Thursday, March 29, 2012

Travel in "The Americas"

Thanksgiving Day was the official end of my bus journey around America.

But not the end of my travels in "the Americas."  In December, I went to Costa Rica to check out my son's adopted country.  Since dollars are accepted in Costa Rica, it can be considered part of my "Americas" travel, in my opinion!

The people I got to know in Costa Rica are very happy, spend all of their free time with their families, do not pine for a designer pocketbook or for more acquisition, but are "contento" with simpler, more relaxed lives than we live in the New York City area.  "Contento" is the Costa Rican version of the American dream.

Granted, there is no great art or movies or Pulitzer-prize winning plays coming out of Costa Rica.  For that you need angst, strain, anguish, and culture to feed off of.

But if you're not so much interested in cultural history as in nature, and in being among happy people, Costa Rica is the right place.

My son Will, right, with Milton and Marta, the parents of Will's girlfriend, Indira.  When Will first called me on the phone to tell me he had met a great girl, I thought he said her name was "Endeara," and I thought it was an endearing name.

Will in Cahuita, on the Caribbean coast, with a hibiscus flower in his hair.

His lovely girlfriend, Indira, looks better with the hibiscus flower.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

National Day of Mourning, aka Thanksgiving Day

Since Thanksgiving Day 1970, the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts has hosted the National Day of Mourning, when Native Americans from all over the country demonstrate against all that happened after they kept the Pilgrims alive during the first winter.

Statue of Massasoit, Chief of the Wampanoags, the tribe that enabled the Pilgrims survive their first winter, on Cole's Hill, overlooking Plymouth Harbor.

The plaque reads, in part:  "To [Native Americans], Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture.  Participants in national Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today...It is a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.  Erected by the Town of Plymouth on behalf of the United American Indians of New England."

The United American Indians of New England (UAINE) sponsor the event annually.  In spite of the fact that it was held on Thanksgiving Day, it was well attended by a diverse crowd.

This was the last official day of my America bus trip.  But my blog is not over!  I had the opportunity to travel further, not in America but in "the Americas," Costa Rica to be exact.  My son is an expat there, teaching ESL and loving all the Costa Ricans who are just like him, happy and not riddled with angst.  Businesses in CR accept dollars, so that makes it official, my travels there were American.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reclaim the American Spirit - Plymouth Harbor on Thanksgiving Day

This replica of the Mayflower in Plymouth, Massachusetts is another example of how Americans are so strangely interested in ersatz experiences.  Epcot is the prime example.  New ski villages in the Rockies modeled after Bavarian towns, complete with cuckoo in the clock tower, is another.

Come on, America!  Seek the real thing!  Make your dreams come true instead of letting the television suck the creativity out of you!  It's the only way we're going to reclaim the American spirit -- by working to make our own dreams come true.

The Pilgrims came to America to make a dream of freedom come true.  Unfortunately, from that point on, Euro-American settlers killed the Native Americans' dream of living on the land as freely as ever.

There's got to be a way for people to make their dreams come true without ruining the lives of others.  Let's do it.

Plymouth Harbor on Thanksgiving Day.  A replica of the Mayflower reveals how small and fragile a ship it was.  Our dreams can be fragile, but we can make it, just like the Pilgrims did.

What's believed to be Plymouth Rock, housed in a Greek-style temple on the shore.  The waters of Plymouth Harbor lap at it perpetually.  Don't let time or discouragement erode your dreams.