24 March 2008

Home - relearning the routine!

Hi Blogreaders,

So what is it like to be back home in the unreal world of Santa Barbara? I'm a bit in culture shock at this ultra-sanitized, germs obsessed world where public loos are always clean with an abundant supply of seat covers and flush automatically and antibacterial handgel is available all over the city wherever you might touch something others have touched. Life is so absurdly easy here. It's almost scary.

Spring has arrived - way too early - and along the roadsides are carpets of purple lupines and clumps of golden California poppies. My garden is thick with the fragrance of jasmin, wisteria, and fruit blossoms. The daffodils are already spent and the roses are just about to open up. It's good to be back and enjoy the emergence of spring. when I unpacked our winter coats I smiled, so pleased that I wouldn't have to use them for quite a while.

While away In India I was so insulated from the goings on in the west. India demands all of your concentration and the issues that absorb our daily lives back home fade from your consciousness. But now that I'm back, the obsessions of the news media have successfully drawn me in. I read with interest the Obama/Clinton contest. I'm amused that all the liberal media - The NYT, the Huffington Post, The Daily Show, etc. - are hot for Obama. I'm hot for Obama too. During the last couple weeks the NYT carried several pro-Obama news items and gave very little coverage to Clinton and McCain. I remember back in 1999 when this same newspaper gave Bush, before he even won the Republican nomination, a huge amount of attention. It used to be sickening to see his picture on the front page so frequently. It seems like they've got it right this time! I only hope the voters in the remaining states who still need to hold their primaries get it right.

05 March 2008

End of The Great Escapade

It's my last night abroad since I started my round the world journey. I haven't been blogging much during my last month of travel, the main reason being A LACK OF TIME! But tonight I felt I should write some thoughts as it all comes to an end. I just read my first entry - the one I wrote just before leaving - and I was surprised that my thoughts had been so centered around school. School? The furthest thing from my mind in the past months. I can't believe how something that consumes my normal, everyday working life in Santa Barbara can get tossed so far away from my mind! Weird! Anyway, how do I feel about the end of this most exciting trip? I guess the honest answer is: Great! I am definitely looking forward to being back in my home - sleeping on my bed, getting woken up by NPR's Morning Edition, reading the New York Times, listening to Amy Goodman's Democracy Now, having Daryl make me my morning latte, making home made meals, .... I missed Jon Stewart's Daily Show, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, shopping at Trader Joe's and at the farmer's markets, my jacuzzi, my friends, ... yes, a lot of reasons to feel great about returning home.

Spending time with family in Sydney was very special. Sydney in the summer is such a great city. So much to do, such a lot of great food, excellent bars/pubs, superb coffee, and some great walks, especially the Bondi Beach to Coogee - I highly recommend it.

I've had a pretty enjoyable time in New Zealand. I have to say it's not the most exciting country I've visited. Sure, it has fantastic scenery (I haven't been to the South Island which is supposed to be spectacular) and friendly people and its cities are clean and safe and everything works and the food isn't too awful and the coffee pretty decent and the wine and beer quite special, but it feels like there's something missing. I spent a few days in Wellington which sits along a pretty harbor and is surrounded by green hills. After walking through the botanical gardens and the downtown streets, and then the harbor area, I felt I was done with my visit of the city! New Zealand seems to go move at a slower pace than just about anywhere else I've been. I think what it needs to do is to open its doors to the lively people of hte world - people from Africa who have color and great music, people from India, Latin America, Asia. Maybe that's what's lacking. It ain't cosmopolitan!

So tomorrow when I fly out it will be late Thursday evening. I'll cross the date line and will start Thursday all over again!