A Solo Journey Around the World – a “Han”solo journey


by Bowen Craig

In Athens Uncharted’s ongoing attempt to attract e-visitors from around the world, I, and my cohort, Mark Katzman, have decided to appeal directly to various countries. So far, we’ve begged residents of Zanzibar, Burma, Moldova, and Belize to check out the site…despite the undeniable fact that there’s no rational reason we can think of for them to visit a website devoted to the Athens, Georgia art scene.  

We’ve also celebrated our one, lone visitor from the English Channel island of Guernsey. Please, Guernsey Dude, if you’re reading this, tell your friends, your family, and all the people who routinely send you cow jokes from around the world to check out Athens Uncharted, what else are you going to do? It gets cold and lonely on non-Caribbean islands.

In that same spirit, we shall continue to write come-hither odes to other far-flung places on this wondrous, spinning planet to join us. Maybe in twenty or thirty years we’ll have covered everywhere. 

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For the first lure article we listed Kevin Costner film recommendations in a rather lame attempt to lure people to AU. Although it has in no way worked, we remain undaunted. I thought we’d try Harrison Ford movies this time. Why not? He’s universally considered a pretty damn cool guy. The man flies helicopters for fun in his down time. Sure, The FAA won’t let him bring a wookie co-pilot onboard, but it’s still a pretty bad-ass hobby.  


Dearest Laotians, we welcome your patronage of Athens Uncharted. What little we know of your fair country, you guys are sandwiched between Vietnam, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Burma (which I refuse to call Myanmar because Burma is a much-cooler name). That sounds rough. Every country you border gets more worldwide press. You guys must feel like Southeast Asia’s little brother on the playground, desperately wanting to join the kickball tournament, always getting picked last for the vaunted UN strip poker games, and just generally experiencing a never-ending inferiority complex in relation to your neighbors. Well, no more! I say “Nay” to such nonsense. Say it with me, Laos, “NAY!”

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Laos, you’ve got some good stuff going for you: electric power (Take that, Kurdistan), enough water buffalo to open the region’s slowest petting zoo, coffee production, gypsum (and honestly, who doesn’t love gypsum?). You grow a healthy chunk of the world’s opium. America’s pharmaceutical concerns and our ever-growing needle-drug user population would like to thank you for that. 

Your flag could use an upgrade. It’s a blue patch with a white circle surrounded by two red patches. I’m sure the design has local significance, but how will we know what that might be unless one of you logs on and visits Athens Uncharted. 

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Your Harrison Ford movie recommendation is the early-80’s science fiction masterpiece Blade Runner. There’s plenty of pre-computer graphic special effects, a sense of desperation about how to survive in tough circumstances, plus Darryl Hannah in her prime. That girl was THE sex symbol of an era, and that’s what we at AU want for you. Laotian Sexy would look pretty cool on a tee-shirt, would it not? And you’ve already got a trained and dedicated workforce of seven-year-olds to sew the shirts. (I know the rest of the world gives you shit for it, but we’re the raging hypocrites who wear the tee-shirts, so you’ve got nothing to worry about, plus it takes tiny hands to make those tiny stitches.)


When a wide-eyed, curious, five-year-old boy first sees a map of Africa, he inevitably notices two things: Madagascar looks freaking awesome and what are those two little circular countries doing there in the middle of South Africa? 

Well, as one of those two little circular countries embedded in the larger, more powerful country of South Africa, I must say to you, Swaziland, you guys are pretty impressive. Even just your very existence is impressive. With just 17,364 square kilometers (6,704 sq. miles) of land, you guys are bigger than Hawaii, though your surfing is notably worse, probably due mainly to your lack of ocean. Being landlocked can be rough. Being landlocked AND being totally surrounded by people who have repeatedly tried to gobble you whole is even rougher. 

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But hey, be proud, Swaziland. You’ve resisted Zulu raids and South African annexation bids. That alone is an accomplishment. You’re damn good at mining. You raise tobacco, sugarcane, cattle and export soft drink concentrates. And while I have absolutely no clue what soft drink concentrates are, people do love soda and, unless Bacardi drops Rum & Coke in favor of Rum & Pink Grapefruit Juice in the next few years, no one’s going to stop drinking your concentrate any time soon, so you’ve got that going for you. Also, I hear that morula nut beer you make can get a man absolutely wrecked.  

May we recommend the classic 1970’s war movie/cautionary tale Apocaylpse Now as our Harrison Ford pick specifically for you. Granted, Harrison only plays a bit part in it, but the spirit OF Harrison is all throughout the film. Adventure, cunning, Marlon Brando in his best role ever as a fat guy, a modern retelling of the Joseph Conrad gloomy adventure book Heart of Darkness, giving this movie choice a mildly-African connection. I would’ve picked a Harrison movie where the bad guys are South African or Zulu, but there isn’t one. The man can only make so many movies.


You guys have had a strange history. For most of your life things were pretty smooth. You’re going along, herding your sheep, fishing your cod, doing your best to stay warm, which I imagine is not so easy when you’re as close to Antarctica as you are. Much as it was for Quaaludes and Culture Club front man Boy George, the early 1980’s were a hectic time for you Falklanders.  

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In 1982 Argentina and Britain went to war to see who could run your lives from a distance. It was one of the weirder wars out there. You’re only a smattering of Southern islands, just 4,700 square miles, with only around 1,900 people and a shitload of sheep, and then two major world powers begin shooting each other so that they can be the ones to tell you what to do, which flag to fly (and to spit on when they’re not looking), which money to use, which bedtime story monsters to scare your children with (Juan Peron and Margaret Thatcher both did equally scary stuff, but Thatcher’s picture is just way scarier), and yet these two countries’ militaries started killing each other over you. It must’ve been quite confusing. 

By the time Argentina surrendered, 750 Argentineans had died, 255 Brits had gone on to that great Tea Time in the Sky, and 3 of you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, as well. Britain won the right to tell you that the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia Islands were no longer part of you. If anyone in Valdosta, Georgia had known there was such a place as the South Georgia Islands, a marauding band of angry, gun-totin’ rednecks would’ve sailed down and tailgated the war. We like watching stuff blow up here in Georgia

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But hey, things are not so bad down your way, Falklandistas. You’ve got squid and sea lions and a bunch of rock-hopping penguins. People sail to you to watch your penguins, because we think they’re funny and classy, so much so that we designed our human formal wear to look kind of like them. Check out Athens Uncharted, Falklands, and we’ll write more odes to your interesting islands.

Also, be sure to check out Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, generally considered the worst of the Indiana Jones movies, but Harrison is always good, no matter how bad the script is. And it’s a movie about a bunch of determined and well-armed outsiders finding an alien artifact in the middle of a once-placid jungle area and just blowing the crap out of each other, while the locals marveled and wondered just what the hell the fuss was all about. I’m guessing you can relate.  

So, those are Athens Uncharted’s three countries for today. Yes, I know that the Falklands are technically not their own country, but damn it, they should be. If you’d like help throwing off the fading colonial yoke of Great Britain, contact us at Athens Uncharted and we’ll send Harrison Ford down there in a helicopter. Once he’s over International Waters, there are no stupid prohibitions about wookies in the cockpit, so I like your chances.