In couple hrs, I will enter my 100th country…After many yrs of many short trips to many distant lands, 100th is around the corner…100 countries, 100 faces, 100 learnings, 100 experiences… I would call them 100 travels as not all would qualify as vacation.. over the past a few days, Trinidad, Grenada and Guyana have reassured me that some of these places have double faces: a beautiful one with serene waters, lush greens, colorful houses, colorful dresses. And one with all the misery, ugliness, bitterness stuck to a crooked sad smile. It is that face that has tought me more than the beautiful one. It has tought me to look beyond the beautiful face to see this sad one. And to look beyond the sad one, to see all the beauty!
What took me to these places is the curiosity, the willingness to understand this weird planet we live in. We, lucky few, live in our bubbles as most of the world try to survive, try to still “be” amongst all the poverty, unfairness that surround them. Rich conquerors come and gone, they sometimes left their marks, sometimes not, sometimes helped to better and sometimes the selfish gene prevailed…I saw it today in the contrast between the bare feet hungry men passed out on the side streets and the kids flying kites in the botanical garden. The contrast between the colonial structures abandoned, left as a ruin and the green-yellow-red outfits, colorful flags. The contrast between the British accent left to the Guyanese by the white men and the deep African, Indian roots visible in the colors, smells, sounds, looks.
99 places, 99 bitter sweet memories, flashbacks… A reality like a slap on the face: most of the world is poor!! There is so much poverty, there is so much misery but there is also still so much hope…
The beautiful and the ugly face all tangled together. The beautiful face is what we see as a tourist and the ugly face is what we see as the traveler. I learnt to be both, I learnt to see both faces of the places on my way.
The journey continues onto the 100th… to be continued….