Nicaragua, March 23, 2006
Thanks for the reaffirmation
Why do I travel now? I have seen so much, been so many places, that now where ever I go is compared to where ever I've been. This morning it's Granada vs. Macau. Both are old and grand Iberian-influenced towns seemingly forgotten in the sands of time, left to mosey from 18th Century greatness to present day quaintness.
Might travel be a socially acceptable way for me to do nothing, to just be? Could sitting in the Parque Central, watching the city awake be different from a morning spent in McPherson Square?
Is the cross park commute so much more interesting if the commuters are Nicaraguans instead of Washingtonians? Do the presence of shoe-shine men and their clients make that much difference? Are the vigoron sellers more exotic than DC street vendors selling bananas and cinnamon buns? Can the local street urchins be better than American winos and bums?
I ask this to myself this morning, questioning why I travel, trying to make sure I still want and enjoy a morning in a Parque Central, because some days, wait, make that many days, traveling is a very lonely act. Always a stranger, the new guy in town, I don't have the relationships, the bonds, the normal connections that transform a random city and random people to home and friends.
Then, as I sit in Parque Central, alone in my own thoughts, I see a familiar face, a smile, a wave, and I realize the world is not so lonely after all. Here is connection, a friendship, a bond made in a San Juan del Sur conversation cycling back to me now in Parque Central.
Here is the reason I travel, why a good morning in Granada is worth more than a day in DC. The people, the place, the moment. A soft breeze from Lauguna Nicaragua, hugo de papaya, and a man carrying two piglets in his arms.