"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Random Stuff

I haven't abandoned this blog; I've just been away for a few days. I went up to Canada on a pre-arranged tour with my mother (in celebration of her birthday!) and did the tourist adventure with her. I admit that I got a little edgy pretty early on in the trip because everything was sort of spoon fed to us. There wasn't much chance to explore, go off the map. I'm amazed at how many people consider a bus ride by an historic spot to be an actual tour, how a gift shop full of trinkets counts as exploration (or for that matter even as shopping). You can go to all these places, spend a fortune, and never explore, never even get off the bus, if that's what you want. But why would you want it.

Most notable, perhaps, was the adventure I went on in New Brunswick. Most everywhere tourists go in massive flocks in Canada will accept US dollars, especially since the exchange rate is pretty close to identical right now. But among the tour gaggle, I saw no Canadian bills change hands at all. Nobody seemed even remotely interested in using the local currency, no more than they were eager to strike out and snoop the local scene. I, on the other hand, had a mission: to mail a postcard from Canada for my kids. For that, I needed a Canadian stamp, and I was prepared to purchase it with Canandian money. (I had about sixty dollars Canadian left over from a previous trip... when I finally did get my stamps, the girl at the drug store flipped out because the Canadian two dollar bill I handed her, which had been sitting in a box from probably my first trip up there ages ago, had been replaced over a decade ago with a two dollar coin.)

To buy a stamp, in the midst of tourist insanity, was an adventure which required asking directions from locals, walking blocks out of my way, snooping about, going to an out of the way pharmacy, spending local currency, and getting back to my actual postcards, leaving me no time on the regimented tour schedule, to mail them until the next day. Thankfully the next day was a walking tour which went right by a mailbox.

The tour guide for the Halifax walking tour noted that he liked those tours best because the walkers were the ones that really wanted to experince the place, not just ride by it and say they'd been there. I guess that's the sort of person I am. The walking tour was fantastic, mostly because Halifax is a wonderfully walkable city, and even though the day was very foggy, we got to go up close enough to all the important sites that fog didn't matter much. The walking tour didn't take us right back to the starting point either, we had easy directions and were given the time to meander back to the rendez-vous point. I guess walkers were expected to be explorers, off-the-mappers.

But it makes me wonder, if you aren't willing to engage the culture, buy a local stamp, use the local currency, walk the local trails, and eat the local food, why do you go there in the first place? If all you're left with is a blurry scrapbook picture taken out the window of a moving bus, have you really been there?

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