Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Maldives & Afghanistan, Tourist Destinations of Choice

So I read that the Maldives are the lowest-lying nation in the world. Climate-change experts are debating whether or not rising ocean levels will sink the Maldives under the sea, and the ruler of the Maldives has had a lot of ideas to save his country: building up sea walls to buying land from another country to relocate when it becomes unlivable. This proclamation that the Maldives will be gone in 100 years (or decades, or something) has been great for tourism, and I can see why!

I checked out couchsurfing.com and it looks like there are several young-ish males ready to welcome travellers into their homes for free! I've never tried using an internet site to facilitate my couch surfing, but my former roommate Willy says he allowed couch-surfing strangers to stay in our former apartment after I left, and that they were cool and it all turned out fine. No stolen candlesticks, no harrassed roommates. So I'd give it a try, especially if it meant I could go to the Maldives for free.

I started feeling this tourist-dollars-friendly sense of urgency to travel when I saw an amazing book of photography at Powell's about Afghan refugees returning home to their destroyed country. There were photos of people standing in front of the giant Bamiyan Buddhas. They used to look like this:Now they look like this:(I got these pictures from Wikipedia). It's a spooky picture, and a terrible loss. I mean, the pictures of people standing in the rubble of thier homes is even more sad, but it makes you think. My immediate reaction is: I need to see these places before they disappear! But then, where is next? And how can you know? Surely the people on the coasts of the Indian Ocean in 2004 didn't suspect that they would be next.

I'm sorry. This is all getting rather dark. I meant just to put pretty pictures of the Maldives!

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