Monday, December 17, 2007

Best of 2007, Part II

Okay, so onward and upward we go with Part II of middleCoast staff member picks for the Best (and/or Worst) Lists of 2007 (see Part I).

Next up:

Jessica's Top 10 Places to Visit Before You Die

10.) Canada
Across a vast expanse of taiga, with nary a human in sight, the mountains, moose & muskrats point the way to a partially frozen paradise. Known for wildlife, beautiful and untouched landscapes, and the Northern Lights: an atmospheric light show far superior than anything Pink Floyd could come up with. Canada - where the beer is cold (along with everything else).

9.) India
While the dust, cows, motorcycle exhaust and the poorest people on the planet might all be good reasons to stay away, the truth is that India is where 1,000 religions are practiced side-by-side, and in plain sight. The earnestness of a man who has seen God (and may even BE God), along with the near-psychedelic visions of people bedecked in flowers atop Asian elephants prostrating themselves at the feet of a holy river must be truly unforgettable. Try to put aside the thought of India's nuclear plan to destroy it's neighbor, Pakistan, and focus instead on the wonders (and the heat) of God's house.

8.) Borneo
Would you like to venture where literally no man has been? Well, Borneo has plenty of underground caves with your name on it. Borneo also happens to be one of the last places on earth where new species of flora & fauna are still being discovered today. And as for it's people, much of the culture, language, ethno-music and traditional knowledge of this South Pacific island has yet to be documented by anthropologists. If exploration is your thing, and you don't mind a few bugs, please visit before the loggers destroy it's vast rainforests.

7.) Italy
Michaelangelo. Da Vinci. Fellini. Galilei. Dante. Columbus. Scorsese. Is there anything the Italians haven't done first (and best)? Even Fallopio invented the condom, bless his heart. The way man was truly meant to live, the Italians spare no expense when it comes to living the dolce vita. Known for their advanced cultural and religious achievements, their generosity, and keen fashion sense, the Italians seem to be the minority in that they live day to day, instead of focusing on the afterlife. Oh, and the food's not bad either. Special mention goes to Florence (or Firenze, as it's know in italiano), the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Think art. Lots and lots of art.

6.) Australia
G'day mate! Good fuckin' day, indeed. Who would've thought that a remote continent, destined to house British & Irish cons, would become one the Earth's most popular vacation destinations? If koala bears, kangaroos, dingos, aborigines & scuba diving sound cool to you, come to the land of Down Under. Man, I love how cliché this whole paragraph is! Wait, can I make it sound even more cliché ? Oh yes, be prepared to eat a lot of Vegemite, and to listen to a whole bunch of Midnight Oil, and to watch Kylie Minogue's younger sister break up with her boyfriend/uncle/long-lost father on "Neighbours".

5.) Texas
Just kidding. Unless you're into carrying a gun. And if you're into carrying a gun then fuck you anyway.

5.) Peru
Home to the beautiful and mysterious Andes mountains, and the Incan Empire, Peru's oldest civilization dates back to 11,000 B.C.E. Peru also brags the lake with the funnest name, Lake Titicaca, as well as a generous portion of Amazonian rainforest. If you're a trekker, and have the desire to view the remnants of an old-ass society, come to Peru! Be sure to bring a decent camera so you show your friends those awesome shots of Machu Picchu!

4.) Ireland
This country must be really cool, since every warm-blooded American likes to claim some of it's ancestry (especially after throwing back a few Guinness). In truth, Ireland has had more than it's share of heartache. Its people have faced persecution (from those pesky Brits!), starvation, invasion, and an ongoing religious war. Oh yeah, and a nationwide blight of alcoholism. However, they've persevered as only the Irish can: through their wit, their whiskey, and their writing. Their penchant for treating strangers like family, plus the beauty of their Emerald Isle keeps visitors coming back for more.

3.) Holland
I forgot why, but it's cool. It's cool.

2.) Japan

If you're a westerner reading this, Japan will catapult you onto a different planet entirely. Over the past 35,000 years of their existence, the people of the "Land of the Rising Sun" have invented, perfected and evolved in practically every human endeavor (except for maybe space travel, which is odd, because they sure seem to be other-worldly). From the desolate peak of Mt. Fuji to the neon-powered megatropolis of Tokyo, Japan is an absolute study in contrasts. In no other country would you find someone who enjoys BOTH the ancient tea ceremony AND prepubescent soft-porn anime. As for advances in society, Japan is the world's leader in scientific research (that's robots, optics, and chemicals to you dumb Americans!), automobile production and medical research. And just try naming a technological advance produced in the last half-century that didn't originate in Japan! (Quiet, Sean.) The Japanese are known for their unusually long lifespans, due mostly to a strict diet of rice and fish, and the continuous practice of martial arts & Zen Buddhism. Approximately 15-17 Japanese are on record for having lived since the beginning of time, and thousands more claim to be enlightened by the hand of God. Perhaps it would be a fun place to visit, I don't know.

1.) Kenya
Indigenous tribes. Animals of the African desert. A burning, twisting sunrise that looks almost tactile. One might travel to Kenya to go on safari, and to see animals whose instinctual pride and fight for survival humbles even the most boastful traveler. Another might go to Kenya to view generational tribes whose lifestyle is something the traveler has never before known. Another might travel to Kenya to see the raw, hot, sensual beauty that only Africa has in her possession. The wise traveler will find all that and more.
p.s. This country probably smells bad. Just a warning.
p.p.s.s. You will have to get about seven vaccinations before you're permitted to enter the continent, to avoid contracting any number of fatal diseases that float freely around the continent.
p.p.s.s.p. I still think this would be a kick-ass place to go.


No comments: