Valentine’s Day is the processed meat of “holy” days – fake, bland, and cheap. It’s a sellout. The sole purpose is to sell chocolate and greeting cards under the guise of romance. But forced romance, isn’t romance at all. If Saint Valentinus himself could see what his namesake holiday has become, he’d surely be disappointed, or at least demand a healthy percentage of the Hallmark and Sees Candy profits.
You can’t show your lover that you care with an act of uninspired gift-giving. Chocolate and overpriced greeting cards aren’t going to rekindle the spark in your failed relationship. This isn’t love, its faux-romance. The heart-shaped candies taste like sugary cardboard and the dozen red roses are so cliché that they’ve become almost meaningless.
I don’t’ want to sound like a begrudging single grumbler – I’ve got a lot of love in my life – But I’m not a fan of commercialized holidays. You’ll see a similarly Grinchly post from me around Christmas too.
So, for the lovelorn, loveless, and those of you fed up with the commercial co-opting of tradition and human emotion, I present to you, the World Travel Buzz list of The Worst Valentine’s Day Holiday Destinations!
Bogota, Colombia: Murder City
Imagine a quiet stroll past the charming buildings of the old downtown part of La Candelaria with your lover. You stroll past El Cathedral and the Colonial Art Museum, as the scent of empanadas wafts down the alleyways. And then, as you and your lover clasp hands and stare into eachothers eyes, you’re savagely attacked by an organized crime syndicate and held hostage as a political bargaining tool.
In all seriousness, Bogota does have a lot to offer as a tourism destination. Unfortunately, you’re chance of surviving a moonlit walk in the city are pretty grim. Bogota has been cited as one of the most dangerous cities in the world since the mid 90’s. Back in those days, nearly one out of a thousand people were intentionally murdered every year. I’m not sure if I’m more disturbed by the statistic itself, or by the fact that only the “intentional murders” were counted, and not those deemed “unintentional.” Yikes. The murder rate has subsided in recent years, but recent polls have shown that 72% of the people who live in Bogota have been victims of violent crime in 2010 and 2011. Organized crime in Bogota would give Mexican border towns a run for their pesos, as civilians are regularly kidnapped and held hostage.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: Love Stinks
Philadelphia is known as “The city of brotherly love,” and maybe that should have been the first clue that this historic American city will never be a destination for romantic love. Despite Phili’s distinguished history (it served as the Nation’s Capital while Washington DC was being constructed), it’s probably more famous for its grease-dripping, heart-attack-educing meal, the Phili Cheesesteak than anything else. In recent years, Philadelphia has been rated as America’s fattest city, the most polluted city, the ugliest city, and the worst-dressed city. And in July 2011, Philadelphia-based writer, Victor Fiorillo suggested that it might also be the worst-smelling city in America.
This Valentine’s day, take your lover to Philadelphia to sample the local cuisine at Jake’s Sandwich Board where the dripping, cheesy, grilled onions and meat are piled so high, you’re not sure if the bun or your arties will give out first. When you’re sufficiently bloated and gassy, take a stroll down nearby Sansom St where you’ll be pleasantly engulfed in the mingling scent of festering garbage in leaky dumpsters and piles of human feces, left by the local homeless and human and canine population. Breathe it in, friends – that’s the smell of romance.
Bonus: If you like to travel by smell, try The Labrea Tar Pits in the Wilshire-Fairfax area of Los Angeles. You and you’re beau can enjoy the pungent, tickling scent of bubbling tar, while admiring statues of drowning wooly mammoths, immortalized in the throes of impending death. Double Bonus: Walk a block down to the corner of Wilshire and 6th St, known locally as “the smelly corner” and soak up the powerful smell of what can only be described as a combination of rotting carcass and I-5 rest-stop bathroom, mysteriously emanating from the drainage grate. Buy dinner at the 99 Cents Only store to really score some points with your lady.
Your Local Pub: Stagnance, is the Spice of Divorce.
You know that your lady would love to be taken out for a nice dinner on Valentine’s Day, so why not surprise her with a hearty meal at your local pub. You’ve been there a hundred times together before, so you know she’ll be comfortable with the familiar selection of bacon burgers, well-done steaks and her favorite, the chef’s salad. Plus the place is well lit, the jukebox always has some rocking tunes, and the slot machines provide some lively background noise. Also, you know that Jim from work and Bob from down the street will also be bringing their lucky ladies down to the pub, so the gals will have a chance to gossip, and you’ll be able to have a pint with your buds after dinner and laugh at how silly you feel wearing a tie and a sport coat over your plaid flannel. But you tell your friends that you know how much she likes it when you get dressed up for her and you’d do anything for your lady on Valentine’s Day. Just wait until she sees the card you got her: “I choo-choo-choose you!”