- Click here to read My Travels as an Architect (Part 1)
Talking about the places I have visited is like opening a treasure chest and looking at 40 years of memories that needed dusting off and telling. Of course, as in any treasure I am sure we want to take out the golden sword or the electric train, but not knowing what came before makes them difficult to value.
Who we are is a compendium of what we have learned, what we have done, and how we have viewed everything around us. Therefore these writings are a chronology of my travels… Travels that started with smilingly unimportant events that have spun my life to the far reaches of the world.
My early travels were not to China, India, or Africa; no, my early travels were in the stories told by my grandmother and enhanced by grainy pictures and souvenirs of the fantastic places from which she came, my father’s weekend trips showing us the magnificence of Mexico, and, of course, my incursions onto the other side of the hill where I grew up… A place we used to call “El Pueblito (The Little Town)”, a small rural town now engulfed and destroyed by the metropolitan area of Mexico City that has been turned into suburban sub-divisions. But back then, in my mind, it was as far as the moon, a far off place to which the only way to go was through the paths on the hills fending against animals, insects, and the weather. This Little Town still had man made kilns for brick manufacturing, adobe homes, farm animals, and dirt roads. It had no electricity, no phone, and the water came from a well. It was another world, and to reach it we would require provisions and an early start; a canteen, some food, a knife, and a lot of energy.
I was roughly 12 years old and the journey had begun.
Since then I have visited many places in Mexico, about 40 states of the United States, several places in Canada, the Caribbean, many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. I have seen the Aurora Borealis in Northern Washington (State) and stood on the Great Wall of China. I have walked the Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan and shed a tear at the Point of No Return in Badagry.
I have seen the remains of many civilizations and learned about history, culture, architecture… But mostly I learned much about myself.
FROM SOUTH AMERICA TO WEST AFRICA
We live in a wonderful world. We just need to know how to look at it.
Having the opportunity to visit Olumo Rock in Nigeria resulted in a good example of the choices we make every day when viewing the world around us.
Living in this 21st Century in which we`re constantly sidetracked by technology and the fast pace of our professional lives, it`s all too easy to forget to stop and think about the new sights and sounds we experience.
Look at this beautiful scene of a shop by the side of the road. Crafts and food for the travellers… a great trip!
The people, the history, the culture, and, yes, the food… all made for happy and memorable experiences of my time in Africa.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
I am sure to have missed some of the wonderful places I have visited, but they do, nevertheless, live long in the memory and so I will describe them whilst attempting to dust off those old treasures hidden at the bottom of the chest. Many of these memories of my travels are thankfully accompanied and strengthened by a picture or two to accompany the equally vibrant snapshots in my mind. I do not remember the entire trip, just isolated incidents.
I remember when I first moved to the Middle East. All I knew was the region referred to by the global media as ‘The Middle East’, and one culture in which I agglutinated all the kingdoms, emirates, and sultanates of the region.
Similarly, it was an amazing and welcome experience to discover that China is about far more than the ruling Communist regime. The country boasts amazing architecture, both modern and historic. Of course, the most celebrated structure of all is the Great Wall of China, although in my case I was simply another tourist embarking on that long, long walk, rather than an astronaut enjoying a literally out of this world view of the Great Wall from a place far, far away.
I could have not been more mistaken in my initial pre-conceptions of the Middle East and, indeed, the Far East.
Sometimes the distance changes the perspective of what we know of the world. Only later did I fully learn and appreciate that these once distant lands are full of riches and ancient cultures, some of which date back to the origins of civilization.
The same is true of Mexico…
Mexico is located in North America; the North of the country shares a 2000km border with the United States of America, my second home. To the South East are borders with Guatemala and Belize. Mexico has two beautiful gulfs; the Gulf of Mexico, and the Gulf of California (Cortez’ Sea). One of these gulfs is located on the East of the country touching every state from Florida to Yucatan, and the other is in the North west region, between the states of Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California (Lower California). The entire West coast is washed by the Pacific Ocean, and the Yucatan Peninsula, which includes the states of Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo, which enjoy the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
You can find modern cities like Mexico City and ancient cultures such as the one from Cuicuilco that has a circular pyramid dated to 7,000 BC.
Talking about Mexico is talking about thousands of years of culture and so it will take several articles to write about the places that I have seen.
Next time I will talk about Yucatan and Cuicuilco; Yucatan (Cancun, Merida, Progreso); the mayan culture and their cities in the jungle.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this second installment of my travel memories, and that one day you too will get to embrace and enjoy these very same locations.
Until next time…