Abstract Chatter

A Traveler for All Things Beautiful
May 28, 2010, 9:35 pm
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It’s been so long that I almost forgot the password to my WordPress account. Constrained in this academic environment, I haven’t had this sense of release in so long, and it almost made me forget about the things that I enjoy. Hearing my conscious speak its mind as I type out my thoughts… is indescribable.

What comes to mind today is tourism. I had such an immense hatred for it while I lived in Cairo. That was probably my first real encounter with the industry. I lived in Houston, which wasn’t too much of a tourist town- and traveled to Pakistan on and off throughout my childhood. I might have been a foreigner in Karachi, but never really identified myself as a tourist.

In Cairo, it pained me to see the tourist industry at work. I saw the massive 50 feet charter buses roll through villages as carbon monoxide sprayed out of the exhaust. I saw Europeans wave their hands down at us as they slowly drove by. It hurt me to see the buses drive within the market. Food was  sold there; people prayed at the al- Hussein mosque nearby; folks simply wanted to enjoy the warm summer breeze- to simply live their lives. But it would go interrupted- night after night. A day wouldn’t go by where you didn’t get gawked at and admired, poked or laughed at because you were eating pigeon (hammam) for dinner instead of fried chicken.

But it’s been years since my time in Cairo. Four years to be exact, and my, how easily the mind forgets. I’m itching to leave this country. To go off into some distant land and see the masterpiece that this world is. A few friends, in a celebratory trip went to Puerto Rico. I saw the beautiful pictures, all which exuded the country’s rich history and culture. The stunning, clear water and delicious food. There’s such a romantic view- an exotisized view of the other. And we tend to forget the people and their struggle behind it all. I was swiftly reminded when I read a piece in the New York Times.

As the university system announced budget cuts, students demanded an alternative and a greater transparency for university finances. “We understand this is social marginalization and discrimination against the people with less resources,” said Fernando Espinal, a law school graduate and former president of the student council.

As I read the article, the quotes and listented to an interview by Amy Goodman about the strike [Student Strike at University of Puerto Rico Enters 28th Day], I felt more connected than I ever imagined I would… to a country I had never stepped foot in. And then I envisioned… not being a tourist…but a traveler. A seeker of knowledge. Recognizing that God is perfection, and the blueprint He’s created of this world is nothing but a representation of that perfection. I want to see and hear. I want to travel with my eyes and ears. An explorer that eats a homemade meal, that speaks with the taxi drivers about the realities of their lives, that attempts to learn the country’s past accounts and future aspirations. I want to humble myself as I see the majestic beauty compounded into each and every country.

Adventures that await…