By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
Well, here we are, back from our travels with Bob. Based on the comments he received on his posts, it would appear that many of you are like me – let’s let my crazy brother explore the challenging places on Earth while we lounge in our living rooms eating Doritos. So purely for our own entertainment purposes, where do we want Linda to send Bob on his next birthday? It would have to be someplace beautiful with just a twinge of excitement and adventure. After all, if he’s going to do the traveling for us we want him to go someplace that will give us an adrenaline fix. Clearly sending him to Kathmandu didn’t kill him off so I think we can up the game a bit. Let’s consider some of the world’s “garden spots” that might be options for his next trip:
1. Brazil – Ah yes, white sandy beaches, girls in bikinis, slow jazz played in the background. As Bob himself admits, he is a huge Jimmy Buffett fan and Brazil comes very close to wasting away in Margaritaville. Unfortunately, Brazil also has one of the highest crime rates going. It boasts (if that is the right word) 14 of the world’s most violent cities. There is lots of gang violence and what they refer to as “quicknappings“, whereby the victim is kidnapped, thrown in a car, taken to the nearest ATM to withdraw money, and then released. HAH! Bob could thwart them in no time – he can never remember his ATM pin.
2. Haiti – Only 8% of the cocaine that comes into the U.S. comes from Haiti, but apparently that’s enough to make it bustling – and dangerous. Crime in rampant in Haiti but here’s the great thing about Bob visiting there – the carjackings, murders, armed robberies and kidnappings are almost always against other Haitians. So as long as he doesn’t a) become a Haitian or b) start dealing cocaine, I think he could be our man on the street in Haiti.
3. Honduras – Oh my. Honduras as a country currently has the highest murder rate in the world. And most of them go unsolved. Partly because it is very common for the crooks to set up fake police checkpoints and then either rob or – it would appear – murder the people who they have stopped. There are beautiful places to visit in Honduras and some of the hotels even have swim-up bars (see right) but the travel websites warn that the high level of violence deters all but the most reckless of tourists. Bob – reckless? No…but he is certainly adventurous and can see right through imposters who say “Badges? We don’t need to show you no stinkin’ badges“. Yep – I think he’s our guy to explore the verdant climes of Honduras. Plus, he’s never been one to bypass a good swim-up bar.
4. Yemen – This country has been in the Top Ten of perilous places for tourists for years. Travel on roads between cities is dangerous. Armed carjackings, especially of four-wheel-drive vehicles, occur in many parts of the country. Motorcycles are commonly unlicensed and used as taxis. Well, heck, we already have proof that Bob will climb on the back of a stranger’s motorcycle and take off for parts unknown. And Yemen has extensive mountain highlands where many people love to trek. And they don’t have any of those damn stone steps. Perfect!
5. Somalia – The Shamo Hotel in Mogadishu serves lobster on their rooftop overlooking the beautiful sea. The concierge is also nice enought to advise that when you depart the hotel for the airport – a mere four miles away – you hire at least 10 armed guards to escort you. And of course, anyone who has read about what is going on in that country or at a minimum has seen the film “Capt. Phillips” knows all about the pirates that abound in the region. BUT…Bob is a steely eyed retired Naval officer. He could overcome any rogue raiders and take command of their ship. I can just hear him yelling at the pirates – “Who is the Parrot Head now?”. Somalia is definitely in his wheelhouse.
So let’s take a vote. Where should Linda send him next? The outcome of the poll probably won’t matter – I don’t think he’s going anywhere, exotic or otherwise, until his knees and hips recover. But this much I do know, no matter where we might send him he would maintain a great attitude, he would find the best beer, and he would make friends with the locals. He is a great ambassador for American travelers.
As for me, as you read this we are on our way to Sun Valley, Idaho for the summer. I will travel through Ely, Nevada and Twin Falls, Idaho. Believe me, neither of them are anywhere near as exciting as Somalia. But I hope to have some good travel posts from Idaho, including rafting on the River of No Return. That is, of course, assuming we do return.