March 06, 2005

The Country Without Ruins

We like to visit countries that have ruins. Mexico and Guatemala have Mayan ruins and the Andean nations have Inca ruins. Italy has Roman ruins and so do England and Morocco and Tunisia and Spain—those Romans put ruins everywhere. Greece has Greek ruins. Israel and Egypt have ruins. China has ruins, India and Thailand have ruins. Some countries have more than one kind of ruin—for example, England also has ancient British ruins, and I’ve read that until very recently there were even some vacant lots and melted railings left from the blitz.

This year we want to travel to Costa Rica. It has everything: swimming, snorkeling, rain forest, dolphins, fish, monkeys, a nice little city, lovely weather, pleasant people, low cost of living, democratic government, and peace. It doesn’t have any ruins, though. No conqueror has ever razed Costa Rica. No horde has ever swept through it, burning and pillaging. Drought or plague have never caused its people to flee, leaving their homes and temples to rot. It’s too bad, because we like to see ruins.