Sara and Ben are back from Singapore, and back in their respective cities for now: Seattle and Austin. Both clearly have a much better ability to cross time zones without lingering effects than I do. Sara got in late Monday night, and she was at work bright and early on Tuesday.
What people do when they are in another country always fascinates me. Some years ago I was on a group excursion to Russia, and we were taken by bus to a fair-sized Russian city, Yaroslavl, and given two free hours to explore. Some people sought out Russian Orthodox churches. Some grabbed their wads of rubles and went shopping. I tend to find a cafe in a public square, order a coffee, and sit and watch what people do. I like going to museums and churches and places of natural beauty, but I’m most interested in exploring what my life would be like if I lived “there” — wherever that might be — rather than “here”. To that end I like to eat in small local places where ordinary people eat, not in large fancy ones that cater to the wealthy or hotel restaurants that have universal menus that might offer entrees from anywhere. Would you really order a cheeseburger in Japan, even if one was on the menu? I like to visit a corner church where people might actually be worshipping, not the great ornate cathedral mostly empty except for camera-toting groups following a tour guide. I like to look in local markets, local bookstores, small shops where people buy clothes that locals actually wear.
And you? Take an imaginary ticket to the place of your dreams, and imagine it’s your first day. What’s on the agenda, the things you most want to see?
P.S. Check in tomorrow for a tour de Sara and Ben of Doha, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.