Thailand is the last resort for the Space Age tourist.


This is where you end up when the trip is drawing to a close. This is where you get those Social Security checks sent. I’m not ready for that. Actually, where I’d really like to go is Madagascar. The idea of Asian forebears on the African coast, speaking an Austronesian language without a clue as to why or wherefore, sounds pretty exotic to me. Maybe they’re the ones who brought the bananas that revolutionized African agriculture that allowed a Bantu expansion that ultimately passed them by and hemmed them in. They weren’t the only ones. The Dutch reached Southernmost Africa before the Bantu speakers, as did the Khoisan speakers, but were eventually overwhelmed by them. The Malagasy have had Bantu and Arab admixtures onto their racial origins, but without losing their traditional culture. On the contrary, from what may have been no more than a single maiden voyage, Malagasy culture has diversified into several distinct lineages and languages, while never losing its mutual inter-connections. It is also a laboratory for biology as well as culture, rivaling the Galapagos Islands for the uniqueness of its species.