Thursday, October 14, 2021

Lonely Planet Afghanistan

Tour operators can make almost anything seem appealing. You read the daily papers about the rise of fascism and fundamentalism, the spread of Coronavirus in Third World countries where vaccines are not available (and the spikes in places like Germany where vaccines are plentiful) and you feel the world is falling apart. Trump’s base and the 2024 elections alone hover in the distance like one of those devastating hurricanes close to making landfall. But then lo you see a brochure for the Bayou bike trip ending up in New Orleans, where there are likely to be plenty of rooms due to a recent evacuation and there’s the river boat trip up the Mississippi Delta where the Delta variant is stretching the limits of ICUs. Don’t miss Carnival in Rio if you’ve had more than one booster! Yes the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan but there are two sides to every story. Remember the $5 a day books published by Arthur Frommer back in the 60s. Kabul is probably one of the only places ih the world where you could live like an Imam for that kind of money. Imagine the copy from the brochure: “On every street in the quaint Old Town you find friendly Mujahideen dressed in native garb with Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders. They’ll inform you about whether alternate side of the street parking regulations are in effect and lead you to restaurants where ISIS-K suicide bombers dine on their breaks." Or here is one for Pyongyang: “The North Koreans are justifiably proud of their latest ballistic missiles even if they’re not yet armed with warheads…” Or here’s one for good old Washington DC on the anniversary of January 6. “Colorfully dressed Proud Boys carrying cans of bear spray and Oath Keepers in fatigues will greet you as you enter the National Mall along with Rudy Guiliani of Four Seasons Total Landscaping fame…” And don’t forget Belarus, the Uyghur regions of China and the Rohingya section of Myanmar where you don’t have to worry human rights.

Read "Rome Journal: The Screaming Pope" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" by Marvin Gaye

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