Saturday, June 27, 2015

Reunion Island

Try looking up Reunion on the Internet and you will be sent to a thousand college and high school alumni pages, and then, inevitably, appealed to for a generous donation to support the institution’s football team - you may even be asked to support its academic departments, though this is unusual for American colleges, where Masters degrees in golf and full-time PhDs in quarterbacking are now the highest aspiration of the majority. 

Finding Reunion Island in the reality of the Indian Ocean is equally difficult – it is located to the east of Madagascar and to the south of Mauritius; and of course, being that close to Le Havre and Calais, it's French, though it was once Portuguese. It was also, once, briefly, used as a penal colony; once, briefly, named Ile Bourbon; once, briefly, the victim of a mosquito-borne disease called chikungunya; and many more than once the recipient of lava from the Piton de la Fournaise, a shield volcano formed from a hotspot volcano on the other side of the island named the Piton des Neiges, which is now extinct; and no, I am not able to explain what a shield volcano or a hotspot volcano are, but I can state categorically that you cannot have absolute opposites in the same place and at the same time, and therefore you cannot have shield and hotspot volcanoes simultaneously with intelligent design.

It isn't the volcanoes, however, which make Reunion Island one of the world's top danger-spots. And no, it isn't Islamic terrorism either. It's the sharks - and I don't mean the sharks who try to sell you insurance policies or extended warranties or shares in their Ponzi scheme. Real sharks. Jaws' cousins. Surfing has been banned, and a mass-cull is under way, to protect the island's most endangered species - tourists - from the world's most endangered species, Nature.

Marks for: 11.3 billion (the amount in pounds sterling that France contributes to Reunion Island every year)

Marks against: 170 (the number of times Piton has erupted since records were first kept, which was in the 17th century)

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

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