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truong son cemetery in the dmz | vietnam

I’m currently traveling for the next couple of weeks. I prefer to write about where I’ve been rather than where I am, but I’m kind of excited about this one. I’m in Cuba. It’s part of my Axis of Evil tour. The tour is included on my Travel Bucket List, which is comprised of a number of far flung destinations, compiled by a handful of world leaders and simplified into titles, such as Axis of Evil, that I can easily remember. This probably sounds totally ridiculous, having a Travel Bucket List I mean, but studies show that those with the purpose of something to accomplish in their lives tend to live longer.

Actually, Cuba wasn’t in the original January 2002 Axis of Evil lineup. Cuba didn’t make it’s diabolical appearance until May 2002, when it joined the original Axis of Evil cast along with two others. The new group was titled Beyond the Axis of Evil and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a piece of the evil pie that I don’t want to miss. My goal is to eventually visit all six members of the Axis of Evil and Beyond the Axis of Evil. I was able to check one of the original constituents off the list when I visited the Korean DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) – the border between North and South Korea. Now, I’m on to numero dos.

Thankfully, these days, Cuba’s on of a few of these lists, and apparently, it’s the nexus of any modern-day Axis worth mentioning. Venezuela’s deceased Hugo Chavez included it in his list entitled The Axis of Good. Which means I get to tick one country off two lists with one trip. But what’s really unbelievable, is that there are two diametrically opposed universal forces running right through the middle of this tiny island 90 miles off the coast of Florida. And you have to admit, it’s kind of cool to visit a country that’s central to the Universal Fight Between Good and Evil. I thought that you only found this kind of bullshiznit in Star Wars movies and Tolkien novels, but evidently, you can get it all in Cuba, as well a damn fine Mojito.

Cuba also made it onto another one of my World-Leader-Provided lists – Countries We Have Bombed Silly Since World War II. This list may take me a while to complete since it’s surprisingly long. (Google it. You may be surprised just how long it is.) Speaking of this checklist and former U.S. Presidents from Texas with Rockin’ Foreign Policy Decisions, I took the photo above in the Truong Son Cemetery in the DMZ between North and South Vietnam. And speaking of lists, there are 10,300 names listed on these gravestones. And there are an estimated 300,000 Vietnamese bodies listed as unrecovered in this area alone. Back in Washington D.C., a place that appears on Hugo Chavez’s own Axis of Evil list, is a list of more than 50,000 dead or unrecovered Americans from the same Rockin’ Foreign Policy Decision.

✝Editor’s Note: Though this all sounds too ludicrous to be true, the author is not making this up.

But these kinds of lists with such big numbers and actual lives are difficult for this boy to wrap his head around. Like some of our world leaders, I prefer to keep these things simple. I like to refer to things in the abstract, using words like Good and Evil, Us and Them, to un-complicate my world view. Thanks to some of our world leaders, I have a feeling that I’m not going to run out of these types of lists anytime soon; I feel that I owe them some gratitude for giving an average guy like me, at least until I’m on the wrong side of that list, something to live for.

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