Sunday, February 22, 2009

“There is nothing like returning to a place that reminds unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

Welcome back to the wonderful world of....well....ME! I hope that the three people that read this blog (that being my mother, my brother and my best friend Sara) missed my random musings. You three probably haven't wondered where I was (because...well, I told you) but for the rest of you (if there is a 'rest of you'), I just got back from a 7 day cruise to the Eastern Carribean.
It interesting trip.
Like any experience in life, this trip brought up a few thoughts for consideration but this is the one that I always battle with...
When I travel to a beautiful but impoverished country I always struggle with my conscience. Half of me feels like I am taking advantage of these people while the other half of me feels like "I paid for this vacation, I should be enjoying it". The people are being exploited for the beauty of their land and its resources. It is so bittersweet and I often wonder how people can turn a blind eye to that poverty and enjoy their vacations.
In order to attempt to strike a balance I try my best to be as respectful and kind to the people that I encounter despite any preconceived notions that I may have. I try my best not to ignore them if they are trying to sell me something, I smile politely and say 'No thank you'. I do not lead them on or speak condescendingly to them.
I try my best to treat these people like the human beings that they are...when in these locales I often observe people treating the locals as if the are animals in a cage, something to watch and make fun of. I find these DEEPLY disturbing. Just because you have paid money for a ship to take you somewhere in the Carribean does NOT mean that you have the right to mock these people because THIS is their life. Selling towels, beach chairs or their art, this is what they do everyday.
"A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money." ~W.C. Fields

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