After a big event in my life is over, I often get the blues. You know what I mean, an event that required a lot of planning, a lot of time, a lot of energy. Then you finally have the event and afterwards you are left with a hole in your schedule and a hole in your heart. That's where I am now, feeling the aftermath of the planning and experiencing of this whole round the world adventure. But wait a minute I tell myself, it's not over. I am in Australia, the Land Down Under. I am half way around the world; a 16 hour time difference from EST in the US! The problem is, it doesn't feel that way!
Sydney is a great city, lots to do, easy to get around, beautiful beaches. But everything is in English. The people speak English, the signs are in English. Most people are white and everyone wears western clothes. I swear that there are more Thai restaurants in this city than there are in Thailand, but when you walk in, no one says Swadeekaew, the traditional Thai greeting. It doesn't feel like I'm home in Cincinnati, but instead, vacationing in let's say, California. It's nice here, don't get me wrong, it's just that I miss the strange and exotic.
I miss seeing the women of India in their bright and colorful sarees walking down the street. Or the women of Africa in their bold colored caftans and head wraps. I miss seeing signs in languages I can't read or hearing people speak in languages I can't understand. The enthusiasm of trying to learn at least a few words in a new language, and the success you feel when someone acknowledges your greeting and returns one to you. I miss riding in tuk-tuks which are a terribly uncomfortable ride but hey, they are different. You can get take away (take out to us Americans) here from most restaurants but it's not quite the same as eating some of the amazing street food that we had in Asia. I even miss being stared at and having people we don't know take our pictures. (I know that Avocet and Siena don't miss that)
Europe was “Western” as well but there was a language difference to each country that we went to and food differences as well. The architecture was old and beautiful and each city we visited had it's own version of European charm. Besides, Europe was at the beginning of our trip and everything was new and exciting. Plus, we han't been to Africa and Asia yet!
The scary thing is, as the world becomes more westernized (and it is, there is no doubt about that) where will we all go to experience something different? When a 10 year old Chinese kid can speak English as well as a 10 year old American kid, you know that soon, the whole world will be speaking English. Traditional dress will give way to Westernized clothes and Coca Cola won't be the only American product in people's kitchens.
For another six weeks we will be in Australia and New Zealand where the only thing stange and exotic will be the animals. I will have to find a way to get over my “Blues” and enjoy what each of these countries has to offer – I may never be back here again. After that, we move on to South America where everything will be in Spanish, people will look different and their culture will be unique. Then I will have three months to enjoy the differences until the “Real Blues” set in – the trip really will be over!