There were many places I was looking forward to visiting this year. But more than ever, there is danger in the world. If it’s not crime, it’s war or robbery. Then there are the rampant outbreaks of disease and/or poisonous food and water. The planet, as well as the people on it, are getting ill. I had to forego the following cities/countries/areas because of imoending danger to my safety or health.
1. Marseilles, France
The pride and joy of French summer vacationing, Marseilles has turned into an urban wastelnd in terms of the inadequate power of the government to control major crime. Many have told me this is the doing of the fascist nationalists who feel tht Muslims in the banlieues have taken over the city. In turn, there hve been drive shootings, shootings on public buses, and juat good old-fashioned beatings. Although tourists aren’t targeted (at least white Christian tourists), the chance of being an innocent bystander here makes it too dangerous to properly enjoy your vacation.
A city of deep roots and culture, a destination for art and bohemia, Valparaiso is suddenly too dangerous to visit. Petty crime is at an all-time high, and there is an increase in muggings and kidnappings. Yes, Valparaiso has become that bad. Again, if you’re careful you’ll probably be fine. But the whole pointbof visiting this magical place is to be free, right?
Peru is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. It has mountains nd valleys. It has different cultures living side by side. It has maybe the best variety of food in the world. And it has Macchu Pichu. The ancient kingdom of the Incas has fallen on hard times. Tis not one thing that sticks out here, but just a general disintegration of Peruvian society s a whole. The good taht was there has collapsed and been overtaken by desperation and hardship. Young women, even girls, sell their bodies for a few dollars. There are killings on the streets. Robbery is rampant. There seem to be badly-organized syndicates trying to run the place.
4. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phnom Penh is quickly evolving into a 21st-century city. While the rest of the country is still trying to heal from genocide, Phnom Penh seems to have successfully put that behind it and is breeming with potential. So I reserve my airbnb, find a reasonably-priced ticket, and decide to visit in the more mundane rainy season, feeling I can be at one with the Mekong. Then came the alerts. E-coli, vaccine after vaccine needed, food poisoning, water poisoning, etc. But that didn’t ward me off. What made me back off was the new spread of Dengue fever for which there is no vaccine, forcing people in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, more than anywhere else, to wear long pants in the humidity and heat and always have to make sure their mosquito repellent is on. In Thailand, I’d be fine because of the more modern infrastructure. In Cambodia, there are no good medicak facilities and the best doctors are there from France. I give the government credit for advancing gheir society economically and for curbing child prostitution, but a lot more needs to be done. Not in my 20s anymore, it’s hard for me to go to Phnom Penh at this time.
5. Kathmandu, Nepal
I figured I needed some fresh mountain air and a bit of reflecting and finding my inner child. That’s no longer easily done in Nepal. The streets have been flooded and the food and water have been graetly compromised by mother nature’s wrath. With only an elite few places to stay in and the need for an iron stomach, there is no way I can visit Nepal. Along with parts of neighbouring India, Nepal may never recover from this disaster. Does anyone care?