WARNING! The following page contains spoilers for the lore of Worlds Adrift
Section 1 MISSING
Generally tourism is good for Bandinia, though it does necessitate desperation in many. Too often you are led into traps, sometimes set by entire families, to make you part with your cash. Often children are used as a lure, to induce your pity or get your attention.
You can exchange currencies only at the bureaus in Darat, which will be the first thing you want to do. The rates are unreasonable, but worse, it is believed a lot of the money is diverted directly into the coffers of the corrupt royal family.
All-in-all Bandinia can be expensive, or very cheap, it's up to you to get the best value you can. At first the landscape may seem barren and unkind, one of the craggy sheep hills and dusty mountain passes. But if you head to Driss in the south, a dune-like landscape unfurls, and where the ocean laps the shore, sumac and ocotillo grow.
Navigating will require either a private skyship (which you can hire cheaply), or a guide and some mules (even cheaper). There are some interesting table-rock formations in the north west which jut upward above the dried-up river valleys. The old ports of the west coast are also a little-known delight, where stories abound of Bandini sailors trading with a mysterious sea-kingdom. They must be very mysterious indeed, since there is nothing west of Bandinia on any map I've ever seen.
Places to Stay
In the cities, the best places to stay are probably family homes. The ramshackle hotels cost five times more, or ten, in the case of the avoid-at-all-costs "royal" hotels. In the evening if you wait at the clocktower in Darat's central square, you can be sure a local will approach you. Remember to stick to the negotiation rules in the introduction to the the right price.
Before long you will likely find yourself dining on authentic Bandini cuisine, and even meeting some of your hosts' extended family. Bandini families are often huge, possibly a reaction to the genocide that followed the failed incursion into Sabor by the Bandinian General Alkabar.
The Waterguji market food is spectactular, the aromas of spices so readily used in the Bandinian cuisine wafting throughout. Driss market isn't quite as big, but benefits from the coast, in that there is heaps of fresh seafood. Anything outside of the cities will be very rustic, and sometimes difficult to stomach. The East Bandinian fascination for eating monkey ears, for example, was one that was lost on me. The thing is, Bandinians do know taste, and for the most part, you should just trust instincts, if something smells good, don't be afraid to try it.
My favourite dish is Ariai, a one-pot stew made with lamb, peas, mint and ogballs. It is a staple you will almost certainly encounter if staying in a family home.
The Bandini are a hard-working people, but they are also the creators of Foundation's best-known sport, lallara, a ball game that takes place inside a small square court. The sport is an international hit, and there is even a Verduban team (The Icebreakers). The court areas of Darat is known as Lallaralata, and is among the most developed and affluent parts of the city. Sadly much of this is an illusion, since most money in Bandinia lines the pockets of the few.
Obviously the open markets of Darat are superb, but don't forget to make a stop at the palace of the three popels, gigantic shields made of brass which adorning its domed roof.
In Driss, the Statues of Alacute, is a reminder that we should be very respectful of Bandinian History. These statues date from long before the Gallish calander began. Estimates vary, but some say these are as much as 10,000 years old. They are sealed in behind a wooden wall, to prevent wind-erosion.
For horror-trills, trek between shacks along Skeletal Pass in the Amum mountains, spending the night at each stop. It is rumoured that the skeletons after which the pass is named appear after midnight and recreate the battles that took place when General Alkabar was finally driving back to Bandinia by the armies of Sabor.
The Bandini believe in a god for almost every aspect of life. Their gods are cruel and merciless, and think themselves superior to mortals, even though they'd make the worst mortals of all. Still, the Bandini celebrate them with a kind of fateful ambivalence, and nowhere is this more enthralling then along the banks of the Driss river, where a seemingly endless mural that travels through the city and up the estuary to the sea depicts the entire mythology of the gods. If you don't have time to see it from start to finish, arguably the best section appears just before the city limits on the way to the sea. I am told this chaotic and fiery design was inked as long ago as the 1200s, a time when Bandinia had scarcely recovered from the Saborian genocide. It is preserved in a coating of resin once every twenty years.
Watch Out For
Penitents - Avoid the river bank in Darat, since the "yellow-blood" river is the haunt of a particularly despicable group of Bandinians. These are the yellow-blood penitents whose interpretation of Bandinian school teaching is taken to the extremes. They self-flagellate, causing harm to themselves in the hope that it will one day ease the burden of guilt felt by Bandinians over their past.
It is worth noting that many Bandinians hold a similar, though more moderate view, since the Bandini school curriculum is still heavily vetted by Sabor. This is a peculiar arrangement, but one believed key to a lasting peace between the nations.
Litter - Litter and detrius is everywhere in Bandinia, a problem not helped by the lack of infrastructure, and a general carelessness about personal hygiene. Wash your hands often, drink only fresh running water, or boiled water, and keep your feet well-covered.
Heat - As you head out into the desert, always carry water with you, as while there are plenty of oases in the desert basins, you may find the water is toxic. Temperatures in direct sunlight can be unbearable, so take a good broad hat (like a Tarrery hat) if you are unfamiliar with it.
Illness - It is common to pick up a bug when in Bandinia, and if you do, it is better to deal with it yourself since reports of medical care sound terrifying. But do not let any of that intimidate you into not making a trip. Bandinians are lovely, incredibly humble people, who are welcoming and kind.