Watching a TV show last night, I realized that there are several places in the world I would like to visit and never will.
-- The Orkney Islands, the focus of the TV show. Partly because it is a neat name. Partly because the pagan ruins there tell the tale of a people who existed 5,000 years ago, never lived much beyond 25, and whose habit may have been to leave corpses out to be picked clean by the resident sea eagles before immuring them in burial mounds ... mounds to be (possibly) visited by descendants who would fondle the bones as a means of asserting a past and also as a means of touching the future. The guessed-at rituals reminded me of the Buddhist monks who, in the high mountains, sometimes chop up the remains of deceased fellow monks and leave the result as fodder for the vultures.
-- Tierra del Fuego, also because it is a neat name for a place where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans collide and, although there might be nothing of note to see -- no actual demarcation line between one ocean and another -- still, standing the place of the thunderously invisible is inviting in my mind. I assume, but don't know, that there must be volcanoes in the neighborhood ... where else would the "fire" of "Tierra del fuego" come from?
-- Afghanistan, terminus of the old Silk Route ... a real cultural melting pot, however decimated it may have become under the insistence of latter-day Muslims intent on their own branding irons. As Hollywood airheads might croon that a particular club or restaurant was "the place to be," Afghanistan stands in my mind as a place where everyone met and mingled and enriched each other like the waters off Tierra del Fuego.