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Dc: This is DCR, news meant for amusement. The hole that opens in the ozone layer over Antarctica each southern spring formed earlier and grew bigger this year than ever before. And now the hole is occasionally drifting close to and over populated areas on the southern tip of South America. And that means one terribly ominious thing for the locals. More mindless tourism. Bud Buck reports.
(sfx: ocean and tour boat motor)
Maria: (bullhorn) OK, everybody, we're about 20 seconds away from a No Ozone encounter. 20 seconds!
Bud: (vo) It's a Tuesday afternoon, and a group of tourists from the US, Europe and Japan are aboard the Complete Exposure, a charter boat operated by Maria Solara.
Maria: (bullhorn) Ten seconds, everyone. Ten! Cover yourselves with the foil blankets!
(sfx: hubub moving through crowd)
Maria: Five. Four. Three. Two. One! That's it! We're under it! We're out in the open! The Ozone hole is RIGHT UP THERE!
Maria: Take pictures! Take pictures!
(sfx: lots and lots of clicking)
Bud: (vo) Strange as it may seem, people have been showing extreme interest in visiting the ozone hole at the Earth's southern pole. Why? I asked a few of them to explain.
Tourist 1: Oh, I dunno. Never taken the full spectrum of the sun's rays, I guess. Done everything else to my skin. Piercing. Tattoos. Why not this?
Tourist 2: I wanted to get a picture of it. Is that it right there, you think?
Tourist 3: A faster, deeper tan. That's what I'm hoping for.
Bud: (int) But it's 19 degrees out here.
Tourist 3: I know. I'm a little disappointed. I might ask for a refund, unless the tanning turns out to be as good as they say.
Bud: Anybody else feel that way? A little disappointed? Anybody here with a group?
Tourist 1: I came on a Health Hazard Charter tour. We're visiting 10 sites in three days... Today we've got a nuclear power plant, an asbestos slag heap, a pool of chemical sludge, and this.
Bud: And your first impression?
Tourist 1: I'm impressed at how serious mortal peril from toxic exposure... looks and feels just like an ordinary day.
Tourist 4: I brought a baked potato. I never had any success cooking an egg on the sidewalk, but I thought it would be great if I could tell the grand kids I cooked a potato under the ozone hole. If I'm able to have grand kids. Or kids, first, I should say.
Bud: (vo) Adding to the drama, the commentary of Maria Solara as she piloted the Complete Exposure, trying to keep it under the moving ozone hole.
Maria: (bullhorn) At this moment, you are getting more solar radiation than any human ever before in history, including the astronauts, because they had space suits and you just have these thin straw hats.
Maria: (bullhorn) Once you've taken your pictures, remember, we have sun block on sale at the concession stand. Four ounces for Forty Dollars, American.
Bud: (vo) And so... financially comfortable thrill seekers enjoy the unique experience of over-exposure to the sun's rays in this unusual twist on eco-tourism. They are being educated, appalled, entertained and irradiated, and they seem to be thoroughly enjoying it, even though once they get home, they will have nothing to show for their effort. Or will they? Time will tell. This is Bud Buck!
(sfx: all fade)