Robert Major was obsessed with the number of countries that he had visited. On the bus ride from Bonito to Iguazu Falls, we had gotten into a spirited, but light-hearted discussion about what countries “counted” and which countries didn’t. (Initially impressed by our total, he later expressed skepticism at some of our inclusions: “Hong Kong was British before 1997, and Chinese after 1997. It was always a colony of some other country, and shouldn’t count.”) In fact, Robert was in competition with a friend back home. In the next few days, he would be visiting two new countries. He was already planning to send text messages to taunt his friend as he added to his total:
I am going to let you in on one of the biggest scams in the travel industry. Not hidden commissions, or overbooked flights, or rigged taxi meters. I am talking about The Sunrise Scam. Today, in thousands of places around the world, dawn is breaking on freezing tourists who have been forced out of bed at unreasonable hours to watch the sunrise.