Monday, February 15, 2010

Jolly holidays

I like travel. It can be enormous fun and a lot of people make their living out of it. Yet there are times it makes me uneasy, especially in out of the way places where there is a narrow dividing line between economic benefit and exploitation. And then there is the question of travel to countries with oppressive regimes. Not only does it bolster the regime and normalise it in the eyes of the world, but there is something nauseous about having fun in the location of someone else's misery.

Every Sunday the British papers like to fulfil our fantasies about finding Arcadia in a nicely packaged brochure with their travel supplements. They have a tendency to see the world as the plaything of the affluent and to distance themselves from the awkward questions of ethics, though sometimes they nod towards ecology with features on 'sustainable travel'. The trouble is that after many years of publishing they are running out of places. So, in the search for novelty, the latest holiday destination was given the full treatment this Sunday - North Korea - yes, North Korea.

The report was restrained and made it perfectly clear that if the reporter had not pulled her punches her guides would have been in deep trouble. Yet, why go there? And why end the report with this incomprehensible statement?
But then if there's one thing that going to North Korea teaches you, it's that everything, all of life, is just perspective.
Eh? It just makes you wonder what other idyllic paradise they are going to promote next.

Oh. It's Burma. I give up.

1 comment:

john problem said...

North Korea velly good. No blight lights to blind you. No nasty consumerismus. Hah! No boni, bonussel, bonusess for worthless running lackeys of capital. You come and tell tluth to Western peoples. We fix you up well. Thank you.