Beware the holiday destination of the Darlingtons

The joke among our family and friends is that, when we choose to visit a particular part of the world for our holiday, something dramatic often happens there.

I suppose it started when  we made our first visit to what was then Czechoslovakia in 1988. The following year the country overthrew Communism in its ‘velvet revolution’ which triggered other revolutions in Central & Eastern Europe.

In 2003, we made a visit to Nepal when the Maoist insurgency was still active.The day after our arrival in Kathmandu, the chief of police, his bodyguard and his wife were killed while on an early morning walk on the outskirts of the capital.

in 2008, we made a visit to Cuba. Just two weeks before our departure, Fidel Castro announced that he was stepping down as the world’s longest-serving president after an astonishing 49 years in power.

Then there was our trip to Iran in 2009. When the disputed presidential election led to massive demonstrations and brutality in June, the British Foreign Office advised against travel to Iran and we wondered whether the trip would actually go ahead. Fortunately the domestic situation became calmer and we were able to make the trip in the first week of November  even though this coincided with fresh demonstrations around the 30th anniversary of the taking of the American Embassy hostages.

The saddest occurrence was the follow-up to our trip to Syria in 2011. Just a couple of weeks after our departure, demonstrations started that soon led to armed conflict and then full-scale civil war. This has resulted in the deaths of more than 120,000 people, forced more than two million to flee the country, and devastated the nation’s cities, economy and social fabric.

Less than a year ago, we visited Bangkok as a break on our flight to Australia. The latest news is that demonstrators are planning to bring the city to a halt in  an effort to overthrow the government.

By now, you probably want to know where we are going to visit next. Well, in a couple of weeks, we are going to make a tour of Central America, visiting Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Three of these countries have had brutal civil wars which are now thankfully over, but three have them are ravaged by violent street gangs and drug groups, with two of them having the highest murder rates in the world outside of actual war zones.

I hope to be blogging on our experiences here on NightHawk and we hope to come home safe and sound with some interesting memories.

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