S ome things you push out of your mind and, unfortunately, one of those that is gone is the name of hell hole #4. It’s a small village in Zambia, somewhere south of the capital Lusaka. It’s a dirt-poor agricultural community with a...

Top five hell holes | Latakia

… number 5 I t’s getting close to the end of the year, a traditional time for lists. My contribution to the rankings is my list of hell holes, places I’ve been that are simply lousy. Places that make me wonder why anyone stays put. As I continue to...