13 years ago
Michael Seeligson

Spring Break, that wonderful waste of a week, is not an opportunity to take lightly.

The decision in front of you (or behind you for those over-achievers) is a freedom most Americans take for granted. Many people in the world do not have the week of paradise you are about to experience. Coincidentally, a majority of those people live in places where you would not want to spend your vacation.

Clearly you want to avoid Iraq or Afghanistan like Osama avoids the Marines, but Swaziland might spark your interest. One of the three remaining African monarchies, this landlocked niche of South Africa boasts an airport and a life expectancy of 39. King Mswati’s new palaces for his 11 wives, worth more than $15 million, should not blind visitors to the recently declared national disaster concerning the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS and a massive drought.

Sri Lanka might also seem promising. Rich with cultural history and art, this island nation had not experienced major fighting since the 14th century. Sandy beaches and luxurious, British-style hotels once made Sri Lanka a travel paradise. The civil war sparked by Indian insurgents fighting for independence has quarantined visitors to a very small part of the island. Few people safely see the desolation ten years of civil war has inflicted on the once exquisite architecture.

Haiti, the Pearl of the Antilles, certainly would catch your eye if you are an Errol Flynn fan. Fifty years ago, this hot spot of glitz and glamour was rated the top tourist attraction in the Caribbean. Coconut cocktails and cheap lobster dinners attract most gringos to the island nation. This spring break you could try to hitch a ride with the next battalion of Marines sent in to protect the American embassy, because this has been holiday haven is now overrun, and largely burnt to the ground, by rebel forces.

Next on your list of fun places to avoid is Siberia. Anyone can go to Moscow, but it takes a true adventurer to brave Eastern Russia’s barren wasteland. You might be lured by memories from high school of Dostoevsky’s prison camps and want to visit the home of arctic assaults. The arctic assaults should be the only assault to worry about, however, because both of President Vladimir Putin’s recent attempts to launch ballistic missiles seem to have fizzled, taking his country’s military hopes with them.

And of course, our idealistic advertising manager, Aidan Skoyles, will no doubt try to convince you to spend your week visiting Uganda. Another of the world’s ‘pearls,’ your trip to Uganda would undoubtedly change your life, and most likely change the lives of several Ugandans. The danger of Uganda, with its recent massacre of hundreds of villagers burnt alive in their homes, is that the change in your life may be its early termination. And we would hate to lose one of our dear readers.

Don’t let my report dissuade you from having a good time. There are many awesome locations for an enjoyable spring break. Just remember, as you toss back that last shot of tequila, that many people in the world do not have the time to even consider a week of leisure, much less have a choice in its location.

North Dakota has an appeal due to its mystery. Chances are, you have never been to North Dakota and figured you would experience something new. It is possible that you would have a good time, but think. You would have to drive through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota to reach the most rural state in the country. Unless you like cow tipping, you should probably steer clear of this 90 percent agricultural state.

For your week of freedom, I doubt you would want to visit Waco or Lubbock unless you are paying a visit to your grandmother. Wandering aimlessly through Wal-mart tops the list of fun things to do in Waco, while in Lubbock, most people spend their time getting the dust off of their clothes and trying to avoid the stench from the cattle yards.