Preamble: Every once in a while, I play a little game; I get four friends to supply four random numbers, and then I cull from my (current) collection of about 500 Gb of travel photos (dating from 2001), and present them with a story. The numbers today are…
Madrid, July 2003 (Las Ventas)
Once upon a time, I read Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon.
This was my second international trip, six weeks to Spain, Gibralter, and Morocco. Las Ventas is an amazing building dedicated to the art, perhaps the brutal art, of bullfighting. It was built in 1931, and is a magnificent building; that juxtaposition of beauty and death still troubles me.
I chose to watch a fight. I watched a bull die, and I still don;t kow how to feel about it, almost 18 years later.
“anything capable of arousing passion in its favor will surely raise as much passion against it.”
Hong Kong, May 2005 (Victoria Peak)
On a whim, I joined my friends Shaun and Stafano to Taiwan, to visit our mutual friend Glen. After Taiwan came Hong Kong, where we climbed Victoria Peak (that’s the big mountain on the Island of Hong Kong, which looks towards the harbour on one side, and Aberdeen on the other).
This was the middle of the day, during the Monsoon. It was humid.
(My second trip to Hong Kong last May brought the whole family up to Victoria Peak. It was totally cloudy, and we could see nothing.)
Cinque Terre, April 2015 (Monterosso)
I’ve been to Cinque Terre twice, in 2006 solo, and in 2014, as part of our Le Grande Voyage. Like many places I’ve seen, to, this was one that I wanted to the girls to see. Flooding has closed the paths between the five Terre (villages), so instead we wandered the the towns. This was Monterosso, the name we gave to a lost stuffy, that Elliotte found on the trail, and which we kept).
It was surprisingly quiet for April. Oh, and we met David Suzuki here, too.
Nîmes, May 2015 (Pont du Garde)
After Italia, on our Le Grand Voyage, came France, and a roadtrip from Montpellier to Nîmes, Avignon, Salon-de-Provence, and on to Nice. The Pont-du-Gard was the highlight of the day. Elliotte had just turned 8.
It is one of the most beautiful structures I’ve ever seen.
Borobudur, February 2019 (Ramayana)
On the grounds of Borodudur, a 1200 year old Buddhist Temple on the Island of Java, the Ramayana is performed.
This is Sita. I think. If so, then she is the wife of Rama, and was kidnapped by Ravana, but rescued by Rama with the help of the Monkey Army. It’s long, it’s convoluted, and it’s utterly captivating to watch.
This was one of three versions we watched on our Le Grand Voyage II.