Last week I weighed in on some of the 2010 trend lists put together by the navel gazers of the travel industry, who seem to spend the bulk of their (our?) time cobbling together It lists and reminding you of all the places you’re not.
The now-defunct Forbes Traveler, which has since been folded into the Forbes website – and which, full disclosure, was one of my main sources of income in 2008-09 – took the trends trend to an almost pornographic extreme. Highlights of their hard-nosed reporting included the “World’s Most Expensive Cruise Ship,” the “World’s Most Exclusive Hotels,” and the “World’s Most Expensive Cupcake.”
Not to be outdone, Forbes once weighed in on the “World’s Most Expensive Diseases.” Sample quote: “Meanwhile, diabetes wracks up only $35.8 billion in annual expenses.” Suck it, diabetes!
Foreign Policy‘s recent piece on “the new blood diamonds” could maybe double as an It list for down-on-their-luck white mercenaries pining for the glory days of Rhodesia. Good news, guys: “Here are four more prized resources that are fraught with conflict!”
(Speaking of It lists: how ’bout the Christian Science Monitor weighing in with this hokey list of Africa’s top five white mercenaries?)
The venerable New York Times finally anointed its “31 Places to Go in 2010,” without really explaining how they decided on the magic number of 31. (Last year’s list included 44 places to go; 2008’s included 53. Are we running out of places to go for the “Places to Go” list?)
Highlights from the 2010 list:
- “Looking for Romanesque churches and seaside fisherman’s restaurants?” (Who isn’t?) Head to the Italian peninsula of Gargano, “far from the madding crowds of Amalfi and Cinque Terre.”
- “San Francisco, Amsterdam and Provincetown? Been there. Mykonos and Ibiza? Done that. Looking for the next gay destination? How about the Himalayan country of Nepal? Yes, Nepal.” Pink Mountain Travels and Tours “promises to marry adventure travel with gay weddings.” (You could get married in Malawi instead, which is always an adventure.)
- “You’ve completed 200 hours of teacher training, mastered flying crow pose and even spent a week at yoga surf camp. What’s next? Yogis seeking transcontinental bliss head these days to Mysore, the City of Palaces, in southern India.” Yoga surf camp? Mysore instantly leaps to the top of my Places Not to Go in 2010 list.
- Brazil’s Bahia region “is fast emerging as a jet-set playground,” which is apparently a good thing. “All eyes will turn to sultry Rio de Janeiro when it hosts the 2016 Olympic Games, but right now [Bahia is Brazil's] white-hot destination.”
- Seoul: “Forget Tokyo.” Forgotten.
- Sri Lanka’s quarter-century conflict “finally ended last May, ushering in a more peaceful era for this teardrop-shaped island off India’s coast, rich in natural beauty and cultural splendors.”
Also not to be missed are Koh Kood, Thailand (“Is this the next Koh Samui?”), Damascus, Syria (“The next Marrakesh?”), and Cesme, Turkey (“The next Bodrum?” Did I miss the last one?).
Notable for its virtual absence is THE WHOLE FUCKING CONTINENT OF AFRICA, apart from SA’s token mention (“As host of the 2010 World Cup this summer,” etc.), and maybe Marrakesh, if you count Morocco as “African.” (Does it count? Should it count? Do you even care?) I’m putting together my own list of African places I’d like to go in 2010: Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe, Sao Tome & Principe. Oh, and I suppose I’ll swing by whatdoyoucallit, too. As host of the 2010 World Cup this summer…