12/27/2011 to Aveiro


Sorry, no good pics today. Today was a ride that went mostly through industrial areas. Photogeneric scenery.

I am staying at my first Portuguese youth hostel They are government sponsored. I think I am the only one here. I have a room to myself and my bike in the room. Cool, but I prefer company. The host wants to complain about the traffic on the roads: “Because of the economic crisis,” he says, “the govt. now charges tolls for driving on the expressways.”

Ahh, so most of the traffic now flows on the secondary roads that I was cycling today. That explains it…

I mentioned in a previous post how I saw Japanese tourists pour out of their hotel, take pictures of each other, and stream back in. Last night I had the opportunity to ask a Korean and two people from Hong Kong what that was about.

“A picture is nice” I said, “but it doesn’t begin to compare to being there. Why don’t they at least stand around for a while and let it soak in?” My Asian friends laughed, a little embarrassed, but knew exactly what I was talking about.

The answer is deeply rooted in Asian culture. Asians live for the future. Parents save for their children. Young people put in long hours at work and socialize with their boss after work in hopes of getting promoted in the future. Young wives and husbands expect this. Long hours of study and sacrifice for a better future is expected. The present moment is not important, the future one is.

For the typical Asian on tour, actually being there is not what is important. The emotional payoff for traveling will come in the future when the pictures are shared. “Oh, look at you standing in front of the Eiffel tower. How wonderful that must have been.”

It is desirable on tour to efficiently photograph as many high profile items (with you in front of them) as possible. The mini bus pulls up, you pop out, snap pics, hop back on and dash off to the next site. Makes perfect sense now.

And so this rolling stone gets another corner chipped off. When it is done rolling hopefully it will be as round as a marble, able to accept without judging everything by it’s own angles.

Portuguese beach.

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