When you travel in countries unlike home there will be many special moments and memories of them enrich an ordinary life. Like sitting on the top of a pyramid in the middle of the jungle watching the sun set with zillions of stars lighting up the sky.
Sometimes the unexpected can be memorable. Like the sign in a wildlife sanctuary that said: “Elephant zone. Do not park your car. Do not have a picnic.” Or the two shoeshine boys in Ecuador who ate the Oreo cookies I gave them just like the kids back home: white centre first, chocolate wafers last.
Spiritual moments can be weirdly special, such as the Sunday we visited a church in a village outside San Cristobal in Chiapas, Mexico. The church follows both Catholic and Mayan practices. There are no pews. The floor was practically covered with thin white candles lit by parishioners. During prayers parishioners drank what we were told was 40-proof liquor made from sugar cane; the chaser was Coca-Cola to burp up evil spirits.
Getting to know the locals can be a memorable experience, such as the two brothers, ages three and eight, who followed us around for four days in Bali trying to get us to buy soft drinks and coconut oil while telling us about their lives.
A country’s cuisine can be a highlight. In Morocco, mint tea—mint leaves and sweetened china tea with ice served in a small glass–is always offered and referred to as Moroccan whiskey. Dinner there usually starts with a delicious bowl of soup followed by a selection of salads. These were not the lettuce salads of home but more like the vegetarian dishes I had in India, made with beets, zucchini, lima beans and enhanced by unfamiliar spices. Yum……
By Sylvia Fanjoy
© Riding the buses 2010