August 18, 2005

Who are the ecotourists?

RLC describes his recent ecotourism. What sort of people vacation this way?
The adults were as follows: a philosophy professor, an education professor, a medical doctor, a physics graduate student, a psychotherapist, a psychotherapist in training, a software engineer turned transpersonal therapist in training, and an ex-novelist trying to keep his mouth shut. At times the conversation turned to university politics, and one wondered, “Have I inadvertently booked my vacation in the faculty lounge?” But given the right frame of mind the chat beneath the roof blended with the chatter of monkeys and insects and birds outside. It was life, it was members of a species calling back and forth, “This is my area, this is what I control.”

Do you want monkeys swinging from the rafters while you're trying to eat breakfast? Seems like a heath code violation to me. Except where you are, there is no health code. No hot water or electricity either. Yet somehow RLC calls ecotourism "being coddled in the middle of nowhere."


downtownlad said...

I'm one. I was in Sri Lanka in June, and we had breakfast on a deck in a rain forest overlooking a river. Monkeys were swinging in the trees overhead and we were warned that monkeys had a taste for jam, so we should watch out to make sure they didn't steal our breakfast. They didn't.

It was superb.

bill said...

Sounds like a lovely vacation and Costa Rica is a beautiful country. It isn’t eco-tourism (my wife prefers hot and cold running water), but I can recommend Tamarindo - a touristy surfing town on the Pacific side. One night, having dinner up the road in Brasilito, a nest of baby turtles erupted and we spent dessert watching them make their way to the surf.

Eco style trips are also available in the states. Back in the early 90s, I did a couple trail clearing expeditions in the BWCA with the Kekekabic Trail club. Five days of canoing, camping, hiking, clearing downed trees, and tick removal. Probably the hardest five days I’ve ever worked and loved every minute of it…except the ticks. Though, to be honest my favorite vacation is a windy beach for my kites and a pitcher of adult beverages for my thirst.

Ann Althouse said...

Bill: LOL. Once you say "except the ticks," you're in "other than that how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln" territory for me.

Reif said...

I do. I enjoy a nice beach or city as much as the next guy but I try to make at least half of my destinations very remote. "Being coddled" is a big part of it.

To me, being coddled on an Eco-trip means that someone else carries my gear into the jungle, to the top of the mountain, etc... so that my pack is free for the important things like wine, cheese, scotch, and apples.

There are few greater pleasures than sipping on a nice single malt, with ice that you’ve hacked from a glacier, watching the sunset over a remote alpine lake.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Ruth Anne: Actually, he never wanted to do things like that when we were together. The closest thing he wanted to do to roughing it when I lived with him was go on picnics. Which was a bit much for me, I'll admit.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I'm with Reif except I prefer Maker's Mark. I like your commenters on this one.

BTW I've posted photographs of the accommodations and of the Drake Bay airstrip to give you a laugh.

Ann Althouse said...

Richard, these are your first photos ever. I must admit I found the accommodations frightening!

BTW, I bought an $84 bottle of Scotch recently!

Walter said...

Why does "eco-tourism" look just like people roughing it and then building a rationalization that says "I'm not on vaction, I'm helping nature by being an ecotourist"?

Bill: what you define ecotourism as?

bill said...

Ecotourism? Generally I'd call it an expensive field trip in the wilderness with guides. A mostly no risk adventure off the grid, allowing you to pretend your actions are benefitting the indigenous population and that you are not behaving like the ugly americans you know your neighbors to be. Sort of what Albert Brooks referred to as "touching the Indians" in Lost in America.

I'm not saying there aren't tours I wouldn't enjoy, but what qualifies as ecotourism is really being stretched.

Anyway, my visit to Costa Rica was at a resort with its own water treatment facility and golf course. We took bus tours to Arenal and cabs to Tamarindo for surfing. None of that qualifies as ecotourism.

Trail clearing in the boundary waters was also not ecotourism. That was work.