Why on earth would someone pay hundreds of dollars to fly halfway across the country for the pleasure of being abducted by thugs, handcuffed in a basement for hours, and forced to pee into a Gatorade bottle? GQ made Drew Magary go find out. (Sorry, Drew)
When someone throws cold water on you, it makes you miserable for hours. I hadn’t thought about cold water before this. I had thought about guns and billy clubs and knives. It never occurred to me how desperately I would want to stay dry. Now I would have gladly taken another jolt from the stun gun in exchange for a fresh T-shirt.
“I know this was originally meant to be a fake kidnapping,” the voice said.
“And I know that you guys did your homework on me, and that you know I went to prison for a while.”
I do know that.
“But there are other things about me that you don’t know, Drew. And the reason you don’t know them is because you never asked.”
That was the moment it felt real. That was the moment I was paying for.
Pasta in Padova, not gondolas in Venice. Bullfights in Seville, not pickpockets in Barcelona. Boxing in East London, not Big Ben in the Queen’s London, and nine more ways to explore Europe without ever setting foot in a tourist trap.
GQ contributor and noted “scent critic” Chandler Burr follows his nose around the world, and he used it to put together this admittedly odd list: the most aromatic cities in the world. He also picked the most offensive-smelling city, which according to his nostrils is Paris. See below for his explanation. But if you’re more keen to discover which cities smell in a nice way—his picks include London, Mombasa, Bogata, and, uh, Dallas—click here.
Let’s just start off with the breath. The oral care standards of Parisians are utterly unlike any I’ve ever known. Thanks to their pack-or-more-a-day cigarette habits, every other person smells like smoke-cured human bacon. You smell coffee, but not the fresh stuff in the cup—the smell of it in someone’s mouth four hours later. Then there’s the repulsive odor that wafts from the RER train system. If Satan farted, it would be a little like this sulfurous cocktail of burning photocopies and fried electrical wires. Sure, the gourmand perfume of fresh croissants, butter, and baked flour spills onto the street. But take a few more steps and you’re smacked in the face by the equally fresh smell of dog shit. If you close your eyes, you discover the marketing of Paris—that whole “city of light” garbage that’s eagerly swallowed by tourists—is really nothing but a lie.