Sunday, 22 November 2015

30 days in November 22...

Today is:

International aura awareness day

I don’t know where I stand on auras having never seen anyone with a rainbow, or even a halo, surrounding them. Of course if the people who make Ready Brek are to be believed it’s easy to achieve. A bowl or two of gooey instant porridge and we are all set to glow like a resident of Chernobyl.

These days Chernobyl is more theme park than nuclear disaster zone. You can take tours of the area which includes a visit to the Nuclear Power Station, a little sightseeing of Reactor 4, a visit to Pripyat (the highlight of the trip apparently) and sightseeing of  ‘The Dead (Ghost) Town’ with its swimming pool area, Ferris wheel, amusement park, river boats, abandoned buildings and school. Unfortunately, due to the hazardous radiation levels around it the village of Rossokha, a cemetery of military machineries, is currently unavailable, which is encouraging.

Of course, it’s all perfectly safe or so they say. At the end of the tour you pass through the Dytyatky check-point where your radiation is checked and you are deactivated. Of course, along with your camera to take pictures you are allowed a personal dosimeter to measure exposure to your very own personal ionizing radiation.

Chernobyl  was over 25 years ago now and since then ‘Disaster Tourism’ has become quite the thing. You can get tours of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina or visit Eyjafjallajökul which erupted in Iceland in 2010, and there’s still plenty of destruction to see at Bikini Atoll, the site of the first nuclear bomb test, if you can get a diving permit. Belsen draws almost half a million visitors each year, the 9/11 Memorial Museum has had four million visitors since it opened in May 2014 and of course tourists have been visiting Pompeii to see the ashes since the volcanic eruption happened in 79 AD.

Now I don’t know how you feel about disaster tourism, but as far as I can see it isn’t so very different to slowing down on the motorway to stare at the crash on the opposite carriageway. I’m sure that there’s an argument to say that it’s all very worthy, that it’s history, that people go to show respect rather than out of idle curiosity, but if I’m honest I think that is mainly nonsense and I have to question what it does for your aura.

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