The Things You Miss When You’re Away

Catching up on a few things, since we've been away:

– It seems that the archepelagic nation of Kiribati has bought 25 square kilometres on Viti Levu, the main Fijian island, in case, well, Kiribati disappears. Climate change insurance.

Nice piece from photographer Tim McKulka on the two Sudans. He spent five years traveling and taking pictures there. That's dedication.

– The closest land is Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, 1,090 miles (1,750 km) away. It's the most remote island in the world.

This looks pretty terrible, even outdoing Apsley Cherry-Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World (which, by the way, is free on Kindle).

– Looks like the northern – and southern – lights were active while we were away from the internet in Cuba. It's hard to believe this photo is real.

South Sudan Born Today

SouthSudanFlag It's fun to have a new country in the world. It just somehow seems like progress.

Despite all the challenges ahead, welcome, Republic of South Sudan, to the community of nations as of today, your new Independence Day.

Want to be the first intrepid traveler you know to visit? Here are a few (there are only a few) travel planning resources, including the very few airlines and hotels and two articles (1, 2) about plans for future South Sudan safaris.

Let’s All Go to South Sudan lists 249 countries in the world. Wikipedia lists 203 soverign states.

On 9 July, add one. It's time to plan your trip to welcome South Sudan to the community of nations.

First you'll need to get there, then you'll need a place to stay.

There are flights on Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, EgyptAir and the new (2007) national airline of Uganda, Air Uganda from Entebbe.

Among hotels, the Logali House is best rated. There's the Oasis Camp down by the Nile. Virtual Tourist reviews Juba hotels, and Juba Travel Guide has a few more.

There are a few travel resources on the web. There are Juba travel guides from Wikitravel and VirtualTourist, and a lovingly locally produced guide by T.G. Wang'ombe called JubaTravelGuide.

Juba is the only city most anybody can name in South Sudan, and yet it may not remain the capital. The International Business Times reports that:

"South Sudanese leaders said on Sunday they were considering building a new capital after their expected independence as the current hub Juba lacked infrastructure and space for new business."

Just after the collapse of Yugoslavia the provincial capitals of Ljubljana and Podgorica, in particular, seemed unlikely national capitals (of Slovenia and Montenegro, respectively), and so, surely, does Juba right now. Newser unkindly calls it "the mud-hut town of Juba" in an article about some of the things Juba will need:

"Juba is oil-rich but lacks the embassies and skyscrapers of other world capitals. There was only a mile or two of pavement here just a year ago, and the local archives are stored in a tent."

There are other towns in South Sudan. You just can't name any. But the Financial Times can. They've been outside Juba:

"The Grand Hotel Bentiu, in the capital city of Unity state about 900km north of Juba, is a case in point. The hotel might have bucket showers and curtains tethered with cut-off plastic bottles, but it counts as five stars in the dusty town of rickshaws and thatch."

More articles:

Q&A-Is south Sudan ready for independence?

SCENARIOS – Sudan to split – but what happens next?

South Sudan: A Country Is Born