When Trendy Travel Agencies Go Mad
As a relatively seasoned traveller with at least a modicum of eco-awareness, I try to visit places where locals might benefit from my tourist bucks. Travel agents know that I occasionally want to sit in the sun far away from crowds and think up plots for novels, and I’m prepared to try somewhere new.
However, I do feel that in the quest for novelty, fashionable travel agency Black Tomato has overstepped the mark with its latest email entreating me to get away from it all. They sent me this shot of a salt-encrusted skull on a dead lake.
When I did some checking, I located the main streets in Djibouti, the tiny African country which has just emerged from a decade-long civil war that has left a fifth of its population living below the poverty line. Here Abu Ali al-Harithi, suspected mastermind of the 2000 USS Cole bombing, and five others, were blown up in 2002 by a Hellfire missile launched by an RQ-1 Predator drone provided by the CIA. The American Army launched attacks from here in 2007 against enemy forces in Somalia.
None of which, oddly, is mentioned in the email selling the delights of Djibouti to me.