I bought my mom a book on the [world's most dangerous places](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0062737384/sr=1-2/002-5547113-1219215). Because she's been to most of them. So I was entertained by [this article] in Foreign Policy magazine entitled [Top Tourist Spots Americans Cant Visit](http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4328)

I spent every friday (Muslim Holy day) at the beaches in Somalia when I lived there in the 80s.

Mogadishus Beaches

Location: Somalias east coast

Why you should go: The beaches that separate Mogadishu from the Indian Ocean rank among the most beautiful stretches of sand in the world, say many of the very few Western travelers who ever venture there. Coral reefs teeming with fish are easily accessible from the shore (although tourists pursuing aquatic leisure should leave all valuables at home in case their boat is hijacked by pirates). Back in Mogadishu, visitors can find virtually anything in the citys outdoor marketsexcept peace of mind. A 2004 Economist article noted that hand grenades go for a mere $10, and other popular items include antiaircraft guns and mortars.

Why you cant: Because a good day in Somalia is the worst day of your life almost anywhere else. The constant state of anarchy, lawlessness, and piracy is usually enough to deter most folks from traveling to Somalia, the worlds third most failed state, according to the 2007 Failed States Index. Michael Sailor of intrepid travel agency Abercrombie & Kent perhaps puts it best when he says that Somalia is not exactly a top-of-mind recognition for a travel destination. The U.S. government does not maintain any consular presence in Mogadishu, so an American in trouble is likely to stay there. Most troubling is the fact that with little recognized, governing authority in Somalia, simply identifying which of the seemingly endless string of warlords and criminals has just kidnapped you is an important first step in negotiating your release. Still, the water is lovely.


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10 June 2008