Glad to Have Seen It. Glad to Leave.

Pertinent to the previous post, and worth a read, is today's Ask the Pilot column by Patrick Smith in Salon. Smith visited a slum south of Dakar, Senegal, and wrote, "In the end I was glad to have seen it. And I was just as glad to leave."

Know what he means. A couple of places come to mind where I've thought the same thing. Pictures after the jump.

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We hired a driver to visit Pirallahi Island near Baku, Azerbaijan, to see the ravages of Soviet-era environmental practices in the oil business. Went to take pictures, happy to leave.

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Outside Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the setting was lovely and the people appeared happy enough, and as you can see, vividly colorful. These were Burkinabe, immigrants from neighboring, and poorer, Burkina Faso, who washed other peoples' clothes for a living.

It wasn't the Burkinabe, but local boys whose own economic degradation, if you're looking for an excuse, drove them to essentially demand protection money for our being allowed to stand on that hillside. Glad to see the scene, would have stayed longer, but given the physically threatening circumstances, glad to leave.

More photos of the Azeri oil industry in's Azerbaijan gallery.

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