As I learn from Anthony Bourdain....

I've been watching a lot of Anthony Bourdain lately and while I originally watched it for information on Southeast Asia (with the ever elusive Thailand thanks to credit card issues and uncertainty), but while I learned a lot about those countries, I also learned some other great places and how the world is an extremely conflicted place.

For example:
Myanmar - gorgeous and mysterious, but insanely poor to the point where its people dropout of school to sell wares and remain uneducated. This is unfortunate due to the amount of newfound freedom the country finally has after years of oppression.

Colombia -Always a solid country, even more so without cocaine wars. However, no cocaine means no jobs for a great deal of poor people. This is strange to think about. The poor would rather have cocaine farming rather than starve. Along with this, you've got to discuss the ever disappearing Amazon rainforest and its indigenous people who are slowly but surely being removed.

The Congo - Just how bad King Leopold wrecked havoc on a large part of the country through slavery, labor, and more. Through this strife a chaotic environment of warring rebels has been created with nearly no safety.

Iran - The glory of the Persian empire, complications with Iraq, changes in culture from Ayatollah, and a renown cuisine and people. The animosity of years is well founded in this country, but the people have remained generous for whenever the time for full embrace appears.

Jamaica - The disappearance of land for the Jamaican people themselves. How literally rich and affluent are buying up nearly all the islands just for your resort love. Where will Jamaicans go?

Shanghai - China will rule us all as millionaires rise daily in this city. You think NYC is making bank? Look to the affluence of Shanghai and how they want more and newer that somehow erases their own vibrant heritage.

Laos - Thanks America for your leftover bombs =) Where do all those bombs go? Travel around the world to see where not only America, but everyone has left their explosives. However, Laos with alms, Lao Lao, sweet beer, and ant egg omelettes its distinct culture has to tend with dismemberment from relics of the Vietnam War

Israel v. Palestine - On one side you've got two historical communities that somehow live in peace with occasional discrimination as Israelis continue to encroach on Palestinian land. On the other side, you've basically got a prison beach of a small land this is hard for anyone to get in or out of. At the same time, there were several peaceful relationships (marriages even) and more. I can only hope

Croatia - Croatia is absolutely luxurious European living. After strife in the 90s, Croatia has developed into a wonderful place filled with plenty of great eating still.

Punjab - A history of religion, cuisine, and culture that goes back. However, years of British rule, Indian royals search for continued lavishness and the split between Pakistan and India have created a contrasting region of beauty and turmoil. The absolute displacement between the countries is well founded as just like other regions of the world Britain decided to carve up slices of that which it didn't know.

Russia - cold, still drinking you under the table- and thanks to Putin- once again scrutinized Russia offers up a world rich with historical revolutions, distrust and control. I think we're always curious about Russia, but unsure if we should visit. Maybe time will tell, but there have been people going against the Russians in power for centuries as millionaires get richer and richer.

Tanzania - a beautiful and delightful African country that is a treasure trove of history, education and strong opinions. Never are these opinions stronger than in Lions v. Masai tribe. Majestic creatures v. majestic people - whatever tourists want is what will somehow survive in a community that lasted for centuries before outside influence.

Paraguay - The forgotten country of South America filled with tough soil, but plenty of beef. The true history lesson here comes from its string of terrible dictators who challenged huge powers - Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay - and lost not only the war, but land, children, and culture as well.

Liberia - 90s strife has displaced many of its people who hope for change and an end to chaos as it becomes peaceful again slowly. The strange juxtaposition of African people and the only country created by blacks who returned from the USA makes a confused territory that still has a strong people.

Most of all though, I learned that the best parts of the world are its culture. It's not tourist taking over, it's the culture of each countries cuisine, people and history. It's a bigger world than us and I can only hope I have been respecting or treating it correctly.