Monday, 8 February 2010

We need more Travel Advisory Warnings

Let's have a look, for a moment, at three countries it's not worth visiting because they shouldn't be encouraged, or it's not worth the risk.

Let's start with the United States of America.

This country has produced some of the most fantastic human achievements of modern times, it has produced great artists in all media, it has generated or contributed to some of the most fundamental aspects of modern life.

But as a country, it is paranoid, egotistical, suspicious, arrogant, and psychotically dangerous. And selfish, my god! What sort of society objects to universal health cover? What sort of society is shown the sums, proving that every other country in the world has better outcomes for less expenditure, and then equates "socialised medicine" with "National Socialist Party" and starts referring to a black man as Hitler? This is the country that gave us Godwin's Law, and they still can't see the irony.

The only way to go anywhere near its borders is with the largest travel insurance policy you can afford, and even then I'd prefer to be in Canada.

Personally, although some very admirable people live there, and it has some great sights, I'd prefer not to encourage them.

Next up, we have Indonesia, which is standing in, by proxy, for far too much of South East Asia. Pretty, I'll grant you. Fantastic history and traditional culture completely unrelated to our own, yes. But the more you hear stories about their justice system and the way in which people have (allegedly, mind) been told "They made a mistake, but they're not going to admit it because they don't want to lose face", the more I don't want anything to do with the place.

Oh yes, and this was the country that invaded East Timor because if they didn't, their bit of Papua New Guinea might start thinking that freedom, self-determination and self-government might actually be possible and, you know, rights or something.

On the other hand, I do want to ride a motorbike through somewhere like Vietnam, eating at roadside stalls and cafes.

Next, Saudi Arabia and most of the rest of the Arab world.

This is for one very simple reason: I may be participating in their continued existence by using fossil fuels, however remotely, but I will not help encourage their society and their treatment of women, and ethnic and other social minorities, by actually giving them any money directly. I will make an exception for their airlines, but only because I already have.

I won't bother mentioning countries that have ongoing civil wars, or even South Africa, with its crumbling infrastructure, medicine-denying government, slum violence and rampant car-thieves.

They're obvious, and people shouldn't need reminding.

The same goes for the interesting bits of South America.

Nonetheless, I still think that the Government needs to issue more travel advisory warnings.


Shenandoah bed and breakfast said...

This is a good post regarding travel. Canada is a better and peaceful place to visit and stay it has an excellent weather and environment. The people are really much courteous, civilized and hospitable.

Lab Rat said...

Added to which you wouldn't be allowed in Saudi Arabia anyway without a visa, which it's hard to get unless you have a specific reason for being in the country.

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