Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Return to Reality: Suckity-do do

By Kate Collins

Jet lag sucks. And that's the last complaint you'll hear from me about my excellent adventure abroad, except that I want to go again! What a coincidence that Maggie Sefton and I were both across the ocean at the same time. But she stayed more to the north while I went south to Italy, Croatia, Turkey, and the Greek Islands. This was our second cruise because we enjoyed those ports so much last time. My hubby speaks fluent Greek, so it was fun to listen to him chatting away (and bargaining) with the locals. Sunshine, cobalt sea, gentle breezes, cobblestone streets, wonderfully quaint shops, friendly people, and oh, that great food. Moussaka, baklava, pastitsio, feta, dolmades and Greek beer. Yumm. (Maggie, I'm with you -- no weighing myself!)If I weren't Irish, I'd want to be Greek. And live on Santorini.

What struck me on this trip was the number of people I met from the U.K., Austrailia, New Zealand, Canada, and even the Greeks and French we talked to, who were deeply concerned about the US economy because the fate of their economy depended on it. One crusty old Greek guide said his island was basically owned by Lehman Brothers. "What will happen to us?" he exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air.

It was an eye-opener for me. I had no idea how profoundly we affect the rest of the world. I also noticed that news coverage overseas was far more extensive. We don't get news like that back here in the USA. Our view is so narrow that we really don't know what the rest of the world thinks of us. And I'm sorry, but I blame our media for that. I know there's only so much time allocated for news broadcasts, but there are a lot of channels that have news all day long. They could certainly give wider coverage.

And I was amazed at how much people from outside the US knew about our politics. Believe me, they didn't hold back their thoughts. With that said, I was delighted to make so many new friends from all over the US and the world and discover how many things we have in common.

It was a delightful cruise despite the gloomy economic news that met us at every port. I can't wait to do it again. . . If there's any money left.

Speaking of cruises, how many of you have cruised? What are your favorite ports? What cruise line do you like best? Will you go again?

Have a great week,