why we globe-trot the world, thoughts from Kincaid

Perhaps this explains the tension between the tourist and the native. And it may explain the reason we choose to travel in the first place…

That the native does not like the tourist is not hard to explain. For every native of every place is a potential tourist, and every tourist is a native of somewhere. Every native everywhere lives a life of overwhelming and crushing banality and boredom and desperation and depression, and every deed, good and bad, is an attempt to forget this. Every native would like to find a way out, every native would like a rest, every native would like a tour. But some natives–most natives in the world–cannot go anywhere. They are too poor. They are too poor to go anywhere. They are too poor to escape the reality of their lives; and they are too poor to live properly in the place where they live, which is the very place you, the tourist, wants to go–so when the natives see you, the tourist, they envy you, they envy your ability to leave your own banality and boredom, they envy your ability to turn their own banality and boredom into a source of pleasure for yourself.”

frere jacque, dormez vous

Tap water, please…I answered the Heathrow airport waitress. Cheers! We raised our glasses to the most taken for granted sign of western affluence, clean drinking WATER!

It was a bittersweet goodbye to Africa. I’d always wanted to go, so I’m worried I’ll never come back. But it’s like the moment when you know you’re finished having children: you can’t imagine not carrying another baby, not holding your newly birthed baby in your arms….you want to know that you can have that experience again, but then, really, no, actually you don’t want to do that again.

Eight and a half hours in the plane from Nairobi to London yesterday was a stretch, especially after having to arrange another taxi last minute–our Samaritan’s Purse driver didn’t show. At the beginning of the flight, we made our movie choices. I hadn’t considered that I’d have so much time I could preview all the movies, or that Zach would watch Alvin and the Chipmunks three times. If there ever was a time I wished I’d allowed my children to practice being tv zombies, it was this day.

We flew over the Sudan, Libya, the Sahara, the Mediterranean Sea. Could you drop us off over Paris? One of the girls remarked on arriving in London, Look, mom, all the white people.  Our flight to Paris was delayed, after the already three hour stopover. Twenty minutes, one hour, hour and a half. I’d thought our drive from Prince Rupert to Cache Creek, eighteen hours driving, topped the gateau on our Arctic summer trip. Nope. We’d been travelling nearly nineteen hours by the time we arrived at our Paris hotel. In the hotel room, the kids threw themselves on a bed; they were out, every one of them…