Same but Different

IMG_2572Let’s start with vacation vs. travel. To those inexperienced in the latter, as opposed to the former, you’ll completely understand. Others may think the two getaways are the same, but they are quite different. Vacations tend to be those one-week jaunts to somewhere warm, where you can relax and forget all about work or whatever other crap life throws at you on a daily basis.

Travelling entails extending those sojourns, not only to relax or escape every day life, but to explore new places and perhaps venture off the beaten path. Two weeks at an all-inclusive resort may sound the same as two weeks in Europe, but they are very different. So, the question is do you want everything to be the same as home? If you do then stay at home. One reason to travel is to experience something different, whether it’s the weather, or food or wine or landscape or culture.

IMG_1003Even when you travel, you might think that things are the same everywhere. That is not the case. Take modes of travel, for example. From home, we can take our cars or motorcycles, or even giant homes on wheels. Tour buses and trains can also get you where you’re going. So, they may all be conveyances on wheels, but each is different in it’s own way, advantages and disadvantages with all of the above.

All types of air travel should be the same, but nope, planes are different too. Most of us have been on jumbo jets and you would assume they’re the same, but some are fatter, others are longer, and some have a second level for the rich and shameless. One could only hope that all seats were not the same (with the exception of business or first class) but being a person of more than average height I can painfully report that they are different.

Getting back to vehicular travel, let me talk about traffic. In big cities with populations over a million, one would think that avenues of travel are the same. Then again, one would be wrong, they are very different. I’ll use cities close to home like Detroit and Toronto. Many of us have been witness or victim to traffic as thick as molasses on multi-lane freeways so you would think it would be the same in a metropolis like Cairo. Nope, it’s different.

IMG_1509Having been to both cities, I can compare the traffic in Cairo Egypt to Phnom Penh Cambodia. Both these huge cities lack traffic signals, stop signs, and even speed limits in many areas. With the lack of rules on the road, traffic flows like maple syrup over pancakes – it meshes together and fills the plate. When the plate is full it simply flows over the edge.

So, having witnessed organized chaos in those two cities, you would assume that traffic in a modern city like Capetown South Africa, with all its fancy signals and signs and divided highways, that traffic flow would be different – platooned and orderly. Once again, you would assume wrong. I saw gridlock at least twice a day that could compare to New York. The same.

One thing that is different and not the same on the African continent is that everything on the road and in vehicles is reversed – right to left. Cars and trucks have steering wheels on the right and you drive on the left side of the road. It totally screws you up when you step off a curb and not look to the right first. Even crossing the street is not the same, we were programmed at a young age differently, to look left and then right for traffic.

IMG_2351Let me get to the good stuff, food. Anyone who’s ever ventured out and eaten anything other than mom’s cooking, knows things aren’t the same. Meat and veggies and fruit and bread should be the same, but we all know they are different. Many foods might be the same in that we have to cook them to eat them, but would you fry, bake, broil, grill or toast it. Different.

Wine is not the same everywhere, they can be different beyond red and white and rose. There is sparkling and champagne too. Climates, soils or terroir, they are all very different. Not all reds are the same, or dry wines the same. Or even brand names of the same vintage and from the same producer. Okay, maybe the glow or wine buzz is the same.

I suppose some landscapes can be the same, like a beach is a beach to me – sand and water. But for you sun-worshiping aficionados, you know better. They are different. There’s clean water, dirty water and that aqua blue water that I’m ogling right now. There’s the white sand that goes with it, like talcum power here, or crushed coral as on one beach in Costa Rica.

IMG_2195There are brown sands that burn your feet and in Santorini Greece I spent time naked on a black volcanic beach. So, I guess you can say beaches are all different, but to me they’re the same. Sand and water. Sand that gets everywhere on and in your body, and water that feels great, but hides all kinds of scary creatures and discarded plastic products.

I’ve saved people for last. Wouldn’t the world be a better place to live if we were all the same. Perhaps not. We are all different, no matter creed, color or religion. It would be nice if everyone shared the same beliefs and manners and respect for each other, but we know that difference is not only something that makes us unique, it is the root of what ails us and this planet.

None of us are the same, we are all different.

One thought on “Same but Different

  1. The ages old question of – ‘What’s the difference between a traveller and a tourist?’
    The best response I’ve heard to that question is – ‘a traveller doesn’t know where he is going next; a tourist doesn’t know where he’s been’.

    Liked by 1 person

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