Sunday, April 5, 2009

Finally, Some Spare Time to Ramble

As April begins I'm about to start another month with a bunch of travel in it. During February I visited Toronto, Dallas, Washington DC/Virginia, and New Delhi, India. The travel is always interesting but in a month like that where I spend more days away from home than at home, sometimes I wish it were less. That said, there's also been some amazing bits of the planet I've seen.

Above is the Lotus Temple on the outskirts of Delhi. It is the home of the B'ahai faith and an amazing bit of architecture. As you get close to the temple, you take off your shoes and walk barefoot until you come back out. The B'ahai are a very welcoming religion so, once inside, basically anyone from anywhere can get up at the mic and say whatever they want. People step and sing Christian hymns, speak prayers in Hindi, or chant from the Torah while everyone sits in silence. Not a bad concept.
The other side of Delhi still disturbs me even after multiple visits there. This kid is one of a great many who appear at your car window, knocking on the glass and hoping you'll give them something. Our Indian hosts tell us not to give them anything and, if we can manage, not to even look at them. They tell us they're professionals and are looking for foreigners as targets. After seeing "Slumdog Millionaire" I wonder... but it still rips my heart out to see this people with nothing but misery in their lives.

In my last post I promised some shots of Greece. Here they are.

It was such a gorgeous and sunny day when I found this elderly cab driver who offered to give me a personal tour of Athens. His name was Cosmos, which I thought was completely cool, so I took him up on it. Withing the span of a couple of hours he expertly whisked me around the city, which is no easy feat. We visited the Temple of Zeus (right), the Olympic Stadium (where the guy who ran the first marathon dropped dead after announcing the Athenian's victory over the Persians), the Presidential Palace, and the Acropolis. At the Acropolis, Cosmos dropped me off at the bottom and invited me to walk up alone so I could get the full effect. I hiked the marble path to the top and as I stepped through the ancient, columned gate... there was the Parthenon with this wild, eye-level cloud formation. Walking by myself, I was stunned by what I was looking at. All that history and the distance of time couldn't erase my feeling that this was a real place, with real people, living their version of real life 2,500 years ago. It must have been crazy days.

Knowing I was American, Cosmos also pointed out that America would not exist if not for this place where people lived so long ago and dreamed up a society where people had a say in how things went. So different from the kings and dictators of the day... or any day for that matter. He pointed out that when 10,000 Athenian soldiers defeated 120,000 Persians that all of history hung on that battle. If the Persians would have won at Marathon, they would have marched on the city, pillaged and burned the place, raped and carried away the women, killed the men and boys. Socrates who taught Plato who taught Aristotle who taught Alexander the Great were all living in Athens at that time. If the Persians would have won, they would have likely killed them all in one swoop. Wow... something to think about indeed.

My last trip - at least until the next one - was to Cancun. It was an all-inclusive place and the trip was entirely paid for by Sprint. Unbelievably great weather at an unbelievably beautiful place. Eight restaurants, seven pools, 24/7 room service, all the tequila and mango margaritas you could handle. So when all is said and done, I guess this traveling thing isn't so bad after all.

1 comment:

Johnny Nutcase said...

mango margaritas! good pics! you're overseas again now aren't ya! you're becoming nomadic as well. safe travels!