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Published: July 10th 2017
I usually stay away from danger, at least obvious danger. For instance, I would like to visit Turkey this fall, but everyone, including the US State Department, says to stay away. But these countries and places below are rather surprising to me, since I have been there.
Thailand (southern) Yes, the south of Thailand is known to harbor terrorists, with a large Muslim population. Well, we have terrorists in San Bernardino too. I have been to Thailand about 6 or 8 times, and have always felt welcomed and safe. The Thai people are friendly and know how important the American tourist is to their economy. Bangkok makes the ideal base for travel throughout SE Asia.
South Africa Thanks to Barry the V, and Mrs. V, we had a great two weeks in Cape Town. However, we did get to see the townships, and took a third class train ride to the coast. But we also visited some fabulous beaches, the Stellenbosch wine region, and had many gourmet meals. We felt safe the entire time, even though they lock up their home and gates like a fortress.
Colombia Much safer now that the
drug business and Pablo Escobar have been addressed. The people are charming, the food is improving, and in time, they will have a better tourist infrastructure. No armed guards anywhere but banks and brothels. Medellin is an up and coming tourist destination.
And how about places in the US?
Kilauea Volcano Stay away from hot lava. Repeat. Stay away!! Maybe best to observe from the air by helicopter. It smells badly too. And do not take any lava rocks home, or you will upset the lava gods.
Denali, formerly Mount McKinley, over 20,320 feet tall. I passed by on the Aurora Express Railway, close enough to see, and far enough away to avoid trouble. Those of you who want to climb, you must be either crazy or in great shape!
Death Valley We were there in winter, and it even snowed. Summers are crazy with temps over 120 degrees F. Spring is great with wildflowers. They do not call it Death Valley for no reason!!
My list is different. I define dangerous as places where Americans are not welcome, or where the crime rate is
higher than most other parts of the country. France was like that post WW2, particularly when De Gaulle was President. South central Los Angeles (Watts) was like that in the Sixties.
Lake Natron in Tanzania is covered in an alkali salt crust, and is an extremely beautiful sight to behold. Also, fun fact, all living creatures die just by coming into contact with it at all. If you’re a bird or a bat that has accidentally confused the lake for a nice place for a hot bath, you will die. Does that still sound beautiful to you?
Or how about the ocean? A rogue wave can take you away in a flash. And don't forget the danger of both sharks and tiny, stinging jellyfish off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
TAUMATAWHAKATANGIHANGAKOAUAUOTAMATEATURIPUKAKAPIKIMAUNGAHORONUKUPOKAIWHENUAKITANATAHU, nEW zEALAND. This place isn’t dangerous, but you’ll probably die before being able to pronounce it correctly.
But no matter where you go, it is wise to have a "Plan B" or exit plan.
Some friends of mine will only sit facing the front door of a restaurant. Some,
like me, always want an aisle seat for a quick getaway. Large gatherings of people are problematic, limiting your options for an escape route. Rock concerts and sporting events come to mind.
Oymyakon, located in a remote corner of Siberia, is the coldest town on the planet earth. During the winter, it’s dark for 21 hours a day, and usually around -58 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live here, you regularly consume frozen meat. Once time in 1933, it was -90 degrees Fahrenheit. This place is trying to kill you—and it still has around 500 people living there. All of them have to literally sprint from one location to the next to keep from freezing to death!!! (I did not go that far north when I was in Siberia)
And why would anyone go to North Korea? Only that idiot Rodman, of course, and that recent study or church group. I met a large and burly man on the Trans Siberian Railway who was coming back from North Korea. I asked why, and then I realized he was KGB!!! He was singing Russian lullabies at night to put himself to sleep. Some other places I would not go right now: Haiti, Israel and the Left Bank, Egypt, Kashmir, Tunisia, Nigeria, El Salvador, Venezuela, Bangladesh, west wing of the White House (just kidding), and anywhere in the Middle East region.
But if you analyze danger realistically, driving or riding in a car is far more dangerous likelihood than sitting at a streetside café in Bangkok or Paris. It does not stop us from driving or riding a bicycle. Likewise, it will not stop me from travelling.
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