kiribati is like baltimore, just chopped into 32 pieces

I’m listening to J. Maarten Troost’s memoir The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific (which – incidentally – has nothing to do with anyone’s sex life). I find the book ultimately not nearly as fun as it should be (more on that later), but I enjoyed his characterization of the nation of Kiribati, made friendly to the U.S. audience:

To picture Kiribati, imagine that the continental U.S. were to conveniently disappear leaving only Baltimore and a vast swath of very blue ocean in its place. Now chop up Baltimore into thirty-three pieces, place a neighborhood where Maine used to be, another where California once was, and so on until you have thirty-three pieces of Baltimore dispersed in such a way so as to ensure that 32/33 of Baltimorians will never attend an Orioles game again. Now take away electricity, running water, toilets, television, restaurants, buildings, and airplanes (except for two very old prop planes, tended by people who have no word for “maintenance”). Replace with thatch. Flatten all land into a uniform two feet above sea level. Toy with islands by melting polar ice caps. Add palm trees. Sprinkle with hepatitis A, B, and C. Stir in dengue fever and intestinal parasites. Take away doctors. Isolate and bake at a constant temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The result is the Republic of Kiribati. (p15-16)

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