A Visitor’s Guide to Hell

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14)

James Tissot (1836–1902), “The Bad Rich Man in Hell”
James Tissot (1836–1902), “The Bad Rich Man in Hell” (photo: Public Domain)

A firsthand account forwarded to this writer by Ignoor Ramos, Register Travel Correspondent

First the plus side: it’s so easy to get to. 

That is the first thing you notice upon arrival in Hell. Not surprising really, given how accessible it is from almost anywhere, due to the magnificent wide roads leading here. In fact, it could be said, bar one narrow and little-used path, all known roads lead straight here. 

Okay, so easy to find, but the arrivals section! I mean, the Customs at Hell’s borders really could do with an overhaul. There are no signs welcoming you. I found the staff at the entry points unfriendly — due, no doubt, to the fact that they are clearly overworked, and no doubt underpaid. 

The next thing one notices about this place is just how popular a destination it remains for so many different kinds of people. Forget all that urban myth stuff about Hell not existing. It really does. In fact, it is almost certain you will find someone you know here. More’s the pity, as while on vacation I am sure I am not alone in wanting to get right away from familiar faces and things. But for all the company here, there is a peculiar type of aloneness. Curiously, no one seems interested in his or her fellow visitors. So, surprisingly, it is far from relaxing. Well, as they say: “No rest for the wicked holidaymaker!” 

There are, I’m told, a number of reserved places, presumably in much quieter spots, for those who took out membership of Hell long before their arrival in it. 

As always, it pays to think in advance. 

Having just turned up, though — and maybe it’s just me, but there appeared to be a number of things at this destination that just don’t work for the visitor. For a start, there is the climate. There appear to be two possibilities: very hot or very cold. Both are unbearable, in my opinion. I did ask someone, one of the innumerable attendants, about this. I was told that the different hot and cold temperatures were needed to ensure agreed contractual arrangements for those arriving. 

Then there is the noise. It’s like Bedlam, except worse. I mean, I’m all for having a “wail of a time” when on vacation, but here the noise never stops. If I didn’t know better, I would think it sounds less like a party and more like glass being fed into a food blender. Again, I asked one of the attendants about this, and I was told it was all part of the experience. Not requested, but necessary. Odd? 

The noise is one thing, but my fellow tourists are another. I have to report that I fear some form of improper drug use in this resort. Why do I draw this conclusion? Well, I keep meeting people who are running amok, screaming their heads off, wide-eyed and crazy. They do not look well at all. I tried to ask, discreetly, what the matter was with one of these unfortunates. In his reply, I could only make out one word: “forever.” 

Of course, I immediately understood the problem. As a regular traveler, this is a normal reaction to spending too long in any resort. There comes a time when the call of hearth and home is appealing. I tried to reason with the man, but he seemed to become even more demented, especially so when I tried to reassure him that he would be home soon. 

Another complaint about Hell is that, for all the publicity, there is not that much to do. In fact, I found time weighing on my hands. And, looking around, it appeared I wasn’t the only one to feel this. There really should be more to do here. This place leaves too much time for introspection. Perhaps, it’s not surprising, then, that people take to running around screaming.

The other thing about Hell, and something I had read about, was how great a venue it is for celebrity spotting. And we’re not just talking a few jaded rock stars. Here I saw everyone from politicians to royalty, popes to bishops, movie stars to their producers. Yes, all of them were here — no doubt some had taken out the early booking option. The great and the good were just everywhere. So much so, that celebrity spotting all became a bit tedious. I mean how many former Members of Parliament can you nod to in a day? 

Again I blame the heating in this place. It’s obviously draining the lifeblood out of the visitors. 

My biggest moan, however, is reserved for the so-called “service care.” Having traveled in many lands and to many places, I have yet to encounter such a lack of concern on the part of those in charge of this popular destination. Now, I know they have a captive audience, I mean Hell is just too popular for its own good and looks like remaining so for a very long time to come. But still, a “please,” a “thank you,” or, indeed, an inquiry as to whether the temperature is okay, would not be too much to ask, surely? 

If I see one more lop-sided sneer I shall have to speak to the person in charge. I have his name written down somewhere, it begins with a D, or is it L, maybe a B. Anyway, I’m told at least he is a “gentleman,” and that he is always happy to see visitors. 

That’ll have to wait for the next trip, however, as I am booked to leave here shortly. 

The thing is that I have been waiting some time now for my connection out, but to no avail. And, wouldn’t you know it, no one seems to know anything about departures. 

Arrivals, yes: they can all tell you all about who is due and when, but departures… FORGET IT! 


(Editor’s note: To date this has been the last known posting from the Register’s Travel Correspondent, Ignoor Ramos.)

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