The National Whig

Serving to make the United States better by arguing for Liberty and its best ingredient Limited Government.

Location: Any Towne, Any State, United States

Editor and Publisher of The National Whig.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Triumphant Return

It seems like an eternity since there has been any words published in this space. I wish to extend appologies all around to those who have missed The National Whig. I had to go away for a couple of months on business and was not able to keep all of you updated as to my whereabouts. But I can now.

I visited a couple of places that I would like to recommend to all of you: Crete, Lisbon, Portugal and Bahrain. First of all, all three places are full of culture that you will not find anywhere here in the States. Crete is one of those islands carefully tucked away in the Mediterranean. The weather is great during the summer, meaning that it is not too hot, and the people are very friendly to Americans, meaning that you don't have to walk around with an English-to-Greek dictionary. The prices are also very comparable to prices here in the States, although they are on the Euro, so you will be paying about fifty cents more on everything given the exchange rate. But do go; the scenery is not to be matched. I have never before seen water so blue in my life. Plus, the history on the island is so rich that you feel like you have been placed in a time that the history of the US cannot possibly touch.

Speaking of history, go to Lisbon. Again, the people are friendly and very courtious to Americans--be on guard for the street venders that try to sell you sun-glasses and then pitch drugs to you when you have declined the glasses. While there, I stood in two Catholic cathedrals, one dating from the late 16th century and the other dating all the way to the 12th century. Both were beautiful and very inspiring--you could definitely feel the presence of God in each one. The younger of the two cathedrals housed the tomb of the queen who commissioned the building of the church. There she was laid to rest right there in the church, never missing a mass. But it was the awe inspiring 12th century cathedral where one truly gets the feeling of the Holy Spirit. Walking through the doors and you are instantly transported to the Middle Ages and you might half expect to turn a corner and see a knight kneeling before his journey to the Holy Land to crusade begins. The lighting inside is provided by stained glass windows and what seems like thousands of candles. And don't hesitate to place a lit candle on the prayer request table, I certainly didn't.

Bahrain is where my journies began. Let me begin by stressing to all of you that it is brutally hot there. Nevertheless, it has much to offer. The biggest attraction to me was the outdoor market that the locals like to call the Souq (pronounded Sook). This place is full of cheaply made knock off brands and also local items that are just beautiful. But it is the atmosphere that is its main attraction. While walking through this area of the island--Bahrain is an island just off of Saudi Arabia--you are suddenly thrown into an Indiana Jones movie searching for some ancient treasure, but no, you are in the here and now. The native Bahrainis are very friendly to Americans, but be aware that Saudis go there to "play" and many of them are not at the least friendly. (If by chance a Saudi offers to shake your hand and extends his left hand, he is insulting you and you should follow suit and offer your left hand.) The bottom line is just get out and experience the Muslim culture, don't be afraid. The first time you hear a call to prayer will be unnerving at first but then you, after a while, you come to see the beauty of it and begin to wish that American Christianity would offer something similar.

Americans are often critisized for not getting out and experiencing other cultures, and, however true this may be, it is important to go and visit other places to gain some small understanding. It is true that not all Europeans look down their noses at Americans and not all Muslims want to behead us, and you can only come to that conclusion if you visit with them and eat their food and walk their streets. Remember, those of us who inhabit this great country all originate from Europe and it would be wise to appreciate our heritage and visit our cousins from across the pond every now and then. So go, live and experience something that you will most certainly not regret.


Blogger Heather said...

Awesome! Welcome back and thanks for the beautiful insight!

10:03 AM  

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