Polo’s Bastards Top 10 Worst Destinations

With the current conflict going on between Ethiopia and Somalia, my mind immediately began to wonder what the writers at Polo’s Bastards had been up to and what dangerous lands they’ve been exploring. Last time I checked in they’d just posted a piece on Rio’s favelas. Since then North Korea and Chechnya have also made their blog pages.

To round off the year though, Lee Ridley spent a little bit of his Christmas day highlighting some of the world’s worst destinations in 2006. Iraq assumes the position of No. 1, which doesn’t come as a shocker at all. The conflict created by the Hezbollah kidnappings of Israeli soldiers earned Lebanon the No. 10 spot, and in the middle you’ll find Haiti, Afghanistan, the entire Horn of Africa (poor Eritrea), Nepal, Chad, Chechnya and North Korea. If you’ve been in the dark concerning the political climate of these particular areas, you might want to mosey over and see what the deal is. Otherwise, just be sure to proceed with caution in the upcoming year. It is a far, far more dangerous world out there.

Word for the Travel Wise (09/13/06)

The Horn of Africa has been sitting on my travel wish list for what feels like decades. I thought I was going to Somalia this year, but put it on hold for another time. When I do get to go I hope to include stops in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Most people probably know more about Somalia and Ethiopia than they do Eritrea and most of what they know more than likely has something to do with poverty. Seems as though Eritrea and Ethiopia are at odds again and I’m hopeful they’ll resolve their differences soon. Until that time we can either rely on the reports from folks like Polo’s Bastards or the images at Lonely Planet to hold us over. There is a beach shot at Lonely Planet that is beyond breath-taking.

Today’s word is a Tigrinya word used in Eritrea:

täzaräb – (m) speak

Tigrinya is spoken in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Eritrea has no official language, but three working langs which include Tigrinya, Arabic and English. Italian is sometimes used commercially. There are approximately 6.75 million Tigrinya speakers. Wiki has a great run-down of the language peppered with words here and there. Home.planet.nl has a good vocabulary list and examples of the alphabet. Their site is worth visiting to get you started on the right path. They include links to purchase software and CD’s to continue learning offline.

Africa Travel: Eritrea

When Travel & Leisure put Eritrea on blast late 2004 I was so frightened for the recovering country. The wars that once tore throughout Eritrea appear to be done and gone for now and it is only a matter of time before something of a good bad nature starts tearing through. Tourists. While my fright is purely out of selfish reasons with fears that I’ll be the last off the bus herding thirsty travelers into the Horn of Africa.

Eritrea is an east African country mixed with amazing landscapes and Italian influences which can be seen in the architecture of both Muslim and Christian landmarks. Towards the coast one will find Dahlak archipelago, an island group made of two large and 124 small islands in the Red Sea off of Massawa. Within the warm waters are colorful fish and live coral best seen while snorkeling and diving in the area. Travel Adventures dot org covers the country in a great display of photos and stories, better than many others I have previously seen. If you’ve never given much thought to visiting this particular African country it could very well be time to start tuning in before the stampeding tourists actually do arrive. Since reading the T&L story sometime ago I haven’t many other big stories on the area, which tells me my worries have gotten the best of me. Now it’s just a matter of purchasing a ticket of my own.

Small Steps for Eritrea

If you read the potential tourism hype on Eritrea in Travel and Leisure’s September 2004 issue and can’t get the country out the back of your mind, you might want to check out this article. According to Business Report, the country is taking baby steps by building one of the first hotels along the Red Sea coast. Hampered by some of the negative images left from the war with Ethiopia, Eritrea hopes to shake them off, improve roads, offer camel safari’s and boost a number of tourist that surpasses the tiny boom seen in 1996. If Eritrea still ignites your interest look at the LP guide, where they always offer useful info and nifty picture slideshows.