A 'Vice' Vacation Without Leaving Home


The folks from Vice magazine want to take you along on the trip of a lifetime, but be forewarned, it is not for a faint of heart.

How about a trip to the gunpowder-fueled black market in untamed Pakistan? If that does not suit your fancy, maybe a hunt for radioactive wild animals near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster would be more your style.

Don't be frightened (and leave your Fodor's and Frommer's at home). "The Vice Guide to Travel" is a video designed to take you to places you're probably too afraid to visit on your own.

Watch a report on "The Vice Guide to Travel" today on the "World News webcast," live at 3 p.m.

Less a travel guide than a window to the societies and cultures its makers visit, "The Vice Guide to Travel" offers a glimpse at seven of the most dangerous and mysterious places in the world.

So, if you're interested in meeting the PLO boy scouts of Beirut -- who, by the way, are not affiliated in any way with the Boy Scouts of America -- or searching for a lost dinosaur in the Republic of Congo, looking for a lost Aryan utopia in Paraguay, exploring the black market of nuclear warheads in Bulgaria, cavorting at a drug-lord-sponsored party in the dangerous favelas in Rio, this travel guide may be for you.

"It started with our friend [director] Spike Jonze saying to us, 'Well, you film all your articles,'" said Shane Smith of Vice magazine. "And we said, 'Yes, we do.'

Then Smith said "And we go back to our office and we're like, 'OK, how do we film all our articles?'"

The new project led the Vice team around the world -- including to what the video bills as "the biggest illegal arms market in the world," in Darra, Pakistan.

"The town is kind of like being in the Wild West," said Vice co-founder Suroosh Alvi, "because it falls into this semi-autonomous region where no government has control over it."

The place is next to impossible for any journalist to get into, much less explore. For that to happen, someone needs a guide from the area to show him or her around.

Lucky for the Vice crew, it had local Naeem Afridi, a former government official, and a hired militiaman. But the crew approached with caution.

"If anybody come to my side," Afridi says in the travel guide, pointing his machine gun at the camera, "I will definitely kill him."

At the market itself, the travel guide shows things like a man with no tongue, "making 9mm pistols with his bare hands" -- and also a "shooting area" to test an assault rifle on the roof of the place where the Vice team had lunched shortly before.

"Many sons and a lot of guns," rhymed Afridi. "That is the philosophy of the Darra people."

The Vice guide sheds light on the usually dark underbelly of the illegal arms market. Alvi, who serves as the narrator of the Pakistan installment, points out that the town alone has produced roughly 1,000 guns per day for more than 70 years.

"Each shop serves a different purpose," Alvi said. "One shop will just be making the barrel of a gun. Another … shop will just be making bullets. And it's just … row after row of shops. And together they make one large factory or several factories."

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