A few weeks ago, I had the awesome honor of creating a document that would guide a Q&A for former Secretary Madeleine K. Albright. I mean, what kind of task was that, really? …Considering my feeble little mind couldn’t possibly throw her off with some new trick question she hadn’t already been asked in her… uhh… oh, I don’t know… three decades of being awesomely famous, clearly I was writing more for my own satisfaction rather than for her preparation. But, one question struck me as particularly simple and brilliant, if I may say so myself. And, I do. (I do. I doo oohhh.)
In some sick twist of fate, I ended up traveling when she actually spoke, so I didn’t get the satisfaction of hearing her answer my really good question. So, I was left with a mean question hangover that kept me up at night. I think this kind of persistent pondering, my friends, can only be soothed by answering my favorite question myself. Here goes.
“Is there a place in the world that you have not yet visited that you would like to? If so, where and why?” (Yes, I know I ended that question with a preposition – don’t judge me.)
Since, I’m not famous and I haven’t been traveling that long – comparatively speaking – I have a laundry list:
- Where: Milan, Italy Why: Because I have expensive taste. As I am on the curvier side of shapely, I’ve always admired the Italian taste for accentuating the positive. For reasons related to a $4,000 Dolce & Gabbana dress I once tried on at the Mall at Short Hills, I am convinced that I am meant to wear Italian crafted mid calf dresses. Paid for by? Some unnamed, as yet unknown, poor sucker. The curves? Well, those are all (African) American. Call me global #shouldershrug.
- Where: Curaçao Why: Why not? A beautiful blue drink has been named after this place, which means the country must share some of this alcoholic beverage’s positive attributes. The only other country I’ve been to of Dutch patronage is Suriname and I absolutely loved that place. So, Curaçao can’t fail. Unless, of course, I have to speak Dutch.
- Where: Durban, South Africa Why: I like to read near the beach. I’ve always been fascinated by Africa, but the longer I studied race and national identity the more interested I became in southern Africa, as a whole, and South Africa, in particular. Since, I’m demanding enough to want to study culture beachside, Durban just feels right.
- Where: São Tomé and Príncipe Why: Because I would tell the best stories at cocktail parties. “Hellooooww dahleeng, where ever did you go during your summer holiday?” “Oh just boring ole’ Paris. You know that’s where Frank and I PACSed.” “And you, Sugar Plum, where ever did you go?” “ I went to São Tomé and Príncipe and had a jolly ole time out there frolicking with our dear friends on the beach. One year, we will have to take you and Frank with us, dahleeng.” Yup, that’s pretty much how I expect the banter at every work cocktail party to go after I come back from one of the most isolated and obscure island nations of the world. Beat that Pitcairn Islands!
- Where: Andaman Islands, India Why? Because I stole this from someone. This one is a bit of a cheat, but hear me out. So, a woman arrived here just a few months back and told me about the Jarawa people of the Andaman islands. I definitely know of the Siddi or Siddhi populations throughout India, but I have only recently learned about the endangered people that are the Jarawa. Now, I do understand that my visiting them on their native islands (that and in-breeding) may in fact lead to their extinction. So, we’ll see how long it takes me to get a permit to visit. Perhaps, by then I may change my mind and go to the Maldives before they sink into the sea.
- Where: Swains Island, U.S. Why? I’m convinced this place doesn’t actually exist. I won’t go into great detail about the lengthy exchange that led to my discovery of this island. “Is a green card holder a U.S. national? What about some one from Guam? Northern Mariana Islands, no? Oh, shizznit! That’s right, Gilligan’s Island was based on Swains Island. Troo dat! Thanks for schooling me, son son. DYNOMIIITTE!” It didn’t quite go like that, but I’ll leave it to you to determine which parts are fiction, including whether or not Swains actually exists.
- Where: Monaco Why? I’m bourgie. I didn’t realize how stoosh Europe could be until I went to the Arab funded south of Spain and got a whiff of the perfumed exhaust fumes of Mazaratis in Puerto Banus. I’m expecting Monaco to top that, and that’s a whole lotta toppa topping.
- Where: Panama Why? Honestly? Because I heard reggaeton started there and the country looks really beautiful in pictures. That is all. (Drop the mic and walk offstage)
- Where: Oaxaca, Mexico Why? I’ve been to the annexed territory of Oaxaca that is Brooklyn, and I’m dying to get to the mother ship! I’ve never been to Mexico – partially because I’m pretty picky about the Iberian descendant countries I frequent. I’m not sure of my internal criteria, but I do know I have some kind of criteria floating around in there. Needless to say, once I realized that Cali Mexicans were not actually from the same part of Mexico (a DUH!) as my hometown NYC/NJ Mexicans, I grew a curiosity to get to the root of what I know to be Mexican culture. And I’d also like to cook better tacos in the future.
- Where: Laos Why? A friend of a friend in college was a hot Laotian guy who apparently could cook very well. And one thing I like about as much as clothing I don’t pay for is food! I’m told Laos is less a planned zen tourist attraction than Cambodia, less developed than Vietnam, and so – overall – more “me” than other South East Asian countries. Did I mention that I heard that their hot guys cook great food?
Now that I’ve spilled my guts, I’m wondering…what about you?
You’ve just sh*tted on every single travel bucket list I’ve ever read or heard in my life. I need to go back to the lab and come up with a realistic list that doesn’t contain the normal low hanging fruit of locations. Btw, can I piggy back on some of your trips, especially the one to Andaman Islands? I’m not above using bribery.
I’m going to go ahead and second Andy’s “well, damn!”, but I will also raise you both a Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have yet to make any forays into South America and I’d like to start with what I hear is a country with a good mix of city-centered and outdoorsy activities. Though, to be honest, I’ll start wherever the flights are cheapest or…ya know, wherever Nafee is stationed next.
And, I’m going to second Panama. I’m partial to #8, part of my heritage and all. I have yet to visit and would love to see the black sand/ white sand beaches first hand. I get to cross this place off my bucket list next year.. I’ll keep you posted. 😉