A quick and frivolous return to French letters…
“I believe that always, or almost always, in all childhoods and in all the lives that follow them, the mother represents madness. Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met.” — Marguerite Duras
I missed the boat about steve martin being an author as well.
well this is just crazy.
This is from my home town.
Meet Ben Lilly!
He’s a 001 Country Per Year challenge taker and and photographer currently living in Santa Cruz, California. Today he’s posting his favorite photos from traveling to 14 countries!
TRAVEL TIPS FOR ISRAEL: Israelis are called “sabrot”, after the desert cactus fruit, the sabra. It means they’re prickly on the outside and soft on the inside. If you want to be taken seriously, cut in lines, don’t take crap from anyone, and get rid of your filter. The thing about this society is that people have no barrier of politeness, but when you really have a reason to go beyond small talk they’ll decide if they like you instantly and be truly warm and friendly without boundaries. There is no awkwardness in Israel. It was hilarious going from Israel directly to Germany, a land of pale skies and pale people where politeness is king. On the train from the Frankfurt airport a woman dropped her luggage on a man in a suit and went into frenzies of apology: “Entschuldigung! Entschuldigung! Entschuldigung!” “Bitte, bitte, bitte,” he said quickly, and they both avoided eye contact like it was the worst thing that had ever happened to them. I couldn’t help but snort back a laugh - and through the lens of the white Western culture I’m used to, suddenly I realized how much I had loved Israel after the fact.
One of the upsides of this is that Israelis are not afraid to discuss politics. If anything gives me hope that there will be peace, it’s that. Explore. Ask Israeli Arabs about racism. Ask Israeli Jews about the religious right-wing, the haredim. Ask anyone about the IDF and their compulsory military service. They’re all proud to serve their country, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily like the army or agree with what it does. Above all, realize that everyone here wants peace.
TRAVEL GOALS: To use my travels to learn how to make my everyday life better. When I go to a party at a hostel bar and try to interact with strange people speaking foreign languages, I learn things about myself that will make me more sociable at the next 10 parties I go to. As much as talking about my travels is a great party line or whatever, travel isn’t a hobby in and of itself. It’s a mirror. It makes you realize what you want to be doing, and inspires you to do it more when you get home - so that next time you travel, you’ll be happier with what you see in the mirror. (There are always a few useful pop hits that I promise myself I’ll learn on guitar after a missed jam session opportunity.)
“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” -T.S. Eliot
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