Rebirth of Reason

The Free Radical

Tourism Boom!
by Bernard Darnton

International arms control experts such as Paul McCartney’s girlfriend incessantly remind us that the world’s seventy million landmines kill someone every twenty minutes. Clearly this is a serious problem. What can we do to get rid of the damn things? Landmines I mean, not do-gooding socialites.

This is a problem that isn’t going to go away as a result of conventional thinking. One innovative solution is the Adopt-a-Minefield program run by the United Nations Association.

The United Nations Association shouldn’t be confused with the somewhat larger United Nations Organisation, a group which has its own programs for talking about the elimination of minefields. Quite why the United Nations (Association) chose this name isn’t clear. Perhaps they live next door and are getting Ted Turner’s cheques by mistake.

However they get their money, they have, to their credit, managed to clear many thousands of mines since they began a couple of years ago. One of the biggest problems with clearing minefields is the expense involved. Which got me to thinking.

Most third world countries employ a traditional, low-cost technique for mine clearance that involves allowing them to be discovered at random by wandering buffalo and curious little boys.

Surely, there is an inexpensive way to get rid of landmines that also doesn’t expend other valuable resources, like buffalo and people’s kids. But why stop at ‘inexpensive’? Why not move straight to ‘profitable’?

Western civilisation has been so successful at improving people’s lives, at eliminating the war, famine, and disease that used to keep people on their toes, that, aside from the odd mad Muslim, we have nothing sensible left to worry about. Without the immediate concerns of day-to-day survival, young people are liable to drift into pointless activities, like picking coffee beans for Marxist guerrillas in Latin America, until they grow up and form concrete goals, such as becoming Minister of Statistics.

There’s a whole generation roving the planet looking for something interesting, and preferably dangerous, to do – which explains the rise in ‘adventure tourism’. The problem with adventure tourism is that it’s a fake. It promises danger and delivers none.

Forget the momentary adrenaline kick that comes from jumping off a bridge; feel the rush you get the first time you poke a stick into the sand and it makes contact with something solid. Forget spewing and screwing your way round Europe with a bus full of Aussies; imagine the camaraderie that comes from the mutual hope that the guy next to you doesn’t step where he shouldn’t.

Nothing will be able to compete with ‘The Minefield Experience’. The ultimate in adventure tourism, visiting places that most people aren’t allowed, combined with the massaging of the idealist’s ego will deliver a trip like no other.

The future belongs to those who dare to think a little differently. So let’s kick off the reality adventure tourism industry and make a killing.

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