Monday, September 14, 2015

Tourism in Africa.

There was an article in the New York Times mentioning that in Botswana they have suspended big game hunting and now a village is overrun with elephants and lions and unemployment has skyrocketed. Not surprising.

Someone suggested tourism and for the life of me it reminded me of a movie I'd like to see, The Last Remake of King Kong. Of course, the movie hasn't been made yet anywhere but in my fertile mind.

Anyway, I can picture the goings-on in the village as they enter the tourist trade. A village elder glances at his watch, puts out a Marlboro and shouts "Places! Costumes!" and the villagers, presently clad in shorts and T-shirts, scurry around and return dressed in grass skirts ala the Original King Kong scene on Skull Island.

Someone dumps a quart of gasoline on a pile of wood, strikes a match and flames leap skyward as the locals all start dancing around it chanting something that sound like something out of a Tarzan movie villager scene.

Out of the bus the tourists appear with cameras hung around their necks. One tourist approaches a grass skirt clad villager, who in real life has a Master's in physics. "Hold it! Smile!" Click goes the shutter.

A couple hours later the bus leaves, the villagers change back into their comfortable clothing and business as usual returns.

I have lived in a tourist town, Ketchikan, Alaska and at times it was a zoo. I have seen Native Americans get the "Holdit, Injun! Smile!" treatment by an ignorant tourist.

I remember a tourist asking a Native American kid, "Are you an Indian?"

"Yes, Ma'am," he replied with a tired voice.

"I see," said the tourist. "And how long have you been an Indian?"

I interrupted. "He used to be a Chicano but enrolled at the Custer Memorial Indian School and took courses to become an Indian. I believe he graduated and became one last year." I winked at the Indian kid who gave me the deadpan look that belies an awful lot of dry Native American humor. 

The tourist blushed and stormed off. 

Later a couple Native Americans the kid told the story to bought me a drink. 

While a lot of people promote tourism as a way of making a living, it is not all it is cracked up to be. It's also very, very dependent on the economy. Generally when the economy takes a drop the first thing to go seems to be the family vacation or cruise. It also hurts the quality of life of the locality.

 find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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