August 5, 2021

"[My husband and I] were fully vaccinated, eager to get out into the world and bent on seeing a bucket list place that, given rising sea levels, may not be around for much longer."

"(More than 80 percent of the islands that make up the Maldives are less than one meter above sea level; it has the lowest terrain of any country in the world.)... The day after we arrived... the wind kicked up and rain blew in, ushering in the sort of storm that eschews rules. 'The classical, typical monsoon is no longer the case.... The rainy season is rather unpredictable because of global environmental changes.' A bummer, but [the new resort] prepared for this: sumptuous interiors, redolent in rose gold and emerald green, a bed that begot naps, a spa that offered a timely 'inner strength and resilience' massage, which felt like being rolled out like a sheet of cookie dough. There was no shortage of gustatory delights: sushi and pasta conceived by Michelin star chefs, biryani as good as its brethren on the subcontinent, a Turkish breakfast buffet with an olive bar that rivaled Whole Foods.... Then there were the classes. Yoga and HIIT, yes, but also: gin tasting, wine tasting, sake tasting.... [O]n our final night, sipping gin and tonics while Bruno Mars played from the speakers... we got to engage in the kind of conviviality that travel offers, and that the pandemic prevented. We shared Netflix recommendations with a bartender from Costa Rica, discussed Dogecoin with a server from the Philippines. 'Pfizer or Moderna?' 'AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson?'"

I'm reading and laughing/crying over "The Maldives Knows Y.O.L.O./The island nation is positioning itself as the place to go to rediscover the beauty of travel. But it needs to convince would-be visitors that it’s more than 'just a beach'" (NYT).

How can any American who flies to the Maldives say anything claiming to care about global warming?  

Why not find a luxury resort closer to home... or just do your indoor spa treatments, yoga classes, gin sipping, olive eating, and listening to pop recordings in your own city? You're telling us we can get "inner strength" from a massage in the Maldives that we can't get at home because... why? It's purely subjective, but it works if you exoticize this sector of the globe. And then, the massage is exotic, but they're piping in Bruno Mars music and the olives are like Whole Foods olives. Utterly unexotic.

The pushers of world travel love to tell you about the people they meet. So broadening! But then they go to resorts where the local people are the bartenders and waiters. And that's "the kind of conviviality that travel offers"!

This might be the most ludicrous travel article I've ever seen in the NYT. The Maldives are on track to fall below ocean level. Is that a reason to refrain from inflicting the gigantic carbon footprint that is your trip or a reason to get right over there before it disappears? According to the NYT, the latter.


Ann Althouse said...

Robert writes:

Not so fast!

Bjorn Lomborg's book, "False Alarm" (2020), chapter 1, p. 22:

" ... it turns out that accretion has beaten out sea level rising on all atolls and all larger islands [throughout the ocean islands realm, including Maldives]. Despite sea level rising over recent decades, all atolls have increased in area, and all the larger islands studied either remained stable or increased in size. [note 7]"

Source is Duvat, Virginie K, Global Assessment of Atoll Island Platform Changes over the Past Decades, [etc.]

But that doesn't make for a very scary story, so popular media leaves that part out.

And they wonder why so few people trust them!

Ann Althouse said...

Lloyd writes:

"Yes, the people who cry about climate change fly wherever they want, and do whatever they want. When they meet on climate, they certainly can't hold all their meetings by Zoom. There is a private jet Davos, but not a Zoom Davos. But it's also a rant in climate skeptic world: are the Maldives in any way more under water than they were 50 years ago? Any photographic proof of that? Surely if there were evidence, we would have seen it by now. And the people at the Maldives are building new coastal resorts? What about the notorious Tuvalu?"

Ann Althouse said...

William writes:

"Your entry about travel to the Maldives made me think of a film I watched some years ago: Untraceable, a thriller about a serial killer who puts his victims in deathtraps whose deadliness is augmented every time someone logs on to look at them on streaming video (for example, a logon drips acid into a water tank in which a victim is immersed). It was a very tense film, but also I thought its economic model was chillingly plausible. I think you can see the analogy . . ."

I'll say:

I'm publishing this, because it's an interesting situation, but I'm not really seeing how the analogy links up. Maybe other readers will see it.

Ann Althouse said...

