samedi 5 mai 2018

A SADDEST PLEASURE: JOURNEY TO THE EAST


A JOURNEY TO THE EAST
Travel with a purpose, Travel for Pleasure
When you read Travel magazines, you get the glossy picture of travel, this is somewhat deceptive in that Travel is the Saddest Pleasure, said an American travel writer, in reality, and it is.


As I got off the plane in Colombo, I couldn’t get the picture of the thin legged older man in a dhoti which had seen better days, scuttling with a load of mortar on his head, under the heat of the Indian sun, dusty and dirty, just to earn a measly wage to fill his stomach and nothing more.
Earlier that week, I was wandering around stalls in the central bus station, where innocent Malays, victims of their own kind, looked bored selling imperfect tee shirts and merchandise of that sort. At a time when income disparity is increasing even in the developed world (I was astonished to hear that Australia has one of the poorest income distributions in the richer world), Travel makes you aware of the realities of this cruelty: lack of income, lack of educational choices, lack of hope and lack of freedom imposed by society, religion and politics.
Malaysia is a beautiful country but there are curses with its natural blessings (no Tsunamis, no earthquakes, no typhoons, lush verdant scenery), as it lies under the watchful eyes of its northern giant of a neighbour, China with its voracious appetite.
Regardless of how the populace is squeezed for nefarious interests of a small minority, they gently go along, singing merrily, clad in hijabs or dhotis.
Am I to ignore this, a traveller not to be sensitive, sitting sipping wine in the glossy magazine friendly Executive Lounge at Double Tree Hotel in Kuala Lumpur?

Saddest Pleasure is the name of a bare bone travel book by an American, Moritz Thomsen, set in the poor Black region of Ecuador and his travels around Brasil at a time of great uncertainty and violence in Brasil. It is a good read.