In this episode: We're in Cyprus and we don't speak any Russian. Plus, a few final words about our Croatia experience
On a trip to Japan, I visited the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, and came upon a group of middle-school girls on a field trip. They merrily said hello to me in English and insisted that I stand in the middle of their class photo - me in my raincoat, and three dozen girls in black school uniforms. I'm sure those young women now look at the picture sometimes and say, "Who WAS that lady?"
My sister has a wild hair that we had to visit this small town in India to see the havelis that were disappearing and look at the beautiful art. We were booked in a hotel in town (it was definitely local). The key to our room was at least 10 inches long and weighed 5 pounds! There was no menu for dinner. The light where we ate was so low that the food could not be identified. There was no meat. And everything was cooked to death. There were limited spices. We came back to the room and had protein bars. The art painted on the walls was lovely and sadly disappearing. Some people would not be in the same room with us. We were clearly unchaperoned women. The neighborhood kids showed us the havelis in various house that had been abandoned. We would never have found them otherwise. It was a great experience in local culture.
Several years ago my wife and I visited her daughter in Cameroon where she was working as a Peace Corp volunteer. It was Christmas time and we were invited to spend the holiday in a very traditional village. We were the only Caucasians in the village and were treated royally. I special dinner of porcupine was prepared for us and we were sent off with a ball of salt that was mined in this village. Our host had grown up in the village and he and his wife built a brick home there. The rest of the dwellings were thatched huts. Here we were complete strangers and were hosted by a village that had very little to share, but yet provided us with a memorable and heartfelt experience.
There is a lesson to be learned here by all on this planet.
In a torrential downpour on the Mayan Riviera, my husband and I pulled into a resort until it was safe to drive again. To our great surprise, we were the only non-Germans in the place. Personally, I love the unexpected, so we quickly tucked in to a couple of Bavarian beers and waited out the storm while listening to an Oom-Pah band.