Frommer’s: Travel Experts in the 50s
Yesterday, I ran across Cyber Cossack’s recent post that sounded too bad to be true — until I saw what I saw.
As you can see, the post-Soviet reality has somewhat eluded Frommer's, one of America’s best sources on travel. Click here to view the original map displayed on the site.
Strangely enough, the map imparts a bizarre sense of history. While the Baltic states, of which only Estonia is identified, appear to be an entity separate from Russia, neither Ukraine nor Belarus enjoys the same status. (Washington recognized Ukraine’s independence on Dec. 25, 1991, a few weeks after the leaders of the major Soviet republics signed the Belovezhsky Treaty disbanding the USSR.)
By that time, Germany was unified, as shown in the map, but former Yugoslavia republics were still struggling to find their way to the world map. At best, one can look to this map as a chronologically inconsistent snapshot of Europe circa 1991. Being 16 years too old, this map belongs in an archive, not on an active site devoted to travel. (Unless, of course, the site deals with time travel.)
This discovery prompted me to write a letter of complaint, suggesting that the site’s slogan be changed to “Travel Experts in the 50s.”
Some numbers indeed have remained quite stable during the last 50 years, though. While Europe on 5 Dollars a Day is a relic of the past, Ukraine on 5 Dollars a Day is the lot of millions of Ukrainians.
P.S. After I shared this map with Strange Maps, I received the following response from Darrel Jones:
Missing from Taras’s map (see #19, above):Well, I guess, Ukraine is a slightly different case. The absence of travel opportunities could account for such “unidentified” countries as Latvia and Lithuania, which are shown as blank spaces with set borders.
Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine
Appearing but unlabelled (apparently because there are no “travel opportunies”, i.e., tours, in that country): Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Albania.
But when it comes to Ukraine — a country the size of France/Texas with a population of 46 million — one can find no corresponding blank space. Ukraine’s borders and the country itself are totally missing from that map. (Belarus and Moldova are accorded the same treatment.)
Instead, we have a big Russia: a red space whose borders match the Soviet Union’s, less the Baltics. Which makes this map ubber strange: the U.S. recognized Ukraine’s independence on Dec. 25, 1991, a mere three months after it reestablished diplomatic ties with the Baltics.