Evocative names, disappointing places

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In his new bookThe Tao of Travel (which we recently touted), Paul Theroux has a list of places with names that sound better in one's imagination than in real life.

Some of Theroux's examples and his descriptions:

Timbuktu: "dust, hideous hotels, unreliable transport, freeloaders, pestering people, garbage heaps everywhere, poisonous food."

Marseille: "just a short walk from the pretty harbour are sullen neighborhoods of public housing, tenements, refugees and bewildered immigrants, with no one saying, 'Bienvenue'."

Mandalay: "an enormous grid of dusty streets occupied by dispirited and oppressed Burmese, and policed by a military tyranny."

Personally, I found Bethlehem, Pa., and Mystic, Conn., to be disappointing, given the associations in my mind with those evocative names.

What about with you? Where are the places that turned out to be better in your imagination than in real life?


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