K is for Komodo Dragon
I’ve had a travel list – mostly in my head – for a long as I can remember. Like all meaningful travel lists, its constantly evolving and never shortens. There are destinations on it now that literally did not exist for me as a traveler even a decade ago. In particular, I’m now looking forward to visiting some of the ‘Stans’, Ethiopia and Persepolis in Iran over the next few years.
But doors also close. Sometimes an opportunity is missed. It may be due to natural disasters- hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. or medical warnings – Zika, measles…. And of course, there is civil unrest and political upheaval. Being ever mindful and respectful of the residents of such places who are left dealing with terrible situations, it’s disappointing when somewhere you dreamed of visiting is no longer accessible. For me, it’s happened twice in recent years. We were considering visiting Aleppo and Palmyra in Syria when the war began in March, 2011. Myanmar was at an advanced planning stage when news of the Rohingya crisis broke.
Of all the animals on earth, the one I most want to see in the ‘wild’ is the Komodo Dragon. I really want to go to Komodo Island. Now it seems that authorities are going to close the island to visitors for at least a year. Compared to Syria and Myanmar, this is trivial stuff – this is not a humanitarian crisis and nothing has been destroyed. It seems to be part of the tourism backlash – too many visitors – which coincided with the bust up of a smuggling ring. Not all of the 6000 dragons living in the wild are on Komodo Island itself – they are also found on other islands that make up the national park …. but that’s not the same thing is it!!!
I hope its only for a year – I can wait a year!