Saturday, June 11, 2005

Massively Boring Post About A Stupid Travel Tip


OK, I'm off to South Korea now. Remarkably, I know even less about this place than I did about Quebec. So I have been doing a little research, i.e. looking at the width of the Lonely Planet guidebook on Korea. Not the actual guidebook, mind you, just the width of the spine.

I'd better explain. In my experience the relative width of the spine of a Lonely Planet guidebook is closely indicative of how interesting a country is - cause it shows how much information the Lonely Planet guide book editors have had to squeeze in. Furthermore, the width of the Lonely Planet guidebook can then be correlated with the population of a country, to give a kind of 'per capita interestingness'.

Look at it like this. The USA is a vast and diverse country, of great interest, so it has - naturally - a pretty damn thick Lonely Planet guidebook, to contain all that interesting info. But Ireland, with a population of about 3 million, has a guidebook only a little smaller, making Ireland a relatively more fascinating country than America.

By contrast, Poland's guidebook is thinner than a supermodel on sulphates, despite Poland's population of about 40m. And quite right too, cause there are only three interesting things in Poland (Auschwitz, the european bison, and an old whalebone in Krakow cathedral. Trust me, I've been there).

By the way, for my British readers, on this Thickness of Lonely Planet Guidebook Interestingness-ometer (TM), Britain is one of the most interesting countries in Europe on an absolute basis (comparable with France and Italy, ahead of Spain and Germany); moreover, the UK's per capita interestingness is probably up there in the global top ten, with Japan, Greece, etc. God Save the Queen!

And where does South Korea fit in? On analysis, it would appear to be really quite a dull place. Though the Koreans do eat dogs, larvae, grasshoppers, and live octopi.
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1 comment:

Blithering Bunny said...

>But Ireland, with a population of about 3 million, has a guidebook only a little smaller, making Ireland a relatively more fascinating country than America

The only problem with this is that most of the travel book companies put out their own guides to many of the American states. The guide to California I bought last year when I was there was itself thicker than the guide to most countries. Added together, these guides would constitute an enormously thick book.