Ted writes:

"To be fair to this writer, she had originally intended to fly to the Maldives from (relatively) nearby New Delhi -- where she had planned to attend her grandfather-in-law's 100th birthday party before COVID got in the way -- so much of the journey's carbon footprint could have been attributed to that marginally more defensible event.

"I personally can feel some sympathy for a travel journalist whose plum New York Times assignment got rained out, but who still had to write about something (while a plethora of local tourism agents and hotel PR representatives were probably breathing down her neck). When you have nothing to say but 1,500 words to say it in, that's when you end up writing about the exotic pleasures of yoga and olive bars."

I'll say:

She is writing to recommend the place for others, so her personal situation pales compared to what she is encouraging in the NYT.

Ann Althouse said...

Temujin writes:

"You wrote about Bobos the other day. Even the author of the book, Bobos in Paradise, is disappointed how they all turned out. I can tell you that from my seat, our current edition of Liberal/Progressive Elites are the worst kind of person we've ever created, aside from the obvious Giants of Evil (no, I don't mean Dick Cheney. I mean the real thing.). Today's Bobos are worse- much worse- than the old Conservative industrial barons who, as the elites from another era, spent time in country clubs and bottles of scotch. But they did produce things. Today's elite are both evil and deranged, predictable, almost stereotypical, yet somehow full of themselves, as if millions can remove the blemish on a soul.

"I've got a relative in New York who is afraid for us living in Florida. She fears it's being swallowed up by the ocean and hopes our home is miles from the shore. She's seen the film on NBC of streets in Miami filling up with water. so...Florida must be sinking. It's not- no matter how many times NBC pulls out that clip when we're getting storms here. That said, I'm not sure of the Maldives situation, but I'll bet that by the time our shift on earth is done it'll still be there and people from her neck of the woods will have moved on from the dreary Maldives to something more respected, something more topical, something written about in Travel or The New York Times or by Jennifer Tuffen.

"There are many luxury resorts in the Maldives. A good one can run anywhere from $1900 per night up to $27,500 per night. That is again- per night. So, yes, for that I would like a gin tasting. And then some. An entire world awaits. There are amazing places to visit all over the world, including- dare I say?- right here in the USA. Amazing beauty to see in places that a person from Westport would not even consider because, one would have to acknowledge there are places west of Connecticut (beside Park City, UT) and one doesn't like to think about such things. By the way, the author of this piece claims that she coined the term "slash generation", which is something I'd not heard of, but then I'm treading water in Florida.

"Can someone at least get me a gin & tonic?"

Ann Althouse said...

Omaha1 writes:

"Without even reading your whole post, I somehow knew it was from the NYT. It is fretting about both COVID and also GLOBAL WARMING. Hint if you are worried about COVID or global warming, don't fly to the Maldives."

Ann Althouse said...

William helps me with that analogy (seen above):

"The people who can't resist flying to environmentally threatened sites to see them even though flying there worsens the threat correspond to the people who can't resist logging on to watch somebody die a painful death even though their logging on accelerates the painful death and arguably is complicit in it."

Ann Althouse said...

From a reader who wants anonymity:

"As someone who actually lives in Westport, I think Temujin has concisely described an awful lot of my neighbors. The suffocating combination of wealth, ignorance, smugness, virtue signaling, faux worldliness, and insularity is a daily staple."

Ann Althouse said...

surfed writes:

"First it was the Australians and then soon followed by the rest of the word - surfing the Maldives has been going on close to 50 years. Those islands are at the same level above water that they have been for all of those 50 years - one meter. No more - no less.
Fabulous surfing breaks stretch up and down the atolls of the Maldives.
Cowabunga all you late comers. "

Richard Aubrey said...

dI expect she presumes, rightly, that her audience values publicly-declared caring as the only thing that matters. Although I suspect forcing others into inconvenience as evidence of even more caring is probably right up there.

Rockport Conservative said...

Someone who actually lives in Westport has described my granddaughters, grandnieces and a few nephews to a T. That is exactly the attitude they have. Very hard to take when you know they were brought up differently and were brainwashed, I mean that literally, in university and grad schools. They all have empathetic hearts of gold, when what they really need is a clear vision of reality.

Ann, I am not accusing you of the brainwashing, nor am I accusing my husband who was a university professor for 30 years. He retired a little early in 1997 because he saw what universities were becoming.