…have you eck! The capital of Burkina Faso remains my last remaining top travel trump. This Friday, YS (Younger Son) and his partner finally arrive home in the UK for good after two years of work and travel in the Far East. By curious coincidence they are flying back from Bengaleru (Bangalore) in India which was the final homeward departure point of ES back in 2009.
Everyone is familiar with the comparative generational game played by, usually, older to younger: “Scalectrix?!!, When I was young I would get an apple, a tangerine and a shiny new penny in my Christmas Stocking” , ” Thirty bloody quid on a meal! I remember when ten bob would buy a packet of Capstan Full Strength, enough ale to see you roaring drunk, fish and chips, bus ‘ome and still have change” or “Passport application? Passport application ! Didn’t need no soddin’ passport to go to France in 1940 eh?”
Now the game is somewhat reversed. I thought at one time I was the Seventies equivalent of Marco Polo having made an extensive Interrail trip around Europe, visited African countries that I could not have previously found with any certainty in an atlas and even been to Stockholm! Fast forward to the present day and my two sons’ combined virtual travel trunk has more “been-there” stickers than a Kuoni Travel Brochure.
Amongst other places, they have chalked off Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Easter Island, Bolivia, Peru, Bali, Singapore, India, Brazil, Malaysia, Taipei, the Philipines, Mexico, French Polynesia and many others. In the Seventies and Eighties you may have found it difficult to emulate some of their other destinations. Vietnam had something of a small conflict going on, China did not exactly encourage foreigners, Argentina and Chile had military Juntas, both with reputations for helping people disappear, South Africa was a hardline country famous for Apartheid, Sjamboks and water cannon. Peru may have had the attraction of Macchu Pichu but also had a widespread and very active revolutionary group, The Shining Path, who specialised in kidnapping tourists and disposing of them in unpleasant ways when the ransom was not forthcoming.
So it’s time to say goodbye to Everest Base Camp, volcanoes in Lombok, Bolivian salt deserts and the Torres Del Paine. For a while, Lions on safari, Tigers in Ranthambore, Orang Utangs in Borneo and various other apes, monkeys and pachyderms will be photos in your albums or behind those bars in Chester Zoo. A black cab will have to suffice rather than a crazy motorbike pillion through a Rio de Janeiro Favela and a pint in the local will take the place of the Full Moon party at Hat Rin. Water rates, dentist’s appointments, school runs and MOT’s await. It’s not too bad, we have all done it. Life will be a little less exciting for a while and then…Salisbury, Lichfield, Durham and Peterborough all have sights to see too!